Thursday, April 17, 2014

Multiple treatments for versatility

So many windows would benefit from multiple treatments.  You want light control, temperature moderation, sound insulation, and beauty. Throughout the day and the seasons your needs change; as many as three or four treatments on some windows would not be unrealistic, to achieve various combinations of sheer, semi-sheer, lined, or blackout layers. 

Anyhow, my clients needed two layers of treatments on their kitchen windows, and there was no room for a curtain layer, so we did two shades.  Underneath is a sheer linen relaxed roman shade, and on top a split roman, so they have multiple options for privacy and light control.
Both shades are trimmed with the sweetest most delicious grosgrain ribbon- REAL grosgrain, French, in subtle organic greens, from Hyman Hendler in NYC.

For the split romans, the grosgrain serves as binding.  Since it's tiny- just 7/8" to start then folded in half- the whole shade was basted together beforehand, to keep all the parts in place.  Sometimes you see buttons used to cinch the split  together, but here the ring tacks do the job.  This style can be dressed out, too, with a scrunchie effect between the cinches.  Plain white sateen is used in the pleat.  We chose not to add microcord at the pleat, instead letting the shadow of the meticulously trimmed seam allowance define the pleat line.
The ribbon on the undershade is aligned with the split in the roman shade.
Each shade is on its own board, and there is a linen valance on the window-side of the board to disguise the mechanisms from view from the outside.
There were so many ways to lay out the motifs on this Pierre Frey botannical print.  We wanted to lose as little pattern as possible, and didn't want both shades to be identical.  I took half a dozen photos along the lines of these with different layouts to choose from.  The goal was not so much centering as it was tonal balance.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Special touches.....

Layers of pattern distinguish this nursery: wallpaper, embroidered linen sheer, and embroidered silk.

London shades serve as toppers for operable linen sheer relaxed romans.
(Please note: after these photos were taken, hold-downs for the bead loop chains were installed!!!)
The subdued lighting created by the fabrics makes this room feel like the perfect place to escape the summer heat, with a book, some iced tea, and a few extra minutes for napping.
The next two photos are over-exposed, so the details are easier to see.
The double London shade on this short, wide window needed special attention to proportion.  
Because the windowss are next to the crib, extra steps were taken to ensure that the shades are ultra-safe.  Originally posted last June, you can read here about how we encased the cord in a sheer shroud that was fully sewn shut so there would be no possible way to reach the cords.
On the right, the angled ceiling cut into the board line, so we made an angled dustboard, naturally!

Another special touch was a little leaf applique from the linen sheer on the inside of the silk shade.  Chances are nobody will notice it, but I know it's there!
Since the sheer linen was unlined, the bottom rings were reinforced with a little scrap, to strengthen the fabric under the stitch.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Pleating to pattern

Pleating to pattern distinguishes the artisanal workroom from the commercial.
Whether pinch pleats or box pleats, draperies or cafe curtains, roman shades or valances, pleating to pattern takes more time and attention but yields a pleasing product.
Here are some favorite examples from our workroom.
Cafe curtain...... Possibly my all-time favorite example!
Goblet pleat drapery: every other pleat matches.
Classic French pleated draperies.
Box pleats!
Pleating to pattern is especially effective here.
Mock hobbled valances.
Hobbled shades.
Inverted pleat valances.
A little serendipity on this Sheffield- the pattern matches across the horn and scallop.
On this roman shade, every other pleat matches. 
A small motif but a big effect when pleated to pattern.
More French pleats.....
More box pleats......
And one more set of hobbled shades.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sheer shades make good window treatments great

These box pleated panels on boards were pretty effective as soon as they were installed........
Living room before sheers
......but when Liz at Paris Interiors added sheer roman shades, the room lost its sharp edges in the muted light.
Living room with sheers

Across the foyer, the dining room was similarly softened with an embroidered linen sheer.
                                      Dining room with shades  
Because the center shade was just wider than the fabric width, extra width was added using French seams that are as beautiful as the shade itself..... too bad they're hidden behind the panels!   The sheer shades, by the way, are all lined with batiste in winter white.

Pleating to pattern is equally important for draperies and shades. 

Living room with shades
Pleated panels with velcroed mounting strips
Velcroed boards shaped to fit bay angles

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Salvaging a disaster

We were asked to remake panels that had never been hung.  Unfortunately the workmanship had been so substandard that the homeowner kept them in her closet for several years.  She wanted to be able to use the Swedish Home cotton print since bedding and other items had also been made from it.

I salvaged what was usable of the main fabric, and Kim Freeman worked with the homeowner to choose a coordinating fabric and trim.  Samuel and Sons' amazing skinny lip cord in blue defined the line between the main fabric and the bias checked band.

The original curtains were ambitious, but much had gone wrong.   Banding around 3 sides was trimmed with lip cord with the lip removed and applied with visible hot-glue.  The mitered check did not match anywhere, and attempts at repairing it with hand-stitches were obvious.  The pleats were not sewn; a slip of buckram was tucked into the back with a single tack. Interlining had been roughly cut, unhemmed, and didn't reach the face fabric hemline, which, incidentally, was topstitched, unevenly.  The lining hem varied from 1" to 3" and was crooked.  Masking tape had been left on on the wrong side, and left orange stained stripes.  To top it off, one panel had been made upside down!

Once the panels had been dismantled and cut evenly, banding was needed to add to the length.  Skinny lip cord edged the top and bottom, between the face fabric and bias checked banding.

Two-finger pinch pleats are pleated to the check pattern, rather than the print, because the floral motifs were unevenly distributed across the width.  I love fat, interlined pinch pleats!  The pleats are tacked  invisibly, at the lip cord, with blue thread.

Underneath, an inside mount flat Roman shade, French blackout lined, is trimmed in the same lip cord and bias band.

In an adjacent bedroom, French blackout roman shades were made from ticking, also from Swedish Home.   Here Kim chose a horizontal striped banding for the bottom.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Silk mesh drapery

Mesh sheers, like this silk-trevira blend from Calvin Fabrics, make spectacular draperies.

The best way I've found to hem fabrics like this is a loose running stitch that picks up a small amount of the face.   The stitch blends in in the same direction of the weave instead of fighting it. 

Khaki chain weight was on backorder from Rowley so I dyed plain white for a very good match. 

For the doubled bottom hem, the decorator chose to leave the selvedge on to prevent fraying.
The weight was snaked through the bottom using a safety pin.

After some trial and error, I found that the best way to control the top was to sew the translucent buckram before making the double fold.  This worked beautifully since there was a line to follow.

Again, trial and error proved that you should NOT use straight pins to secure the header for pleating!- they get caught all over the place.  Safety pins were the answer.

These panels were top-tacked similarly to these which we made about three years ago.  (Yes I forgot to take a picture of the pleats this time.)  The pleat was sewn all the way across the top of the pleat, the only way to keep it all in order.  We tried a plain tack but the clear buckram just bulged out of place.