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

Thursday, October 23, 2014

What we did for the past two weeks.....

It is so much fun to watch an empty house being transformed into a home.  With her distinctive style, Denise Wenacur applies color and texture to a room's elements, creating a cohesive whole, like a painting.
Although not fully furnished yet, our recent window treatment installations have set this renovated house well on its way to looking like a home.
Living Room Before
In the living room, blending textures and tones, a smooth grey roman shade is flanked by slubby linen grommeted panels on brushed nickel poles.



These panels were two full widths per side.  Eight #12 grommets were used per width on 1" poles, and the each panel stacks down to about a foot wide.
On an adjacent wall, we used single width panels on a window half this size with no room for stackback.
 
Thanks to various webinars from CHF Academy, Rowley Company, and other sources, I think maybe I've finally gotten my grommet knowledge internalized.
The most important tip I that I learned that I can pass on is: make a template out of buckram.  Actually cut the holes and thread them onto a pole.  That's how you can be really sure that you're planning correctly and that the seam isn't going to come out facing forward.  The other most important piece of information is that you always must have an even number of grommets.











In the dining room, the embroidered floral kick pleat valance with side panels warms up the space, while the gold textured solid relaxed shade offers privacy.
Viewed here from the second floor landing, the family room is warm and inviting, with new furniture, shades, and cornices. 

Here's the family room before.





To maximize the potential light in the sunroom, the homeowners keep the shades up as high as possible.  But for viewing TV, the shades are lowered, and the double-sided blackout lining method eliminates the pesky "pinholes of light" that we workrooms dread.
From outside, the lining folds up neatly.  All of these downstairs windows had a generous 3" of mounting space inside, which made it feasible to do the double-sided shades.  It also gave enough room to use the larger Rollease clutch which operates SO smoothly. 
The kitchen sink window is dressed with a kick pleat valance out of the same textured gold as in the dining room.
The large master bedroom window is quite tall at 110".  The homeowners need light control.  A blackout shade would have been unmanageably massive and heavy, so  Denise offered blackout draperies with a light-diffusing sheer behind, on a double track with glides, operated with sturdy 5' metal batons in a matching finish.




The smaller window on the adjacent wall had too little room for draperies, so Denise chose a flat Roman shade.  We made this with our latest new method for eliminating pinholes of light, which involves two layers of blackout lining.  More on that another time.
Not photographed: a small shade for the back door, another for an upstairs bathroom, and sheer stretch panels for the front hall sidelights.
A big thank you to my fantastic installer Mario Fuentes...........
And that's what we've been doing for the past two weeks!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Two Pinch Pleat projects

Well, the premise of this blog is that our projects are shown mostly in the workroom, warts and all, but, I do sometimes wish I had "after" photos!  I go along on some installations, but often the products are picked up and I never see them in the homes they were designed for, and never get good photos in situ.
Here are two such projects.

Eventually I will get to the house to photograph this one.  Meanwhile, here are a few shots to show how this treatment was assembled.
These pinch pleats were fabricated from an amazing linen with a beautiful drape, at three times fullness; the lead edges are trimmed in a gorgeous woven banding.
While we've mounted plenty of inverted pleat panels to waterfall over a flat topper, this is the first time we've mounted pinch pleats over a topper.  We fitted the topper with screw eyes so the panels could hang with drapery hooks at the pleats, and added velcro so the header would fit snugly without drooping.
We used fusible velcro for the panels themselves.  I didn't realize how long that would take- 90 seconds for each little piece, holding the iron hovering over each strip- but it is very secure.  There's a half hour out of my life that I'll never get back!


I do have an after picture of this pair of side panels, for Monica Plotka Interiors, but they're wrapped up for training!  So while it shows the finished product, it's not exactly the "money shot."  However, you can see how beautifully they turned out.
Originally the plan was inverted pleats, but after mocking up and sending pictures to Monica, she decided to go with pinch pleats instead.  Inverted pleats really brought out the geometric aspect of the fabric, and it was a bit too much.

Two-finger pinch pleats were just right.
The lead edge side hems looked too plain- we needed every bit of the pattern to achieve the pattern layout- so a microcord on the hem gave a more finished look.



