Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Windows to Success

I'm sorting through my shade samples today, preparing for Windows to Success presentation with Rosemarie Garner- and if you haven't registered yet for this event, I hope you'll do so this week before it sells out!  Rose and I will be addressing a multitude of shade challenges and solutions, from arched windows to tricky patterns.  I'll be back to blogging just as soon as I can catch my breath from a long series of projects interspersed with preparing for this big educational event.  Stay tuned!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Oversize Ripplefold

Oversize seems to be a "thing" in our workroom lately.  We made 34' of ripplefold in December for Nicole Gray of Suite Dream, and now the room is complete, with sleek, modern cornices in place.
Please note, Leatherwood Design Co DID NOT make the cornices, but I can't resist showing how they finish the treatment.
On Wednesday another large ripplefold project will be installed: 173" long and 13' wide on a motorized rod.    Wielding needle and thread, Jen and I succeeded in taming 70 yards of fabric.  I'll be posting about the fabrication process and how we managed this large product. 

 Back in October, we had our first truly long panel project- 168" panels ranging from 1 width each to 3 widths. We're certainly getting comfortable with oversize :)

 Can't wait for the next!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Epic installation day....

Four installations in one day!
None were huge projects, but if you combine four small-to-medium installations, you wind up with one epic day.
After we installed the flat-back reverse mount blackout hobbled shades that I wrote about last week, we made three drapery installation stops, all for Croton on Hudson designer Denise Wenacur.

After installing those seven complicated shades in the morning, it was nice to start the afternoon with a less challenging second stop: a rod pocket valance over grey voile rod pocket sheers, for a tween bedroom makeover.

At the third home, pretty two-finger pinch pleat sheer-lined-with-sheer draperies freshened up the dining room.  We love the simplicity of H-rail tracks, with glides instead of rings.
And- the homeowner reports that upstairs, a window seat is now irresistable, with a new cushion, bolsters, and pillows.  She and her daughters vie for the spot for afternoon lounging!  The bolsters are filled with custom-made wedge foam forms, and generously wrapped in batting.  We had the homeowner sit on the window seat and we measured her back to get the exact right size for maximum comfort.
The last stop of the day was for a repeat client.  Grommet panels in her dining room are pretty totally wonderful- this modern Thom Filicia print making a huge impact next to the grey grasscloth wall.
I planned the grommet placement carefully, making my cryptic notes on blue tape that I left on the curtain while I worked. 
A long strip of tape marks the line where the tops of the grommets lie, and the short tapes mark one side of the grommet.
The inside of the grommet is marked with pencil, so the cutter can be positioned precisely.
This ensures perfect placement.
Are grommets making a comeback?  Based on the number of quotes we've been doing lately, I think so!  When they look as good as these do, it's a great style for a modern wave heading.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Flat-back blackout reverse mount hobbled shades

Flat-back blackout reverse mount hobbled shades.  That's a mouthful, right?
It's important to remember, when talking about "blackout" lining, that it is the LINING that is blackout, and not the TREATMENT.  The lining is blackout, but the treatment is ROOM-DIMMING.  The only real blackout treatment would be plywood nailed over the window.  Just about any window treatment will have points of light bleed.
Even this three-layer blackout treatment from a few years ago- blackout drapery, shade, and cornice- allowed some light bleed.
For that reason, room-darkening is a big issue in the shade fabrication world.  There are two sticking points with shades: one is the "pinholes of light" that are the consequence of stitching- the needle pierces the black inner layer of the lining and the tiny holes let light through.  The other issue is the "light bleed" from the sides of shades, whether inside or outside mounted.

For this project with Denise Wenacur, we wanted to make outside mounted room-darkening hobbled shades.  Hobbled shades eliminate the pinholes of light problem because the row stitching is hidden by the "hobbles".  The light bleed at the sides, however, is enhanced because the hobbles stand out from the vertical plane of the back of the shade, like this hobbled shade we made last summer:
We decided to make flat-back hobbled shades.  The flat back and the reverse mount allows the shade to hug the wall as closely as possible, minimizing the light gap.
When raised, the flat back folds up with the hobbles:
I hadn't made a flat-back functioning shade in a very long time, so I was feeling my way for this project.
I fused a coordinating lining to "Silky" blackout lining (from Angels Distributing) but in retrospect, next time I'd order a color-coordinated blackout lining and use it alone.  I marked the horizontal rows before taking it off the table to prepare the face.
For the face fabric, I made a mockup out of the cutoffs from the sides.  I was able to work with the pattern repeat so the hobbles are pleated to pattern.
Two different finished lengths required twice the planning!
I pinned the bottom so I wouldn't forget how the layers were sandwiched.
The two layers were first joined at the bottom, at the weight bar pocket.
Then the shade was laid on the table and the face fabric pinned to the flat back along the rows lightly marked with a pencil.
 I worked my way across, double-checking the lines on the flat back which I had marked earlier.
From the back:
And there, friends, is where the photos end!  Sewing these rows is JUST A LITTLE AWKWARD, which helps explain why I have no photos of that step.  After that, it was inevitable that I would forget to continue to document!  But the rest of the job was pretty basic.  
Rings were sewn to the back, and the shades strung (using Ring Locks) and rigged just as if it were a flat roman.  These were reverse mount, which means that the fabric comes off the back of the mounting surface- in this case, Rowley's EZ-Rig headrails with velcro, positioned as far back on the mount board as possible.  
Grommets in the shade allow the cords to come to the front and attach to the lift mechanism, and a blackout-lined topper blocks the grommet holes.
Pleating to pattern worked out beautifully- in this photo, see especially the bottom right which shows the pattern well:
There was another 128" wide x 27" long window for which we made a short hobbled shade that folded entirely up under the valance when raised.

