Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Pleating to pattern and pattern placement

For one-width side panels, it was important to pleat this geometric woven silk to pattern.

With a horizontal repeat of just 7", we accomplished that by using 4" for the spaces and the remaining 3' for slender, two-finger pinch pleats.
We planned the cut so the little oval in the center of the medallion would appear near the top of the pleat, giving the appearance of additional detailing.
We liked Jen's idea of finishing the interlining with a twill tape binding, rather than a bulky double hem.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Front and back tucked romans

I always swore I would not make this style of shade!  Sewing all those horizontal pockets was too daunting for me.   I'm not even sure what this style is called, because it has both front and back tucks, alternating, with the rings sewn at the back tucks.
2 green shades for the upstairs bedroom

But then I had a request to duplicate 9 shades of this type, and I decided it was high time I learned.   An order for 9 of anything will provide motivation!
I was able to take down and take apart some of the original shades to see how they were made.  We were asked to make the shades in the same manner, so we did, but- I am looking forward to re-creating this style, using my own methods, and perhaps some luxurious Domette interlining!

These original shades had cord locks; the cords were rigged to the front through an oval grommet concealed with a hard topper.

The new ones that we made are reverse mounted with a Rollease clutch.  They are blackout lined with Silky Blackout in color Sand from Angels Distributing.
4 shades for the Master Bedroom

I learned the secret to the originals: the pockets were sewn through the face fabric only, not the face plus the lining.  That was not as difficult as it would've been if the pockets were sewn through the lining as well.
We marked carefully with disappearing pen, folded the lines, and ironed them, alternating direction front to back.
For the folds to the front, we didn't mark the line; we simply ironed and pinned, using the table grid as the guide.
It was tedious, but the sewing went really well, thanks to Camille's infinite patience!
When the sewing was finished, the shade was laid out and lightly pressed, manipulating the pockets straight, again using our indispensable gridded canvas table top as a guide.
We had already prepared the blackout lining; after the pockets were sewn, the lining was laid out on the back of the shade, right over the pockets, and the sides and bottoms were secured with Dofix Bortenfix hemming tape.

With all those ribs to support the folds, the shades needed only 3 rows of lift lines.
We used 3/16" cast acrylic rodding from U. S. Plastics for the back ribs, and 3/16" clear plastic ribs from Rowley for the front ribs.
 The rings were sewn at the ribs, catching the pocket beneath, then the ribs were slid in and the ends sealed with a tiny dot of hot glue.
The shades were reverse-strung with Rollease clutches and SafeTShade Ring Locks, and a separate hard valance added at the end.  We made our toppers on 1/4" thick hardwood, with little returns so the clutches weren't visible from the side.
3 shades for the Guest Bedroom and Bath

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Blackout, ribbed, upholstery weight shades with grosgrain ribbon

I couldn't think of a good opening for this story, so I figured I'd just start with the photo.
Grey grosgrain ribbon outlines a white geometric upholstery weight shade in this window seat with a coordinating cushion and pretty floral pillows.
Now that I own a Dofix iron and boiler, applying grosgrain no longer fills me with dread.  I sent the designer three ribbon placement options, and she chose 1.5" in.
These shades are blackout, and in order to prevent pinholes of light shining through where the rings are sewn, I used my two-layer blackout method, with ribs, as in this shade which I posted about awhile back:
With 2" trim set in 1.5" up from the bottom, the first row of rings must begin 6.5"  above the bottom of the shade.  This leaves a 3.5" reveal at the bottom.  That must be taken into account from the beginning of the planning of the shade.
The profile of a chunky, layered shade with heavy fabric, blackout, and trim, will be bulky.  Even with the spacing that the Ring Locks provide, the pleats kick out forward; and the bottom apron wants to tilt back.   I took this shot so I would have a picture to illustrate this in the future.  It's important that the designer and homeowner understand this if it matters to them.
The two windows are different lengths, so one shade pleats up a little shorter than the other, in case you wondered!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Short Stories volume 1

Here are a bunch of short stories I thought I'd post one at a time, but they're that short I think I'll group a few together!

When will I ever remember that as adorable as a 2" long pleat is, it doesn't give much room to place a drapery pin???  We hung these sheers on a track with glides, and the header wasn't long enough to get the pin started low enough to bring the curtain high enough..... so the curtain didn't quite reach the ceiling, and it dragged on the floor.
I tried various pin sizes but none worked, so I put a little cable tie "spacer" to keep it from hiking all the way up- and that brought the drapery up just enough.

