Monday, April 24, 2017

Turban swags

Before I had the recent shade marathon, I had a swag sort of half-marathon.  The last proper blog post was the final installment of three about an arched swag treatment.  At the same time, I was drafting a pattern for Turban swags and also some Austrian swags.  So I had a big swag immersion week or two!
Of course the first thing I did for the Turban swags was drape chain weight, following the instructions in Ann Johnson's book.  The vertical chain drop marks the specific short point at the crossover.  Turban swags are hybrids: one side of each swag is a traditional board-mounted swag, and the other side is a boxed swag.  Ann shows how to combine two styles of swag to create this and other hybrid swags.
 Draping the chain weight took a lot of experimenting.  The board and legs were set up on the edge of the table so the chains could easily be adjusted to get the right silhouette.
The Turban swags presented a challenge because the fabric was a woven vertical stripe and the designer wanted the stripes to run horizontally.  Swag patterns are not rectangles- they are weird curved trapezoids- so the stripes would've been cut at an curve at the bottom and I didn't like how that looked.  Therefore I improvised.  The swag was possible by making a more informal look.  On the sides the stripes are pleated, but because the swag wasn't cut as it should've been, it wouldn't hold its folds.  I had to allow the fabric to do what it wanted, yet guide it into pleasing gathers.   The casual gathered look worked well with this heavy woven fabric.
These swags were being mounted on a window which ran straight into a door opening on the left, so the return couldn't be the full length of the swag on the left side.  I made a short return, then a fascia board to support it and provide a surface to wrap the bottom pleats around for stapling.
 A lot of stapling and unstapling and re-stapling went into the process of pleating the swag to achieve a pleasing look.  This is one of many incarnations of the return:
 Finally the swags were pleated attractively, and the returns were finished.  We added velcro and sent along a flap of fabric that the installer could position to conceal any gap, if that proved necessary.
I was on pins and needles until the phone rang- the designer and homeowner LOVED the treatment!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Shade Apocalypse!

I'm back, people!  This past 4 weeks I've been working intensely on projects that all came in at once and were all due practically at once, including one whole house project, and one half-house.
About 80% of the work we did in-house this past month was shades- close to 60- some of them gigantic- so you can bet I've got a lot to say about shades!  Yeah, in this business, there's no such thing as "Now I've seen it all!"   Nope, there is ALWAYS more to see, more to learn, more problems to solve, and more challenges to confront.
So as much as I've talked about shades over the years, I've got even more to say, after these past 4 weeks.
No, I'm not going to say it all RIGHT now!  It'll take me some time to distill my notes and and curate the photos for the blog.
Here's just one, to give you an idea:

My incomparable husband John was priceless during this effort, and I couldn't have done all this work without his intelligence and knowledge and ability to assess, diagnose, and improvise- people, if you ever need a problem-solver extraordinaire, ask an audio engineer!
Camille flew in and out of the studio off and on, and tirelessly sewed probably a thousand rings herself.  We bartered time so I could help her make a super-cool shade for her friend.
Workroom Facebook friends Elki and Greg came to my aid late one evening when we were stuck trying to figure out something about spring roller systems.
Mike at Designer's Resource waterproofed some packages when I had to pick up after-hours and in the pouring rain a few things I had forgotten to order.
Marty picked up and delivered over-size tubes.
Josh spent 3 hours volunteering to run a few miles of lift cord through ring locks.
Tim my installer talked as he worked installing all these different shade systems, and I took notes- in the process I learned a lot more about the issues the installers face, and how in the workroom we can anticipate these issues and allow for them.
AND I managed to get to the NJ WCAA event "Windows to Success" with two fantastic presentations by Terri Booser!

In the past 5 weeks we have used 4 different lift systems- traversing clutch, tube clutch, spring roller roman, and RBS headrail. I'll tell you about them all- why we used each particular system for different circumstances; and I'll tell you what we learned about each system in the process.

Blackout.  Oh, boy, blackout.  I've gotten my new method- my 100% completely foolproof no-pinholes-of-light-absolutely-guaranteed  method- down to a sleek, well-oiled-machine sort of process- with ribs, too!  These are serious shades- serious Home Furnishings- and I'm thrilled with them.

I have discovered yet another method for making hobbled shades- I think I now know of about a dozen ways to make hobbled shades- and it keeps getting both better AND easier AND faster. 

Pattern was an important component of some of the hobbled shades, so I did a lot of pattern mocking-up, and I found a neat trick to allow us to make larger folds to accommodate a pattern repeat and still remain in compliance with safety standards!

Stationary shades- I used 4 different methods for those...........
Toppers for reverse mounted shades........
New ways to use Dofix products.........
Oh, and how I used fusible Dofix blackout lining to remedy on-site an absurd mistake I made...............

Did I mention yet the arched shade?  And how we made the frame by bending and layering wood ripped to 1/4" with our new bandsaw?

Yeah, I have a LOT to say about shades!
Stay tuned.......