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!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My new method for shade bottom hems

When I learned to make shades, it was out of a book- probably a Sunset book- and the way I learned was my method for years.  Gradually I experimented with variations, and at the same time industry standards were evolving and everyone was making window treatments of higher quality.
I was never comfortable, however, with a shade that I knew would have frequent use, that didn't have the rings attached at a sturdy line of machine stitching.
After many experiments, I've now hit on this method, which mostly solves the issues that gave me misgivings.
I remembered to take photos during fabrication of this beautiful shade.
A double hem is turned and pressed.  It's a good idea to draw a line at the top of the hemline so the ring location is accurate.  Ready-made weight bar tubing is laid in behind the hem.
I catch the tube, ladder tape, hem, and face fabric with very sturdy thread.
At each end I continue hand-sewing the pocket to the fabric for that inch and a half.
The bottom rings are sewn, and then the weight bar is inserted and the ends are sewn shut.
The weight bar tubing keeps a nice straight line.  The beauty of this method is that the shade NEVER leaves the table, and thus is not subjected to shifting. 
From the back the bar is unseen.  The front is clean, with no stitching.
By the way, how about the double trim?  Isn't that cool?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I want to do stuff like this all day, every day!

These applique borders are the most fun I've had sewing in awhile.  Fabricated for Katherine Stern, the shade and shower curtain presented a surprising and satisfying interplay of pattern and color against the Japanese cherry blossom wallpaper pattern.  Too bad you can't see the sink, accessories, and fittings finishes!  Next week I'll try to remember to take another picture.  If you love color and pattern, I urge you to check out Katherine's website.  Her color sense is so awesome!  You'll see how this fits in perfectly with her style.
The embroidered fabric was cutout and appliqued onto the solid purple which then was banded in black.
Wonder Under is just the product for a project like this.  I fused strips onto the back of the area of the embroidery that was to be cut out.  Before cutting I made slash cuts into the corners to help get a clean cut.
I will say that it did take quite a while to finish cutting!  I used several pairs of scissors: this large Fiskars worked well on the curves, but I needed short snips and longer sharp pointed shears for other cutting steps.
To begin the shade, I laid out the purple fabric at the exact finished width.
I carefully laid the cut out shade fabric and pressed it into place until the pattern was straight horizontally and vertically, then peeled off the Wonder Under paper.
Lots of steam fused the embroidered fabric onto the purple.
Next I was off to the sewing machine with the fabric.  If I thought cutting was tedious, this was even more so!  It was slow going, but it worked.
I cut bias strips for the 1/2" banding; in retrospect I think it would've been easier if they'd been cut on the grain.  I was very careful!
Because the band was on the bias I had to do some very meticulous pressing as I wrapped the band to avoid puckering.
So then I made the shade as usual; here it is all done, on the table.
I didn't want any stitching on the front, so behind the hem there's a weight bar tube that's tacked at the rings.  I guess you really can't see it, but it's my new favorite way to do the bottoms of shades.
The shower curtain banding was made the same way.  It was lined, and the black banding wrapped to form the side hems.  We loved how the embroidery played off the wallpaper floral.
The shower curtain is hung on Rowley's Aria H-Rail pole in Antique Brass, with glides.  It's a flat panel with hooks, but next week I'm going to take it all down and modify it for Ripplefold.  I didn't have the correct fullness carriers for Ripplefold, but there was a photo shoot the next day and it HAD to go in!
As Tim Gunn says: "Make it work!"