Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The best of both worlds

I love that these days, workrooms have a multitude of tools to choose from when fabricating, ranging from time-saving techniques and products to intensive, slow handwork.  I assess the fabric and product and use what I believe will yield the best results.
For two shades last week, I chose to use methods from both ends of the spectrum: hand-sewing, and Döfix adhesive.  (This shade, smaller than 2' x 3', is hanging in my back hallway in front of some draped chain weight I was using to help develop "droop" statistics for my Relaxed Roman shade class!)
To start off, I hemmed the side borders by hand.  I knew I was going to apply the trim with Döfix at the end, and I wanted everything to be secured as well as possible before turning the shade over, and in my opinion fusing the side borders would not give enough stability to flip the shade later.  I prepared the bottom hem according to my usual method, with fusible buckram and weight bar tube from Rowley, but did not finish the bottom at this stage.
I sewed all the rings, except for the bottom row, making sure that the edge rows would not interfere with the trim placement.
At the bottom, I basted the hemline.
At the top, I basted the board line, and cut out the bulk where the hem goes up over the board.
I measured and cut all the trim lengths and applied Döfix tape to the wrong side.
With the side hems hand-sewn, the top and bottom basted, and the body of the shades secured with rings, I felt the shade was stable enough to flip it over for the trim application.  I opened up the bottom hem so the trim could be applied to the full length.  A long straightedge provided a line for laying down the trim.
I carefully "zapped" the trim with barely any steam, just enough to sort of steam-baste it into place.
Then to really fuse it to the fabric, I used a pressing cloth (a strip of interlining) to protect the fabric from the steam.
The only steps remaining were to finish the bottom rings.......
...and insert the weight bar and finish sewing the sides to the bottom (which I forgot to photograph!)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Custom Workroom Weekend!

Hi there people- I'm back to work this week after a fabulous time in NC for Susan Woodcock's Custom Workroom Weekend, where I taught a class on Relaxed Roman Shades, and did a demo on using fusibles to facilitate sewing.
My co-instructors were Penny Bruce, Mary Rose LeBlanc, and Susan Woodcock.  Between us, we covered drapery topics (fascinating headers and a great new ripple product), shades (English roman shades and my relaxed), and demos on enchanting pillow and slipcover details, essential hand-sewing stitches, and my fusible applications to facilitate detailing.
I'm wearing my hand-sewn and hand-flower-dyed tank top
Susan and Rodger organized an intense educational weekend in a rustic mountain lodge, and I have already been able to use some of what I learned while writing up new proposals this week.

Now Susan has announced the October 20 opening of early-bird registration for the Custom Workroom Conference 2017 which will be held in Nashville next May!  I'll be reprising "Relaxed Roman Shades" so if you missed it last weekend, I hope you'll consider taking it in the spring.  I'll also be presenting "Streamlining Top Treatments"- all about workroom techniques and practices for efficient top treatment fabrication.  Check out the long list of classes- it's a comprehensive selection of workroom topics.  I'm glad I'm going to be there, and I hope you'll be there too!
I've spent my week back on fabrication and workroom organization.  We've gotten some new "toys" and this weekend we will be re-arranging the workroom to accommodate them and improve traffic flow in our space.  We are busy, busy, busy on shade and top treatment orders.  Here are a few shots of recent work:

 I love the look of multiple treatments marching around a room.  There were 9 of these in all.

Another geometric roman shade- pleated to pattern, OF COURSE!

We also made a bunch of stationary romans like this one, in various sizes.

This is my new favorite way to make stationary roman valances.  Lift cord is run through rings, just like on an operable shade, but it's secured at the top on the board, and at the bottom with orbs, which allow slight adjustment.  This gives the treatment a natural look.

It's impossible to describe just how impressive this sleek, ultra-modern fabric was as a roman shade.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Pied-a-terre shades and pillows

Where to start after not posting for 3 weeks?  Shall I bore you with stories about the dead car battery in NYC; the equipment failures: band saw, Dofix boiler?  The unexpected modifications, re-stringings, repairs; and 5 installations in 2 days?............ nah. 
Instead, I'll show you my favorite project from these challenging few weeks.

Arielle of Paris Interiors designed this oasis in Greenwich Village.  The black and white scheme is unbroken except for the brick wall, and is restful in the most modern way.
I enjoyed every aspect of fabrication of the Missoni sheer shades and the 11 pillows using 12 different fabrics. 

The sheer was a special challenge.  The pattern match was about 5" in from the selvedge, and I didn't think I could accurately join the widths by machine.  Instead, I basted then hand-sewed the seams using a ladder stitch.
I flat-felled the seam by pressing it, but did not sew it. 
After tabling the face fabric and laying out the double-wide semi-sheer lining, I lock-stitched the sheer to the edges before folding and pressing the hem into place.  This is a technique I learned from Penny Bruce of Denton Drapes (albeit in reference to interlined English curtains!) adapted to my own fabrication process.
I intentionally made the side hem wide enough to reach the face seam.  As I ladder-stitched the hem, the thread caught the felled seam to secure the fabric.
The rest of the shade fabrication followed my standard procedure for sheer shades, stabilizing the bottom with translucent buckram, and enclosing the weight bar pocket into the hem.  You can see one of the three horizontal basting lines I ran before beginning to sew the rings. 
This is one of my top three favorite projects of the year so far!