Friday, October 16, 2015

Dofix and Dylan

I bought a Dofix this spring.
I was a little surprised.
I have always said, I aspire to be an expert sewer, and do not aspire to be an expert gluer.
But I got a Dofix.
See, I got this job where I would need to apply about 35 yds of wide Greek Fret banding to Duchess Satin, and I knew the only way was to use a permanent adhesive to adhere it.  Sewing- whether hand or machine- created take-up and puckering.  I started pricing out Dofix, and lo and behold, found a system for sale, and I immediately called and bought it, and picked it up in PA on Father's Day on my way to Philly.

In case you don't know what Dofix is, it's a comprehensive line of adhesive products to be used with its excellent boiler iron systems, along with a range of support products like hardware and shade systems, specifically for window treatments. 
Honestly I felt a little like I was having a Bob Dylan at Newport moment.
After all, I'm a big champion of hand-sewing.  I'm even making hand-sewn reverse-applique knit garments.
  Was I "going electric" and abandoning my hand-sewing?

But while legend has it that the Newport crowd booed Dylan for going electric, the truth is more likely that they were more booing because of the poor sound quality.

So perhaps my Dylan-Dofix analogy can be awkwardly stretched a bit further.  I bought Dofix in order to provide a better quality product: by using it appropriately where hand-sewing was NOT the best choice.  I decided that if I was going to use adhesives, I wanted to have the best boiler iron to apply the best adhesive to make the product the best I could.  Even if you never use a Dofix adhesive product, the iron and boiler are life-changing.

In my workroom, the most transformational use for Dofix is for trim application.  I can apply trims cleanly and with confidence. 

Here's the job that I bought the Dofix for.  I couldn't have managed without it.

I used it this week to apply grosgrain ribbon to a shade.

And banding over the seam on a wide roman shade.
Dofix is invaluable for blackout treatments, in which every stitch, every pinhole, allows light through.  Dofix allows me to avoid the pinholes of light on side hems, bottom hems, weight bar pockets.
These huge hobbled (9' wide x 6' long) blackout shades made from upholstery weight fabric would have been monsters to sew.  Dofix made them manageable.
Here I used Dofix for the bottom hem of a blackout shade.  You can't see it, because I didn't take pictures during fabrication, but I will next time.
These are just a few of the projects that would've been very difficult without the Dofix.
One product I totally love is the fusible Dofix velcro.  I've found that handy for the return flaps for outside mounted roman shades.
And I'm looking forward to making a shade with the Dofix blackout lining and fusible cord shroud, which eliminates all sewing and therefore all stitch holes.  Sounds crazy?  I saw Beth Hodges make one at a recent training workshop she held in NY, and that shade was amazing!  I'm anxious to make my sample.  If you want to learn more about Dofix, you can book a workshop with Beth Hodges in your area.  We had a great time and learned so much from her, and NOT just about Dofix!
For me, Dofix was the right choice at the moment I bought it.  It was an investment that pretty much paid for itself on that first Greek Fret banding project. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

A make-over

A NYC client was dissatisfied with some recently installed treatments and I was asked to assess them and propose a way to make corrections.  
First let me show you the "after" picture:

When I arrived I was dismayed when I saw the depth of the challenge.   Here's a quick glimpse of what I found when I first visited this home:
The valances needed complete remaking, as the calculations clearly went awry and left no way to correct the existing treatment.  The fine satin required better fabrication techniques than the factory-caliber treatment it was given.

This talented designer worked brilliantly within parameters that he did not choose.
The decision was made to eliminate the valances to lighten up the room.  I had the opportunity to re-make the panels, by hand, with fresh imported Duchess Satin and wool/linen Greek Fret trim, and re-work the silk sheers, making them 10" longer to up fit into the recess.  (Yes, 10" longer.  THAT took some serious magic.)
The designer's choice of hardware was absolute genius:  rectangular Lucite poles with brass fittings, so the gorgeous matching 5" trim on the soffit could be seen through the Lucite.
6" cartridge pleats allowed the satin to drop in sleek, smooth columns.
The soffit was 12" deep.  That depth plus the returns on the brackets required a 15" return on the drapery, and it needed to be cut to shape around the shaped molding and faced.  Each panel was a slightly different length, and the depth of the cutout varied with each panel as well.  We labelled everything carefully and miraculously avoided any mix-ups!
The return needed to be held rigid.  My original plan was to insert a support into the pocket created by the facing.  It kind of worked, but not quite well enough, so we went back and actually stapled the returns into the underside of the soffit.
Satin in itself creates challenges, because the light enhances every ripple and dimple.  The heavy trim was not only on the vertical lead edge, but also across the bottom.  We experimented with sewing it on both by machine and by hand, but the satin puckered no matter what.  So, guess what?  I bought a Dofix to apply this trim.  
The fabrication and installation were so intense that I really didn't take the time to capture as many photos as I now wish I had.  The take-away: both homeowner and designer were thrilled with the make-over. 
A bunch of new tools and gadgets went a long way toward moving this project forward efficiently.  I'm itching to do a separate blog post about those.