Velux windows – skylights – are a handy sort of window. They slot into a roof relatively easily. We have plenty of them in our house and the gîte – well, the hardware store’s cheaper version of them, anyway.

But fitting blinds for them is nothing like so handy. You can buy the official ones but these are almost as expensive as the windows themselves. They’re not an option if you’re on a limited budget.

So I went the DIY route with ours. Version one involved velcro, which I bought in vast quantities off eBay for practically nothing. I rustled up blinds the same size as the window.

I made double thickness blinds with a layer of blackout material that I got from the 3 Suisses catalogue at a bargain price covered by a layer of pretty material since the colour choices of the blackout stuff wasn’t vast, it has to be said.

I sewed the fuzzy bit of the velcro onto the edges of the blind and then stuck strips of the hooky side onto the window frame. This worked OK for a while but you did need to be gentle when removing the blinds. A quick yank to drag them off wasn’t advisable. Sadly the ones in the gîte suffered from heavy-handedness. We restuck the velcro on with ever stronger glue a few times, but eventually resorted to staples to hold it in place. Success. Sort of – now the sewn-on velcro on the blinds started to suffer.

It was time for a big rethink. This is what we’ve come up with now.

First Chris put up two curtain rails, one above and one below the window. This hardware has proved to be the most expensive part of the procedure, working out about €20 per window. I bought these at the brico shop in Boussac which isn’t the cheapest by any means, so I should be able to kit out future windows at a lower cost by shopping around.

Second, I ran up some new blinds. This time I hit Gavroche, the secondhand ‘shop’ in Boussac, where I picked up reams of suitable material for €2. I’ve kept it simple. For this material, which is fray-proof, I did a row of zigzag stitching up the sides. I then measured up and folded over the top and bottom and sewed those down.

Last step was to slip the curtains-cum-blinds onto the curtain rail and Chris put in a screw to hold the supports in place, which double up as stops at the end of the rails so the curtains won’t get pulled off the end.

We’ll have to see how tough these prove to be. They’re a lot more robust than their velcro-based forerunners and should survive normal usage, but time will tell …