Sunday, January 29, 2012

Retro-fitting 13 shades

This client thought she wanted 13 unlined, casual valances that looked like pulled-up Roman shades.  She and the designer decided on making stationary mini shades to be set with cord locks.

Once they were installed, the client realized that the look was not what she wanted after all.  So we made a little mock-up of a faux hobbled valance, and they pinned it to the proportions they wanted.

The goal was to retro-fit without taking them totally apart or off the boards, to keep the cost down.  So we removed the cord locks, strings, and rings, and keeping them on the boards, sewed pockets for ribs, a somewhat awkward project, but it worked.

The way the numbers worked out, we were able to just fold up the old weight bar pocket and sew it down- the seams were hidden behind the hobble.

Then added translucent tapes to hold the ribbed pockets in place, and voila: 13 new valances!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Another Hybrid Shade

There is a collection of photos here that I probably wouldn't have ever amassed if it were not for the self-imposed pressure of blogging.  Many of the decorators I work with carry a laptop, iPhone, or iPad and refer to the blog for inspiration or illustration photos when working with their clients.  The homeowners like seeing photos from the workroom that will actually make their treatments.
The hybrid shade at the top was created to solve a specific design need, and the photo of the original helped another decorator visualize a way to cover a similar wide space with a relaxed silhouette.  This shade is part London shade, part relaxed Roman, 66" wide, and will be used as a valance.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Totally blacking out drapery panels

Our NYC client is hoping for total blackout from her new draperies.  They're being installed this morning so I'll update this post with pictures if "someone" sends me any!  These upholstery weight panels have 2" 2-finger pleats tacked 1" down from the top, at approximately double fullnesss, with a low-bulk top.  The tack thread is wrapped around the front of the pleat rather than stabbed through the sides.
I tried to do everything humanly possible to be sure light did not bleed through any stitch holes.  We did not blindstitch the lead edge; instead we sewed it, turned, then sewed in an extra strip of blackout to cover the first stitch line, folded back 1/4" to be sure the entire lead edge is filled with blackout.  Not easy to describe, but it worked perfectly.

For the lining seams, we bonded double-sided adhesive tape to the wrong side of the blackout, then cut into 3/8" strips with a rotary cutter.

Then the strips were adhered to the seams.  Merlyn, if you're reading this, THANK YOU for this tip! 

It looked fine as it was but we decided to cover the strip with gimp, also using double-sided adhesive tape.

Short pieces of blackout "bandaid" strip were applied over the pleat seams- another place where light sneaks through.   Leftover blackout strips were sent with the installer so he can cover up anyplace that I might have missed.
Next time I think I might go ahead and blind-stitch or hand-sew a rolled lead edge border, as usual, and adhere a blackout-lined coordinating gimp or other flat trim over the seamline.  I think it could be a beautiful detail.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Big Hobbled Shade!

In this space where panels would be cumbersome, the homeowner originally considered a full-length shade to cover the doors, but in the end decided to have us make a shade to cover about half of the length of the area, and pull it up part-way, to look like a full shade.  This can be raised higher with a Rollease clutch to clear the doors if they need to be used.  It has a more substantive presence than simply a hobbled valance would have had.
I love the ceiling-to-floor panels!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Modified Catherine valance

The designer brought us two drapery panels, linen, two widths each side, abut 72" long, with little three-finger pleats just 2" long and 1" wide, and tassel trim on the lead edges and bottom.

The room had been renovated, and now to fit the new space we were to make a pole-mounted valance to cover 120" out of these panels.  Something swaggy, using the bottom of the panels without removing the trim, and with bells that were pleated in the same style, to go with the remaining pair of draperies on the adjacent window.  I also had to make 30" jabots out of whatever remained.

I definitely spent more time thinking about this project than it took to make it, which means I had a LOT of thinking time.   The valance needed to be a style with a straight bottom.  I considered modifying a Kingston.  The decorator suggested modifying a Queen Anne.  Time was a factor, as well as the limited available fabric. 
Pate-Meadows Catherine valance
Finally I decided on modifying the beautiful Catherine valance, a Pate-Meadows pattern, one of my favorite valances ever. 

I laid out the pattern pieces onto gridded paper and squared off the curves in the swags and bells.  To be sure I was cutting to achieve the correct swag width, I draped chain weight.  I replaced the triangular bell with a 6" wide rectangle that could be pleated like the panels.   The pattern finishes to 22" so I shortened it for an 18" finished length.  The self-lined jabots were cut sideways out of the little fabric that remained.

And, before cutting the fabric, I made a muslin mock-up, stapling the pleats and hanging to be sure of the dimensions.  I was happy that it came out true to the original concept.

There was not enough fabric to cut the swags individually so railroading the treatment was the only option.  I French-seamed together the two panels and realized that the three seams would just have to fall wherever they fell, because the five swags and six bells took up- to the very last thread!- the exact amount of fabric available.   I used new lining- napped sateen- and hemmed it and it hangs separately from the face fabric.

The unavoidable seam in the center of the center swag left me slightly queasy, so when I got the inevitable call from the decorator, after the installation, I was sweating it out until I heard- "It was beautiful!  It looked effortless and the customer LOVES it!"

I was so engrossed in figuring out what to make and how, that I totally forgot to take pictures, after the one showing the cut-up fabric and the cut-off pleats.

There was fabric left over- ha- two pieces about 12" x 12" each.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Fab Fabric Friday, Extreme Edition

This is one of the most fab fabrics I've ever seen.  Lucky me, I get to sew it! 

"Enter the Dragons"

A Jim Thompson fabric

A 17-screen print!

Exquisite color

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Remembering Needle Size

When starting a new project, I never could remember what size needle was on the machine, until I learned this trick from someone- I can't remember from whom, probably someone on the CHF Member Forum. 
Put the needle package in the little slot next to the bobbin storage area on the machine table, and keep it there until I change needle size again.  I know, duh, right? 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Here are two of the shades we made from last week's Fab Fabric, featured in the previous post.