Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pierre Deux

After my sister-in-law painted her kitchen a sunny yellow, I chose these three Pierre Deux fabrics to make shades and chair pads.  The trim was a leftover from something, long ago, stashed away safely for just such a project as this, and it was just perfect and there was just enough.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thank you!........ a digression

This blog was one year old on New Year's Day, and I did not even mention it!  I was feeling kind of blah, tired and sick-ish, and wondered if I should just call it quits after a year.
I started the blog mainly to motivate myself during the worst of the recession.  I thought if I documented everything, every day, I would have a reason to come to work even if there wasn't much work to do, because I thought if I didn't have work, I would be documenting the many creative personal sewing projects I looked forward to doing during the slow time.
It was slow all right, last winter, frighteningly slow, but gradually my valued long-time clients began bringing in work again, and to my delight I acquired some wonderful new clients.  Our industry was showing signs of life again.
All the time I thought I'd have on my hands for "personal sewing projects" never materialized, business picked up, and I don't even have the time to take photographs of all the projects I'd like to post about.

I've enjoyed the novelty of taking pictures and writing.  I also enjoy the discipline of writing, something, nearly every day.  It is good practice in organizing and expressing my thoughts, and a good way to keep my mind focused and sharp.  It was also a good way to introduce myself to my new clients; and my existing clients were pleased to see their work featured.  Another wonderful surprise was "meeting" many other industry professionals via the blog.

Still, lately I wondered if I was just getting to the point of repeating myself, boringly.  Sometimes the projects are just the same old thing, different fabric.  More hobbled shades, more pinch pleats.  After the one-year anniversary passed, I thought perhaps I'd wrap the blog up.  After all, I'm just a workroom, I make what people bring me, I don't design 90% of the work I do.  Maybe I had a couple of troublesome jobs, one disappointing project or dull fabric too many.  Maybe there just wasn't that much more for me to say here, in this way. 

Then, suddenly, out of the blue, I started getting email from some of you- workroom colleagues- who told me you've been reading the blog regularly- some daily, some once every few weeks- and enjoy it, even find it helpful, and possibly even inspiring.  I was so thrilled to get your feedback!  And I feel inspired now to keep it going.  Thankfully, most of the projects that come through here are NOT boring!- thankfully, the truth is that I learn or learn about something new every single day; thankfully, this really is something I love to do; and thankfully I know I'm lucky to be doing it.
So the blog is going to ramble on, with my gratitude and best wishes to all of you who are a) struggling to make ends meet at the sewing machine; b) living your dream of working for yourself; c) thrilled to be making a living doing something you love; or, d) reading this for any old reason whatsoever!

Thank you all!

What a deliciously beautifully awesome way to celebrate! I would like to order one of these, please, for my one-year blog anniversary.  I'd like each color to be a different flavor.  No, really, actually it makes me happy just to look at it.  Click here if you want to know more about this cake, which I found on the Martha Stewart blog. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A nice coincidence

Silhouette is key in window treatments, and simple is often best, like this gently scalloped kick-pleated valance.  There is just 1 1/2" difference between long point and short point. 
Pattern placement was a bit of a challenge because the motifs were not arranged on the fabric in the usual way: it was impossible, with the size of the sections, to get two sections out of the widths.
After some experimenting I found a cutting layout that worked.  The pleasant surprise was that with the dimensions specified, the motifs were nearly continuous across the pleats.

Photographing these in the hallway wasn't easy! 
There were two large scalloped valances, and one cute little arched valance, just 8" at the short point.  Again the pattern lent itself nicely to the specified dimensions of the valance.  Here I needed to find a way to give the illusion that the two sides are mirror images. 
The little valance is below eye level, so the top board cover looks like welting, which it isn't.

Microwelt, however, defines the bottom line of the valances.  This is really tiny cording- I think it was 1/16" inch.  The valances were lined in khaki.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

London shade with encased cord

This London shade works perfectly with encased cord, even though it's made from a rather heavy upholstery fabric.

Here's the back.  There is no clutch, just a cord lock, so I ran two cords up the far side to help the cord tension remain even.  I tied a doubled cord to the encased cord and pulled it through. 

Originally this shade was a big "oops."  I mixed up the width and length; instead of 45" wide and 61" long, I made it 61" wide and 45" long.  Luckily, I had made a deep facing, plus there was enough fabric leftover from the repeat to add to the length, so there was enough fabric to re-make it correctly.  Though I suppose I should be embarrassed about my mistake, I'm posting my "oops"anyhow so you can see a 61" shade versus a 45" shade.  In my opinion, 61" is just too wide for a London, so I'm glad this one was wrong!

