Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Double bands and mitered corners and microcord

I enjoyed figuring out how to make these double-banded draperies for designer SuElyn Chase of Cottages to Castle.  In a tall window in a stairway landing, they are eye-catching for sure.
The lead edges and hems have double bands with mitered corners, of two different poly fabrics, and microcord, with three-finger Euro pleats, and pieced banded tiebacks.
My first concern was keeping these fabrics stable, especially the blue ribbed fabric.  After seaming the strips, which I cut oversize, I ironed them to a fusible stabilizer.
Then I trimmed them down with a rotary cutter.
Before I sewed the banding strips to the face fabric, I basted them together by hand.
That step prevented the band layer from walking as it was applied.
The rotary cutter was used again to trim that seam.
I was happy with the mitered corners!
Before applying the microcord, I machine stay-stitched the banding lead edge.
And before cutting the welt cord strips, I reinforced the blue fabric with stabilizer.
That provided at least some control!
The face and lining (solid green) were sewn together at the lead edge and hem.
Again, trimming was neat and easy with the rotary cutter.

The top was finished with a low-bulk method, using fusible buckram to help maintain some control.  The return edge was rolled and blind-hemmed. 
The three-finger Euro pleats were tacked by hand.
I love the tiebacks with the skinny green center strip!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A time to break a rule

Pleated gauze has been available for a number of years now, but this was the first time I'd seen it with the pleats running the length of the bolt instead of across the width.
For relaxed romans 53" long, we were just able to railroad the fabric, joining on a half-width at the bottom so the seam would be hidden behind the first permanent fold.

This project is a good example of when it's appropriate to use an alternate fabrication method to best suit the fabric and the product.  The designer- Berniker Decorators in Katonah- requested that we wrap the return halfway around the board, to help fill in the hourglass shaped gap that often is unavoidable with relaxed shades.
Our normal double 2" side hem which we have used if these were flat Roman shades would be too bulky for this situation, so we decided to pillowcase the fabric and lining.  I can't even remember the last time I pillowcased a shade.
The wrap-around worked perfectly: the fabric flares out a bit and prevents gapping.
It was fun to see all five shades hanging in the workroom.
But it was even more fun when Scott sent me this picture, all five shades installed!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Blind hemming

When I started out as a full-time workroom, I didn't know that there were workrooms where people actually used needle and thread to sew.  I thought everything in a proper workroom was done by machine.  Thank goodness I soon learned differently!  Sixteen years later, I've come to love sewing by hand, both for the superior results and the satisfying sense of process.
That being said, there are times when hand-sewing, while delightful, is just unnecessary because the result will be in no way superior to the machine sewn version.
So a couple of years ago I bought a blind-hemmer.  When I started out, I subbed out all of my drapery orders, so I had little need for a blind-hemmer.  Now, I do make some drapery, but what I make here is always and only by hand, so I still don't need the blind hemmer for panels.  The same goes for my Roman shades: they are made on the table, by hand, and don't leave the table until they are on the boards. 
However, I find plenty of other time-saving uses for it.  It is invaluable for bedskirts, a few valance applications, and, sometimes, relaxed, London, or balloon shades.
It made short work of this interlined London shade.
I assembled the shade on the table.  The linings were laid in, hems folded, and rings and ladder tape sewn, all on the table, the bottom left unfinished.
The top and bottom were basted across by hand and trimmed.
A quick trip to the blind-hemmer finished off the side hems.
Back at the Juki, the brush fringe was sewn on, and then a facing of the moire, and, yes, I forgot to take a picture of sewing on the facing!
You'll just have to imagine the part where I sewed on the facing, which was made from a strip of fabric, folded in half, sewn over the fringe seam allowance, and pressed up to meet the bottommost rings.  Then that, too, went to the blindhemmer.  The ends were slipstitched together for a clean bottom finish.
And that blind-hemmer saved me probably the amount of time that it took to write up this post :)