Thursday, August 30, 2012

A closer look- my faves

Of the 10 shades I made for Liz and showed off in the previous post, this little guy is probably my favorite, or should I say the one I most would like to have for myself.

I just love the valance shape.   
And I love how I used the unembroidered selvdege to make a banding around the valance, and I love how I applied the trim so the bead hangs over the band.
Can you tell that I worked out the detailing myself?   Yes, I'm slightly in love with this shade!  Also I'm obsessed with anything remotely star-shaped.

It was not easy working the plain band fabric cut on the lengthwise grain, not bias, into the curves and the inside corner.  But I was determined, and with a couple of tucks strategically hidden behind beads, it worked.

Competing against the star shade for my personal favorite is this sheer silk with horizontal jute lines.  I've used this fabric before, for flat romans, but since I had the choice this time, I made the shade relaxed instead, and tied up the bottom two rings for a permanent fold, which I think helps disguise the covered weight rod.

When I worked on this fabric last year with another decorator, we came up with using twill tape to bind the edges, since the cut edges can't be sewn.   I love binding!  This was 1" twill tape, but in the past I've also used it in larger sizes.  It's folded in half over itself, glued into place, then when dry it's topstitched close to the edge.  My gridded fabric table top helps make sheer shades a breeze- you can see right through the fabric and line up the jute.

The tassel trim made it easier to deal with the bottom.  It's hand-sewn to a row of jute, and got another layer of hand-stitching after the hem was folded up.

On the back I also ran hand-sewing along the two jute lines that overlap, to prevent them from shifting.  There was another line or two of hand-stitching to stabilize everything.  As you can see I kept it very simple.  The weight rod was covered in a tube made from khaki lining and tacked at the lowest ring so the shade is very stable.

Now that it's in the store, this little sweetie of a shade is going to get some sort of topper to hide the cord lock.  Either something out of a wonderful fabric, or a carved wood cornice from, I don't know, Bali, or someplace like that.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Display Shades!- a preview

Oh boy, Monday was an exciting day.  At long last we installed display shades in the new home of Paris Interiors in Scarsdale, NY. 

These shades have been scattered around the workroom for weeks in various stages of completion, a riot of color and pattern, and inspiration.

They've elicited many oohs and aaahs from people coming in and out of the workroom, and hopefully will do the same for Liz Davidson's clients when they come into her shop!

Over the next couple of days I'll show these up close and in detail. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Box Pleat vs Kick Pleat?

Oh, my poor blog!  So neglected this summer!  Somehow it's just been hard to think about sitting inside at the computer for a second longer than necessary.
So I've made myself a cup of coffee and here I am.

Everybody wants to know what the difference is between a kick pleat and a box pleat.  The difference is: which side you looking at.
The client for whom we made these treatments had a kitchen window, which needed a valance, and an alcove which needed just a slender topper.  The big check fabric lent itself perfectly to the two different applications.

She wanted a flat valance with contrast center and end pleats.  From the front, this is what I call a kick pleat.

But from the back, it's a box pleat.  It's kind of like how the back of a pinch pleat is.... an inverted pleat.  Same thing, opposite side.  I imagine terms are used differently between regions and generations, but this is what I learned in Home Ec in the 60s!

I kept the teeniest gap between the sections so the contrast could peek through.   This looks like a woven check, right?  Nope, it's printed!  By some miracle it stayed square enough to pull this off.

If the world were the right kind of place, window treatments would be made to fit fabric, and we would not have to manipulate fabric to fit windows.  Unfortunately, we have to make treatments to fit actual windows, so we have to do the best we can to blend pattern and space.  In MY ideal world, the window would have been 1" narrower so the kick pleats would end on the stripe, but!..... it is what it is.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Rouched top panels and valance

Strangely, some styles come through the workroom in waves of threes.  Austrian shades is one of those styles; we had three orders in a row last year; and rouched top panels are the latest wave.

This luscious and ethereal version, by Elizabeth of Harlow Design, was done in sheer, unlined, embroidered silk.

Two flaps of fabric and triple fullness shirred up beautifully using Rowley's translucent pencil pleat tape.  The success of this treatment depends on patient dressing when installing.

These were hung on plain curtain rods.  After the panel was completed, I sewed on loops of 1" translucent tape to create rod pockets.

Spaced 9" apart, after the panels were shirred the pockets were 3" apart, close enough to hold the panel securely on the rod.

Elizabeth carried the rouched theme into the adjacent bath with a heavily fringed valance on medallions.  This valance had just one flap of fabric whereas panels usually have two.  Loops for hanging were made from strands of the fringe and are hand-tacked to the back.

Nicole of Suite Dream had us make rouched panels out of mauve silk, which are also hung on curtain rods but, in this case, using drapery pins.

To prevent the possibility of the shirring tape ever showing, I nudge the top flap fabric over the tape and sew it down.

This row of stitching is hidden by the rouching after the panel is dressed.

Our last wave of three rouched panel projects included these interlined embroidered silk panels, designed by Liz of Paris Interiors

They were so successful that she repeated the look for another room, using a heavy taffeta with velvet stripes.

And riffing on the usual rouched top style, I added a lot of embellishment to these panels.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Grosgrain ribbon

Grosgrain ribbon is hot stuff right now.  It's shown up a lot lately, but my most recent personal favorite was this lime green shade with navy ribbon in two widths.

This was easy to apply using double-sided adhesive tapes.  I use my clear rulers from my patchwork days to keep the rows straight.

Doubling up ribbons is popular right now, too.  I loved this combination of brown and purple for a Roman shade.  Yes, that is an upholstery weight fabric.  It turned out fantastically well.

A more difficult application was white grosgrain on ivory wool sateen.  We hand-sewed the ribbon on 6 shades..... a big investment of time!
Adhesives of any type were inappropriate for the wool- whether tape or liquid.  White glue just stiffened up- it felt like cardboard.  Double-sided tape that did not need steaming showed a shadow, and also made the wool pucker.  And for fear of shrinking the wool I did not want to use a tape that required steaming.  And machine sewing distorted the wool.
So out came the John James needles and my favorite Coats & Clark Dual Duty Button and Carpet thread (also the favorite of Alabama Chanin for hand-sewing!), and a pleasant day with my friend Camille ensued as we hand-sewed ribbon in a U-shape around 6 shades.  We each did 3, and there was a serious learning curve.  My first shade took nearly 2 hours, the second one 1 1/2 hours, and the last one maybe an hour and a quarter.  Yes, I got faster, but I bet if I measured the stitches, I'd find that they got a little longer with each shade........

Other recent grosgrain applications for shades: this was a linen blend fabric......

and this is wool- not quite a sateen, more like a suiting weight, and unlined.

And of course the Greek Key version.....