Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A ho-hum photo of a pretty Austrian shade

Please excuse the poor showing this shade makes in this photo- I was in a hurry and had no time to take a nice shot of this actually very beautiful Austrian shade.  And you can see I didn't have time to dress it at all, either- the flowers look all random but they aren't really, really!  They're just hidden in the messy folds.  I'm hoping the decorator will send me a pic once she's installed it!

Yes, it does bow in slightly.  That's one of the idiosyncracies of Austrian shades. Since I was rushing, I made no attempt to straighten it out for this picture; it will look straighter once it's dressed.

Funny thing about Austrian shades.  I might not get a call for them for, like, two years, then three different people will ask about them.  That's what has happened this month, so we'll see if the other two orders come through.  I hope so!  I love making them. 

They're like magic- yards and yards of just fabric, transformed into the most elegant and graceful of window treatments with the simplest of techniques.  They are spectacular whether one section, like this one, or a whole wall full of shirring. 

At triple fullness in length, however,  it is a lot of work to do all that shirring and believe me, my hands and arms get tired making a big Austrian shade, and the shirring has to be carefully distributed so that it's consistent all the way across all the sections.

Well, let's hope that there will be more to show you in the coming weeks!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Get your wool out

Gotta say, Ralph sure does know how to do wool.  Ralph.  Lauren.
There is probably a serious moral reason why I should disapprove of ultrasuede.  What's it made from, anyhow?  But, I do love an ultrasuede welting.  And as a vegetarian for 35 years, I could not approve of actual suede, so.

Autumn pillows by the woodpile

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fab Fabric Friday

Either one of these alone is nice enough, but the combo qualifies it for Fab Fabric Friday.  It's for a girl's room- installed this morning and she's a very happy girl.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chocolate fabric, clutches, and string

This very tightly pleated sheer fabric, by Bart Halpern, requires thoughtful sewing methods.

Yummy chocolate fabric
To join widths, both selvedges must be stretched as taut as possible.  When this fabric hangs it stretches, so if the widths are joined without holding taut, the seamed area will not stretch with the rest of the fabric.

The fabric was made into wide Relaxed Roman Valances, and when the weight bar was attached and the treatment hung for testing, it stretched about 50%!  So we had to remove the traditional weight bars and use something lighter weight.

Even with the lighter weight bars, it stretched not inconsiderably.  The side hems were sewn by hand and the threads had to remain loose and unknotted, so that the sides could stretch with the rest of the fabric.

Stretched taut
I cannot believe I packed up these valancess and delivered them without remembering to take a picture!!!

Geremie from Rollease very helpfully went to great trouble to get brown (or, as they call it, "chocolate") clutch components for these shades since the regular off-white ("vanilla") would have been glaringly awful showing through the brown sheer.  We had a leftover bracket to show in the photo below- however,  I had intended to photograph the backs of these shades to show off the Chocolate components and the lovely dark brown lift cord from Rowley and the clear plastic rings from Textol!

For those wondering about the lift cords and the new safety standards- just so you know!- these valances are about 10 feet up on a very high NYC ceiling, and are on a Rollease clutch so the length can be adjusted.  

"Chocolate" Rollease components (a leftover bracket) and Rowley dark brown lift cord.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What to do with a big round window?.....

Pick out a cool fabric and stretch it on a frame.

Also two small flat kick pleat valances, and a pair of top tack cafe curtains for the big window. 
Are you wondering about the amazing brown pleated fabric in the background?  More on that in the next post.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Gorgeous shades!

A workroom shot of one of the two shades, mounted for testing, partly raised.  How do you like the pattern layout? 
Embroidery always leaves the fabric puckered and sometimes it's impossible to iron out.  But I'm totally in love with my latest Rowenta- that pointy nose is HOT and gets right in between the embroidery and irons out even the tiniest wrinkles.  The iron's wider "belly" was also useful for pressing sideways into a rippled section, sort of tricking it into flatness.
All this silk/viscose blend fabric had to be ironed first from the right side then turned over and ironed to size from the wrong side and then ironed again with the interlining, and then again with the lining- about an hour of ironing per shade before the sewing even starts! 
Can you believe this is the nursery scale that John's mom used when he was a baby?  John weighed a lot less than this shade!  We weighed everything to be sure we could use a slim clutch since there was little space for mounting these very wide shades so we couldn't use a regular 30# Rollease clutch.  The scale says 10 pounds, including the weight rod, face fabric, lining, and interlining, and the clutch components- whew!  the slim clutch can handle 15 pounds.   
There was not enough fabric to use three cuts per shade, and we had only 1/4" over on each side for the side hems, so we used an alternative construction technique, adapting a method from English interlined panel fabrication: the interlining was layered over the face fabric and both were folded over together, then the lining laid on top and ironed down just 1/8" or less from the edge- just wide enough to get a skinny needle into the space- and the sides were blind-hemmed by hand with itty bitty stitches.  It was tempting to just whip stitch the sides but in the end it was only a couple of extra minutes to do a blind hem, and I don't have to feel guilty!  That narrow bit of face fabric looks so nice, like a microcording.  I can think of a few situations where I might use this technique again.

The decorator just called to report that the shades look fabulous in her client's home and that they are very happy with them- yay!  I'm SO thrilled.  I don't know if folks realize how personal these projects are to us workrooms- a little piece of us goes into every job and we agonize over the decisions we have to make during fabrication.  I love hearing when one of my products has made someone happy!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Which way is up?

This is Mereville in colorway Lilac/Sage by Sanderson.  The way it comes off the roll is USUALLY the right way, but I think in this case that is not so.  The vines are running upside down even though the flowers are pointing up.
I cannot believe these colors!  Does anyone remember carmine pencils?
This is for two big flat Roman shades.

This is how it's coming off the roll, but it looks upside down to me.
This direction feels right.
The quality of the embroidery is amazing.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Double Center Pleat Relaxed Roman

A double relaxed Roman tends to be pretty flat at the bottom, so center pleats are sometimes added to give more fullness and create a more graceful droop.
The fabric should look familiar- we made cafe curtains out of it in the spring.
The double center pleat relaxed Roman that this client liked
I love how the a new pattern was created out of the larger pattern when the fabric was pin-tucked

The chenille flowers are bulky, making it tricky to join the widths.

The center pleats are pretty cool!