How many of us have a mail server whose mom is a veteran quilter in her 80s, clearing out her stash?  Linda occasionally leaves me goodies from her mom, like these vintage cotton threads I found in my mailbox!

One of my decorators wanted me to send her a photo of a Queen Anne Valance to see if that is the style she wanted for her granddaughter's room.  I sent her this pic which was taken at least 5-6 years ago:
To my astonishment, she called to say that the blue-yellow print was exactly the fabric she had chosen!  So she went ahead with the Queen Anne, but with a long point of about 24", and a beautiful tassel-on-lip-cord trim.  What are the chances?

Those are part of this group of "Pillow Day" pillows:

Monday, March 7, 2016

More takes on the soft cornice

We needed to make a short valance to hide the headrail on this bay window. You can see that there is no room for a board to wrap around that headrail.
It was Halloween when we measured- in case you wondered!

I turned to Dofix for the extremely low-profile A-1 Compact headrail with velcro, and made a continuous soft cornice with velcro.

The soft cornice is entirely hand-sewn, on two layers of buckram, with interlining, topped with self-welt, and fusible velcro was applied to the back when it was finished.  That red thread marks the exact center to make it easier for the installer.
Here's a view of the back, with the Dofix A-1 Compact headrail and its super-low-profile ceiling brackets.  The last two inches on each end have no support; it just tucks around the headrail and is tacked in place.

On the adjacent windows we made a coordinating hybrid treatment, a cross between a soft cornice and a kick-pleat valance.  Again this was hand-sewn onto two layers of buckram with interlining, the buckram omitted in the kick pleats.

We first mocked up this style as a workroom sample, and it has received a lot of interest- I see a lot of these in my future!
The customer's version is even better:
Everyone was happy with these soft cornice adaptations.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Back from the CWC, back to work!

Susan Woodcock's Custom Workroom Conference 2016 was beyond all I had hoped for!  An assembly of custom home furnishings fabricators, gathered in a beautiful hotel in Concord NC, with a huge appetite for learning and sharing.  This industry truly is something special!

The team assembled by Susan and Rodger represented comprehensive coverage of essential topics, from fabrication to business.  I was impressed by the variety and originality of the classes offered.

As an instructor, I was able to sit in on classes, so I took advantage of the opportunity to learn about the latest in shade safety compliance from Terri Booser, and also from Steve Gibbons of SafeTShade.  I squeezed in about half of Terri's class on Bays, Bows, and Corners, before having to scoot out to prepare for my class.  Zona Tiller had fantastic embellishment ideas in her class, and she kindly sat in on mine and was a reassuring presence in the back.  Susan teamed with Hanes Lining to show off their latest products, including - - - grey sateen!  I can't wait to order a roll of that.   Beth Hodges presented an overview of her practices and policies to ensure successful installations- probably the one class I badly needed more than any other- and Beth did not disappoint!  Last but not least, I got to sit in for a second time with Penny Bruce, presenting English hand-sewn drapery, which is the level of supreme quality to which I aspire.
Some of the classes I had already taken elsewhere featured Donna Cash, Jo Thomas, and Ann Johnson, as well as Beth's full-day Dofix workshop.  It was amazing meeting these and other workroom instructors who are giants in the industry.  

The marketplace showroom was bustling and full of interesting vendors, including Margie Nance at the D and D Pro Network table.  All afternoon there was a steady stream of live demos on all sorts of fabrication.  My demo, on utilizing fusibles to facilitate sewing on otherwise tricky projects, was the last of the day.

I met so many people I've known online, on Facebook, on the D and D Pro Forum, and from here on my blog.  That was the best part of all.  Teaching my class, Efficient Shade Making, was exhiliarating for me, knowing that so many people were there that I knew but had never met!  What a treat.

Now it's hard to believe I've been back to work for a week.  Thursday was a field trip, to see Jackie Von Tobel at the WCAA Central NJ meeting.  I've done some fabrication, but also a lot of organizing, measuring, and installation.  Now it's time to buckle down and start sewing.

Thanks to all you blog readers!

Me and Jen leaving NY

Evading the tornado warnings in NC by taking the western route where the clouds split and the sun burst through!
My room was so comfortable!  
My sunrise view every morning!
Zona's beautiful twist-pleated lead edge
My shade class
Susan and Hanes Lining
Penny presenting English hand-sewn curtains
Susan and Rodger say goodbye until next year
Working on my Alabama Chanin project on the way home until the light ran out
Car full of new work picked up!