Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Getting comfortable with oversize

At last I can post photos of the 173" long and 156" wide ripplefold panel!  35 yards each of 100% linen and napped cotton sateen lining went into the panel, valance, and tieback.  After fabricating this treatment for Crosstown Shade and Glass, I am feeling pretty comfy with oversize.  Jeff and Steve thought through every detail to ensure a perfect fit and smooth installation.
I hinted at this project in my last post, which was a whole month ago.  To backtrack and fill you in on that month- my friend Rosemarie Garner and I were co-presenters at the NJ WCAA chapter's annual Windows to Success event.  Organizing all our material and samples was an exercise in down-sizing!- we had so much to choose from and had to edit carefully.  It was a fantastic experience and we're both grateful to the Chapter for inviting us.  The preparation ahead of this presentation kind of ate into my blogging time, but now- I'm back!
The huge ripplefold fabrication began with the 156" motorized rod.  We insist, for good reason, on having ripplefold tracks in the workroom before cutting the fabric.   Crosstown Shade and Glass ordered the track and delivered it to the workroom. 
This project provided a great illustration of why it's so important for the workroom to have the track.  For starters, the manufacturer had rigged the master carrier backwards, as a left stack instead of right stack- not at all difficult to switch, but what installer wants to do that on-site on installation day?
For another thing, the return had removable snap pieces that I might not have known about if I hadn't had the rod.  Lastly, the master carrier on the lead edge was unlike any master I'd ever worked with before, and because it's essential that the tape be fitted, cut, and re-joined so the snaps fit perfectly, it was a good thing I had it in the workroom.
I leave nothing to chance with ripplefold.  I cut the tape and snap it on all the way across, labeling the forward and backward "ripples" in order to plan seam placement.  Seams must go alongside the snaps, not halfway between them, so they'll be the least visible when the curtain is hung.  
This curtain used 7 widths of fabric, and with 185" cuts, it was a monster to handle.   We joined pairs of cut lengths, then joined those; that way I didn't have to handle all the weight quite as often. 
Keeping the grain true and achieving the correct finished length took discipline.  For each cut I pulled a thread to be sure I cut on grain.  Jen and I made the curtain in stages, starting at the bottom.  After hand-sewing the return side hem, we worked the panel across the table, basting both vertically and horizontally.  The horizontal basting line became the reference line from which to measure the finished length after the bottom of the entire 7 widths was tabled.
Photos of massive amounts of basted fabric are pretty boring, so here is the last stage when we finally reached the lead edge!  The vertical line you see there is the estimated lead edge of the panel- it isn't going to be cut and finished until after the ripplefold tape is sewn on.  The reason?  The tape will most likely "walk" a bit as it's sewn onto the fabric, so it's important to leave a little leeway and finish the curtain where the tape actually winds up.
Jen daisy-chained the hems together every quarter-width to keep the layers from billowing apart from each other.
After the bottom was done, we shifted the whole curtain downward to work on the top.  We measured up from the basted reference line and basted the top fold line.  Then we turned the panel to run the top along the length of the table.  We trimmed, folded, pressed, then basted yet again.
 The top edge was finished neatly even though it was going to be covered with ripplefold tape.
Since our sewing machines are on glides, we were able to slide the straight stitch over to the table, instead of dragging the curtain over to the machine.  I wanted to be comfortable while sewing the ripplefold tape!
Eleven yards of snap tape later.....
It came out to within an inch and a half of the projected lead edge!  Do you know how happy I was to see that???
NOW we finish the lead edge.  Using nice long John James needles with silamide thread, this was a peaceful and relaxed ending to the panel fabrication.


  1. Wow!!! What a project! At the risk of sounding tacky I'm curious how much this thing cost!?!

    1. Glad you appreciate this project Brittany! Regarding cost- there are many elements that I have no idea what they cost- e.g. fabric, track, installation, and the retail charge for the fabrication, so I can’t even guess what the bottom line was! My work is just a fraction of the total. Sorry, I just don’t know!