Thursday, August 16, 2018

Hobbled shade valance

Stationary shades used as valances is a hot trend right now.  To achieve the order specifications from Crosstown Shade and Glass, this shade required a different approach.
They're sometimes made just the same as a functioning shade, except without a lift system- the treatment is adjusted on-site to a chosen finished length.
They're popular on doors, so I've developed a method for door windows, to get them nice and snug to the door.
 Fixed shades using luxury fabrics such as this wool require just as much attention to detail during fabrication as a functioning shade.
 A shaped frame was built for this bay with an arched window.
I have half a dozen ways of making fixed shades, but sometimes a request requires a different approach.  This order came with exact specifications as to the depth and spacing of each fold, the bottom reveal, and the top picture area, and I realized this treatment would be best made as a mock hobbled shade, with tapes.

This 16.75" long shade required about 55" of heavily embroidered fabric to make all those folds to the specified depth.  It was interlined with black flannel to reduce pattern wash-out when the sun shines through it.
Horizontal lines denoted the back fold lines where the tapes would be sewn. 
Tapes are marked to 1.25" increments to meet the unusual order specifications.  When there is anything out of the ordinary, I avoid getting confused by making a careful sketch using the worksheet I've developed for myself, and sometimes I'll even make a mockup of a selvedge to be sure I've got it right.
The tapes are sewn at the lift areas across the width of the fabric.
It gets a little bulky under the machine arm by the time the top row is sewn!
I was happy that I could machine-sew the layered trim. 
When I mark the tapes, I use disappearing pen for the horizontal lines, except for the board line where I use pencil so that the line will not have disappeared before it's time to staple it to the board.  In this photo you can also see the backstitching at the tapes- extra security in case there's any trouble during transportation or installation so the tape won't ever come unsewn.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Tapestry to pillow

An opportunity to improvise always makes my day, especially if it involves basting.  Crosstown's client brought in a beautiful tapestry to be made into a pillow.
The tapestry had finished edges and the client wanted to keep them- the goal was to make them look like welting.
Felted navy Ralph Lauren wool was chosen for the pillow back- an excellent choice because it is stable and doesn't fray.  We put an invisible zipper a couple of inches up from the bottom of the pillow back, then folded and pressed the long horizontal edges to the size of the tapestry.
 Using an easy-to-see contrast thread, we basted the tapestry to the backing.
You know how much I love to baste!  
The tapestry was sewn with a zipper foot very close to the woven edge detail.
The pillow was turned inside out, and the ends were sewn top to bottom.
When turned right side out again, the back topstitched seam was barely noticeable.
This is one project I would love to have been able to keep for myself :)

Monday, July 30, 2018

There was champagne in the workroom!

After many hours of deliberation, Chrissy and I settled on a plan for Master Bedroom draperies using two colorways of Fortuny's Lucrezia.  Champagne was definitely called for!- and, hey, there's a wine shop next door :)
It's an honor and privilege to be asked to work on world-class fabric like Fortuny.
Impeccable pattern-matching will be required to join the bittersweet to the blue-green colorway.  Many trims were considered and Chrissy made a final choice.......... which is none of what is shown here!
 We rolled and re-rolled to establish the design plan, with bittersweet wide banding on both the lead edges and the bottom.
 Pattern matching both vertically and horizontally will require days of fussy cutting.
I've been looking forward to this project for a very long time, and I'm happy it's soon time to tuck in and get to work!  Stay tuned......

Monday, July 23, 2018


We've spent considerable time in the house with the huge hobbled shades for Denise Wenacur, and last week it was time to go upstairs to the master bedroom, where we re-purposed the homeowners' existing window treatments.
Crown molding was added, so for two windows, the draperies needed shortening. 
And the turret had a full set of draperies until the seating area was built, so they were re-made into Roman shades, the band and rope lead edge detail transformed into bottom shade detail.
Ribs ensure that the folds do not need dressing, a helpful feature in shades that are mounted high and are not so easy to reach.  We sew, rather than glue, ribs onto interlining in between the rings so the folds will have some rigidity.
Dofix 6" fusible buckram provided support for the bottom banding.
Re-purposing generally involves some improvisation, to make the existing materials work for the new application.  In this instance, we had to fiddle a bit to make the banding work.  Although we usually make a double bottom hem, the banding was just wide enough to create a single hem, so Dofix Bortenfix was used to secure the hem below the weight bar pocket......
then Dofix fusible gimp covered the raw edge.  The rings were sewn through all materials so the stitching would provide extra security for  the band and the gimp.
After the weight bar was inserted into the pocket, the gimp end was tucked in and secured....
Then the bottom pocket ladderstitched closed.
Dofix 8" fusible buckram gave body to the topper, which I wanted to be somewhat supported but not quite as rigid as a soft cornice.  We mitered the top and fused Dofix velcro to the back edge so the topper could be mounted easily on installation day.
Fabric staples secured the fabric layers at the top......
and because these shades are reverse mounted, Dofix fusible velcro was added to the front.
The shade snaps off of the headrail for easy installation, then just as easily snapped back on.  The lift system is the Rollease SS38 from Designers Resource, chosen for its awesome gear ratio that allows this shade to be nearly fully raised with just one pull of the continuous bead loop chain. 
The little toppers behaved just as I wanted them to.
Ta-da!  (and yes, we fabricated those cushions, too.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

That wedding dress.....

Angela was gorgeous in the wedding dress that skipped a generation!
My grandmother, Corinne Leatherwood Foster, made her daughter's wedding dress 66 years ago.
Betty Max Foster Dalton
Wilda Corinne Leatherwood Foster
We are baffled by the sleeves, which were slightly poufed and cuffed when our mother's photos were taken, and are now straight and a bit shorter.  The dress also had a belt, which was too discolored to use, and Angela decided not to replace it.
Joseph and Betty Dalton
My mother would have adored Angela, and would have loved seeing her in that dress, and most of all would have been amazed that it was saved for 66 years! 
 I am so proud of Angela for including the grandmother and great-grandmother who never knew her.
This blog post from May details the adjustments that were made for the dress to be comfortable for Angela.  The only hand I had in it was sourcing and replacing the discolored lace buttons.
Betsi helped her girl with the side zipper.
Perfect fit!
We were delighted by the fact that all 4 of us sisters were color-coordinated- unplanned!  Judi isn't in this photo but her color choices were spot on.   My skirt and top were hand-sewn and reverse-appliqued a la Alabama Chanin by my own dearest friend Camille who graciously loaned me the outfit for the occasion.