This job was quite an adventure, and we were thrilled at how well it turned out!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Hobbled shades!

I've been humming "Willin'" to myself this afternoon- you know, the Lowell George song- "I've driven every kind of rig that's ever been made....."
Thinking of hobbled shades. 
I guess I've made nearly every kind of hobbled shade possible, and if I haven't made it, I'm probably about to.  (Seriously.  I've got a 158" wide hobbled geometric shade coming up next month!  And a room-full of flat back blackout reverse mount hobbled).

I guess I have been working for years with designers and homeowners who happen to love the clean, tailored look, who like shades that don't need dressing when they're raised, and who prefer a shade with more interest than a flat roman when lowered.

I guess that's why Susan Woodcock asked me to teach a Master Class at Workroom Tech on "Hobbled and Austrian Shades" at the end of March!  Why not join us and add this versatile style to your repertoire?

From bay windows-
To oversize blackout hobbled shades-
From geometric patterns in a bay-
To motorized shades for 3 sides of a room, with a busy, tricky pattern to align perfectly-

From sheer fabrics-
To upholstery weight-
With shaped, bottom banding-
Or totally plain-
I guess we've done it all!
In class, I'll be showing different fabrics, fabrication methods, and lift systems so you'll have a hobbled shade solution for any set of circumstances.  I'll also be teaching how to work with pattern and several methods for making a hobbled shade compliant with the safety standards.
Check it out here:

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Pattern matching on cushions

When I filled this cushion, for Crosstown Shade and Glass, I stood back to have a look at the pattern match, and I couldn't believe I had sewn it!  (Yeah, I know, I've only had 30+ years experience sewing cushions, but still!)  Matching pattern without welting is always tricky, and this required joining widths, as well. 

Welting provides a little buffer between the two layers of fabric, giving a little wiggle room, like this:
Or as in the pillows accompanying the cushion:
Perhaps there's a mathematical way to cut boxing to match the cushion body, but I need a more literal approach.
After I've cut the body..... just pretend this little strip is a cushion body, for illustration purposes..... I mark the seam allowance using a clear ruler and an erasable pen.  I use a 3/4" seam allowance, but other fabricators use 1/2" or 5/8" or 3/4" or whatever they're comfortable with.
I lay the body piece on the fabric that will become the boxing strip, matching up the pattern, and draw an erasable line at the body's cut edge.
I then mark and erasable line 1.5" away from that first line- that gives a 3/4" seam allowance on both the body and the boxing pieces.
I cut the boxing strip on that line; then I'll use a rotary cutter and straightedge to cut the other side of the boxing strip (not shown).  Regarding pattern centering: my concern is to center the pattern properly on the cushion body, not on the boxing strip.  The boxing strip is cut to allow the pattern to match and flow, and won't necessarily have a centered feature.  Perhaps there might be other situations where it would make more sense to work from the boxing, but in this case, I worked from the body.
I remove the first purple line with the eraser end of the marking pen.  NOTE:  always test your fabric first, to be sure the purple pen will erase from your fabric!
I turn the boxing strip over and mark a 3/4" line which will be the stitching line.
I crease along that line- I finger-pressed this particular fabric but you could use an iron if necessary.
I lay the boxing on the body, aligning the pattern.  (That top piece is the body- we're pretending that it's a normal size- it was cut small for this illustration.)
I fold the boxing back so the two pieces are right sides together.
Checking the pattern as I go, I pin frequently.
 At the sewing machine, I sew along the purple line which is also creased.
I check the pattern match before leaving the machine, in case any little sections need to be taken out and re-sewn, and then I press it open very very lightly.
And there you have it!  The bottom edge of the boxing will not match the other side of the body, unless you cut the body to match the boxing, in which case the pattern on the other side of the body will be upside down, and not be the same as the front, and also likely will not be centered.  You can do that if you wish if the pattern is not obviously directional and if it's aesthetically pleasing.