SO.........WHAT ARE WE WORKING ON TODAY??

Thursday, May 26, 2016

NYC before and after

Nothing like a NYC installation!  We were a three-person team to install an 11' cornice, drapery panels, and 8 shades on East 88th between Madison and 5th Ave.
We were super lucky- we got a free parking spot right around the corner from the service entrance, and it was good for an hour and a half until we had to move it due to alternate side parking that day. 
That gave us plenty of time to get down a flight of steps with all that stuff, then up in a snug elevator, and we only had to make two trips, using the handcart and rolling tool bag set-up. 
You need a great style sense and ability to visualize when confronting an awkward wall like this one in the master bedroom.  If it had been up to me, I have no idea how I would've turned this into something attractive, but luckily I'm NOT a designer!
Instead, Arielle of Paris Interiors had a vision, and when we were finished the master bedroom was transformed.  The hinged cornice fit like a glove, thanks to my big orange measuring stick and a cardboard template.  It's welted on all sides to hide any irregularity of the wall.   The stationary drapery panels are interlined with Domette, pleated to pattern, and hung on simple curtain rods.  The beautiful horizontal striped sheer shades will be mostly down, to filter the light; they're lined with batiste.  Behind them are motorized blackout shades for light control.
Thought you might like to see the in-process photo:
 Close-up of the cutout corner:

 In the living room, the trickiest area was this bay:
Treated with Roman shades, the space is brought down to size and softened.  This Holly Hunt fabric has a 103" repeat.  We lined and interlined with Domette and Napped Sateen for full, fat, plush shades.
A smaller shade to the right, and the adjacent kitchen with a linen geometric print:
And the largest shade to the far left:

Monday, May 9, 2016

Another soft cornice and another new method


I was so emboldened by my recent soft cornice experiences that I said yes to this treatment as a soft cornice with the shaped bottom and lip cord.  The designer, fellow Ossining-ite Elizabeth Harlow, provided a perfect template- so I had no drafting to do- just had to trace and cut.
In the front hallway
I used a combination of old-fashioned and new-fangled techniques.  (I love doing that!)   The treatment is made on two layers of Skirtex with interlining on top and Bella Notte Silky blackout on the back.  Lip cord traces and enhances the bottom silhouette.
For the shaped bottom, I used three methods: Rowley's fringe glue, double-sided sticky tape, and hand-sewing.  I did not feel comfortable with the curves and cutouts without reinforcing by sewing with an invisible ladder stitch. 
Once all the trim and all the layers were joined, I finished the bottom back with Dofix iron-on gimp.  What a treat that stuff is!!!!
Then, the real fun happened with the return.  The board was cut 1/2" less than the finished width.  For the returns I used 1/4" hardwood, 3.5" wide, which I get from Home Depot, and cut it the finished length.  The fabric was cut on the sides with 2x the return extra.  I slipped the 1/4" board into the return hem:
Folded the fabric over:
Then folded it again:
And secured it tightly at the top.  These steps took a little more fiddling than it looks, but, believe me, it was incredibly easy compared to any other way I've ever tried making a rigid return on a soft treatment.

Then I stapled it to the board:
Put a few more staples to secure the return:
And finished the dustcover.
Lastly, I hand-sewed the bottom of the return to tighten it up:
I'm thrilled with this neat, clean corner that is stable and secure without having to build a frame with attached legs!
For anyone seeking full instructions on soft cornice fabrication, I recommend any one of the following: Jo Braxton Thomas , Donna Skufis, and Rowley Company. All have excellent methods and instructions.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mock hobbled valance

I struggled with the mock hobbled valance for years, but now I have a method that I'm happy with and goes comparatively quickly.
There was not enough fabric to completely match the pattern, so I aimed for a balanced representation of the pattern elements instead.  This process begins with a sketch to scale of the folds and tapes.  I drew it up two ways and preferred the one with deeper folds.  I plan the "ring" placement (there are no actual rings) and I plan the exact increments for the twill tape.  That takes time beforehand but eliminates guesswork at the end.
The fabric and lining are prepared, the side hems secured, the rows drawn with disappearing pen, and the tape placement marked.  The prepared tapes are pinned at the folded bottom hem.  There were two identical valances, so they were prepared side-by-side at the same time to ensure consistency.
From this point on, all sewing is done by machine.  The bottom hem is topstitched and the tape attached at the same time.
I sew across the entire width of the shade, catching the tape at its marked increments as I go.
This valance has 3 rows.  The bulk is pulled up and the tapes secured at the marked increments as I sew across the next row.  The valance has begun to take shape.
 That little black dot marks the board line, and the last seam sewn 1/4" above it.
If the fabric and tape have been marked accurately, the chaos has now become a valance!
The corners are mitered, sewn, and trimmed to reduce bulk on the top of the board.
I like to get the valance on the board before adding the legs.  Here the valance is stapled, and the dustboard fabric partially stapled.
The covered legs are attached, then the returns are wrapped around and secured, and the dustboard finished.
Ta-da!

Friday, April 29, 2016

A trio of interesting trim applications

Stuff happens in threes, right?  We had 3 interesting trim applications this week.

First, this little 9" x 15" lumbar pillow for Cottages to Castles:

 A shout-out to Alicia The Zipper Lady who carries invisible zipper tape exactly this color:


Ossining designer Elizabeth Harlow had an unusual idea for applying trim to up-style some extremely ordinary ready-made pinch pleat sheers:
For some reason, we kept thinking "Classical"- whether Roman, Greek, or Egyptian, who knows!  But Jen, Camille and I all couldn't get the word "toga" out of our heads when these were done:
At the bottom, a wide raffia braid was centered on the 4" double hem.

I was not sure how I was going to like this, but, I totally LOVE it!


Another project required five separate steps to apply trim to a delicate sheer.  Two separate trims were layered to create these blue and white alternating clusters of tiny glass beads:
The five-step process began with joining the two trims with 1/8" Sealah tape.  The lip was hand-basted to the edge, then machine sewn between the face and facing:
Another row of machine stitching at the far edge of the tape kept the layers secure:
Finally, Camille doubled over the facing and painstakingly hand-sewed it.  This sheer could not be ironed, except for a very light dry iron- NO STEAM!
I don't know if I'll ever see these finished curtains hanging- I hope so.......

Monday, April 25, 2016

Kitchen collection

My workroom career began part-time making pillows and then cushions.  I no longer often make cushions or chair pads, but made an exception for this varied set of 9, for Monica Plotka Interiors.  Shades, of course, we make week after week!
To help keep them from bowing in on the sides, we wrapped the sides back around the board about 1/2" each side.
There were 3 shades at about 31" wide:
And one was about 45" wide:
Most of the chair pads were knife-edge:
But this round one was made with 1" boxing:
In the powder room, two roman shades layered provide multiple privacy options.  Underneath, a lightweight faux silk, with an embroidered linen over.
I like the Dofix flat hem bars to help keep the bottom straight.  The first row of rings starts just 2" up because Monica prefers no "reveal" at the bottom.  I used two layers of Dofix fusible transparent buckram to keep the bottom smooth and straight without waving or wobbling.