Here is the "good" shade again.  The pleats are set in at 5".  They can be whatever distance in you want, but the client didn't want the tails to droop lower than the swag, so I placed the pleat close to the end of the board to make the tails shorter. 

Here is a shade with pleats set in more like 8", and the tails droop more.

And the position of the pleats on this shade were determined by the width of the fabric, in order for the seam not to show.  This shade is about 80" wide.  We added a third lift line in the center since 80" is way too wide for a single-swag London shade.  There is no center pleat.

Here is the same idea, but with a center pleat.  This one is about 75" wide.  

And the same double shade with its neighboring single-swag shade.

Monday, January 17, 2011

More Pink Cuteness

I was not a pink girl- I rather loathed it, actually- but eventually reconciled myself to pink under certain circumstances, especially combined with closely related reds, oranges, corals, and other pinks.  Here is a shade combining two pink stripes with an orangish-red pompom fringe.

Rib pockets are fused to the inside of the blackout lining.

Encased cord

Friday, January 14, 2011

Linen shades

These are linen shades, lined in a khaki poly voile, with clear ribs inserted into  Rowley's translucent rib tape. 
A 2" woven braid borders 3 sides.
The lift system is the traditional Rollease clutch with a beautiful soft grey bead chain loop that disappears against the grey molding.
Tan lift cord is shrouded with TechStyles cord shroud in maple.
Though the rib tape has loops that are meant to be used instead of rings, the shades did not lift well using them, so we backtracked and sewed clear rings and re-strung the shades.

Remember this job?  These ten gorgeous panels were taken down today so I could sew the rings on.  The drapery hooks kept falling out of the rings.  Yay, now I have some sewing to do during the Jets game on Sunday!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Achilles heel

Any idea how hard these are to make???  An inset flange, mitered in the corners, front and back.  I could've made three Roman shades in the time it took me to make these two pillows!!!

They turned out well..... eventually!

I have no idea why, but this style just gets me every time.  I need an expert to sit down and do a dozen of these in a row with me so I don't have to re-learn the method with each order.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pink Day

Coordinating window treatments and pillows were made for two sisters whose rooms are across the hall from each other.  The round pillows are boxed, and small square pillows and shams have a flat flange that is gathered in the corners. 
All welting and banding is done in the same pink dot that covers the window seat cushion.

Over the window seat in the little sister's bedroom is an Imperial valance out of a crazy-quilt print.  The back is faced so the dot is visible peeking out from behind the horns.  Blackout lining inside eliminates the shadow the 4" shaped facing would have cast.  The dot worked nicely as 3/8" welting.
The older daughter's room has a 12' window with a flat, shaped, banded valance.  Here it is laid out on the table.   Luckily this large polka-dot could be railroaded.   The 1/2" banding was done binding-style.

To draft the pattern for the bottom serpentine silhouette, I drew the general shape right onto the fabric with a purple disappearing pen.  Then I laid gridded paper over my roughly sketched line to begin drafting the pattern.  The 12' section has 7 scallops.  The serpentine shape continues onto the separate 2' sections at each side for the small windows at right angles to the 12' window.
After cutting the face I laid it wrong sides together against napped lining, cut, and pinned well.  The bias banding strips were a little over 2" wide; it stretched enough to ease around the curves with a 1/2" seam allowance; then wrapped perfectly around to the back to make a 1/2" band on the front.   This is just like binding a quilt.

To finish the back, there are 3 options- top-stitch by machine from the front side, bond with glue or other adhesive, or hand-sew.  I chose to top-stitch-in-the-ditch for this product since the fabrics were well-behaved and they didn't warp with stitching.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

7-pointed star

Okay just one more off-topic post, then back to workroom posting.

While pumping gas I saw this insignia on a used clothing dropoff box.  My pulse quickened, my eyes widened; it stood out immediately and I knew it was something special.  I counted- yes, a heptagram, a seven-pointed star!  Like finding a four-leaf clover, this random discovery made me very, very happy.

Go ahead, google it- heptagrams have different meanings to different people.  For me, it was simply a rare thing of beauty.  It has an exquisite balance yet is not easy to duplicate.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I didn't want to get sick, I tried hard not to, but I got something anyhow.  It's not too bad, but my brain is foggy and creativity has come to a screeching halt.
Sunday January 2 was foggy from before daybreak on.  I wasn't really sick yet, just fighting it off.  I went to the river right before sunset and watched magic fog mountains form, glide silently across the river, and dissipate.

In all the years I've been watching this river, I've never seen anything quite like this phenomenon.
As soon as my brain fog clears up, I'll be back to posting about workroom activities.