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

An Update, an Aha Moment, and a Mock-Up

I thought I should post an update on the applique shower curtain and shade we made for Katherine Stern.
When we installed this shower curtain, the header was improvised with a facing to the back enclosing clear buckram, and drapery pins, to make a "mock" ripplefold, using glides in the Aria H-Rail pole from Rowley.
The reason we had to improvise was- the ripplefold carrier in the fullness we needed was on backorder, and would not be in in time for a scheduled photoshoot.  So once the components came in, I brought the curtain back to the studio to modify, and the pole to rig.  The difference is possibly not noticeable to most people, but we were totally thrilled with the new look.
It was important to make the folds follow the pattern, so I had to improvise with the tape.  After I took apart the header and carefully secured it with pins, I cut the tape up into pieces, then used double-sided tape to place the sections to line the snaps up with the pattern. 
Then all I had to do was sew both sides, and re-sew the facing, by hand.  I made sure to catch through to the right side in the embroidered area, to keep the fabric from sagging on the front.
It might have been unnecessary, but I re-inserted the clear buckram.  I thought that since the tape was pieced the header might benefit from the extra support. 
I will say, all this made me very nervous.  I didn't actually know what I was doing until I started doing it.  Luckily I did the right thing!......
I'm not gonna lie, Ripplefold has been a hard concept for me to internalize.  It's hard enough with a solid fabric, but with a pattern you really have to be able to visualize how to plan.  Recently I made this little sample, and even after making it I didn't quite get it.
It wasn't until I looked at it from directly above that I had my "AHA MOMENT"- the carriers must be planned to fall BETWEEN the motifs that you want rippling to the front and the back!
Once again proving that a picture is worth a thousand words.  And a mock-up is worth a thousand pictures!
I have a ripplefold curtain coming up with a geometric pattern with a 6.875" horizontal repeat.  I'll be doing a mockup of that for sure.  The whole thing is one panel 134" wide and I want to know what I'm doing before I do it!

Oh! and- here's one result of that photoshoot.  I love how the photographer used the mirror!  This photo gives you a better idea of context for the shower curtain and shade.  Check out Katherine's website to see more of her fabulous work.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Inverted pleat panels over flat valance

This is a style that Liz Davidson from Paris Interiors has been refining for awhile now.  We've done it often with sheers and lightweight embroidered linens; here, for five master bedroom windows, it's been reinterpreted in a heavier weight black and white woven geometric, to stunning effect.
The style itself is simple to fabricate, but one you add layer a pattern, it gets awfully complicated.  I will say that it made me nervous!
The panels were easy to make; the hard part was figuring out the layout.  I made a template for the left panels and one for the right panels and one for the valance, to guide in cutting.
Then I pleated more strips to represent the panels and pinned them to a strip representing the valance, marking the board line. 
(If you're looking carefully, you'll see that in the end the pattern fell on the alternate diamond in the end.)

Instead of a chunky upholstered cornice, the flat valance is made on chipboard so it's thin and sleek.
There was no reason to not just attach the panels in the workroom, where we could control the pattern placement.  It's not like there were any adjustments that could be made on-site- the pattern had to match from panel to valance- so why not finish it in the workroom where it was manageable.
The panels were pleated on the table; plastic clips held the pleats in place.
The panel was folded once;
Then rolled over itself into a neat bundle.
That made it easy to pack up once the panel was stapled and the dustboard finished.
I'm so happy with how these treatments turned out!  They really were a challenge, and it worked beautifully.
 The white silk blackout shades were trimmed in charcoal grey banding, and motorized. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Recent projects-

Oh, blog!
Hello, blog.   I want to keep up better!- but lately I'm lucky to get in one post a week.
This past week I've spent more time on planning and paperwork than fabrication.  The upcoming autumn season is going to be super hot and there's a lot of preparation going on.
But here are a few tidbits of recent projects.
Banding on 4 sides is tough- first you have to be really precise with the measurements because there's no wiggle room; second, there are 4 miters instead of only 2 so that makes it twice as no fun!
This linen trained with one lift of the shade.  You can see how nicely the folds have formed.
Banding on a shade with a return is a little unusual.  The banding is just 1/2" wide and the return 1" so the designer decided to go ahead and wrap the return.
The shade really isn't crooked.  It's just a perspective thing. 

This double London valance is notable because of how the pleats are made.
When I first started as a fabricator, Londons were made with single pleats, not double inverted pleats.  Nowadays they're mostly made with double pleats which results in more fullness and longer tails.
However, sometimes I prefer them with single pleats.  Occasionally it's to save fabric,  and often to keep the fullness understated, and to keep the tails even with the swoops.
Cushions!  I don't make them very often anymore, though they used to be my primary product along with pillows.  But I went ahead and made these because it was really nice fabric.
And some pillows with gorgeous trims.
OK!  Hope to be back sooner rather than later!