My home is my
FIRST AID in the workroom
spring clean your CURTAINS
LONDON design week spring 2018
real WORKROOM tour: sugar and spice
evolution of a DRAPERY designer
busFIRST AID in the workroom
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As a Mother, my relationship with my kids has evolved through the different phases of their lives. Over the past several months, I’ve been able to expand my businesses with some new and exciting ventures, and I wondered – is this due, in part, to where I am with my kids at this point? While considering this, I had the opportunity to participate in a Sew Much More Podcast with Ceil DiGuglielmo and some other entrepreneurial Moms, where we discussed choices we’d made for our families and our businesses in our pursuit of success. Since “success” is defined individually, our choices have also been unique.
During this period of self-reflection, I recalled a particular conversation with my daughter and the college application essay that she wrote about it (in 2011). As we approach Mothers Day, I wanted to share Cory's essay with you, with her permission, of course. Motherhood is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor, and it's nice to occasionally take time to appreciate the options we have, the resiliency of our kids, and the support of our colleagues in this industry.
I hope you enjoy Cory's perspective, and that you will join us for the Sew Much More "Opportunity Thinking" podcast on May 28th.
Jeanelle and Cory in Venice, 2017: six years post-essay
Corynne Dech, 2011 (Age 17)
My mother clutches her knees, tears streaming down her face faster than she can wipe them away. I sit across the room from her; a valley between two jersey-covered twin mattresses separates us, but I am unwilling to bridge the gap. “Am I a bad mother?” she asks in between sobs. I assure her that she is not, yet I admit that I would not have made the same decisions that she has made for our family. My mother possesses a kind of bravery that I will never have. While I require stability and reliability in my life, my mother craves the self-liberation of risk.
When I was born, my mother quit teaching to start her own interior design business. Eleven years later, my father retired from teaching to join her on another entrepreneurial adventure. They gathered investors and applied for loans in a makeshift office in the corner of their bedroom. A year later they opened the doors to Adaptive Textiles, a custom fabric printing operation. My younger brother and I spent countless hours in the big open warehouse that contained “Adaptive”. We invented our own entertainment; we built a fort, set up a street hockey rink in the parking lot, and played around on computer programs. Following encouragement from our mother, we started our own miniature business selling chips and candy to Adaptive’s four employees, but our commitment faded before “Snacks by Kids” made any profit.
My parents worked twelve-hour days, seven days a week, yet I failed to see any signs of success. I knew the cost of our groceries, our rent, and my private school education. I knew the financial burden of our car-sized DuPont Artistri printer, Adaptive’s star employee. But the profits slowly streaming into the business seemed too few to balance out the expenses. The business was stealing my parents away from our family and refused to give us anything in return. On several nights my brother and I waited nervously in the car as our parents stayed inside the building fighting. Ironically, most of their arguments were about the misallocation of their time and effort, and how the business was taking away from time spent as a family. I tried to comfort my brother, but mostly we sat in silence with confidence that eventually they would both emerge from the fluorescent cave still married. I believed that my parents thought, as I did, that starting the business was a mistake.
The summer before my senior year of high school my mother revealed to me that she was in fact happy. Teaching, for her, was a dead-end job with no opportunity for creativity or control. Owning Adaptive is her dream job. She is able to create a new product or advertising ploy and run with it, with no executive barriers, deadlines, or rules. Being her own boss allows her to decide what is important and what she should spend her time on. She is the master of her schedule, the driver of her own success. In my opinion, these benefits do not outweigh the stresses and unlimited time commitment associated with self-employment. Being raised by entrepreneurs has taught me with unbounded certainty that it is not the lifestyle for me. My mother thrives in high-pressure situations of uncertainty. I, contrastingly, think logically and methodically. My love of stability and order has drawn me to a career in mathematics, the epitome of permanence. My future career will be geared toward becoming the best at something I love, a stable and finite pursuit.
Through the business I have experienced my parents’ bravery and perseverance. I can now appreciate the freedom that self-employment has offered them, but also assert that my career plans run counter to theirs. I am thankful to Adaptive, my childhood enemy, for showing me a free but instable lifestyle solidifying my determination to pave the future I desire.
Mark your calendars for May 28th to catch the Sew Much More Opportunity Thinking Podcast, sponsored by the Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library.
by Jeanelle and Cory Dech
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This article first appeared in Morwenna's Blog, The Curtain Guru, which you can read here.
London’s Spring showcase for 2018 interiors was held at Chelsea Harbour Design Centre this March. Designers and manufacturers showed off their technical expertise in complex fabrics in uncompromising colour combinations. Here’s my insider report on style trends for Spring/Summer 2018.
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Trimmings of all kinds are back in vogue and very much in evidence, in styles both traditional and traditional-with-a-twist, with light-hearted pom-pom fringes everywhere.
Samuel & Sons (who won an Elle Deco Best in Show) substituted shells for pom-poms, and offer applied borders out of quilting, hide, open lacework, and felted applique.
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Fabrics are chubby, slubby, tweedy, felted, knitted – anything with a raised pile or complex surface texture like bouclé or moquette is good, preferably cut with a geometric design.
Florals are blowsy and decadent.
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Velvets have been back in favour for a while, so designers have gone the next step: Kirkby Design and Zinc Textiles pad and quilt their velvets, whereas Mark Alexander includes a subtle strie weave. Romo’s decorative velvets are a riot of colour and pattern. And even the new sheers and voiles manage to follow this theme of a very matt and slightly fuzzy surface texture.
The new wave of embroidered fabrics take their inspiration from botanical drawings or pressed flowers, such as this from Sanderson.
Tropical fun comes from Pepe Penalver, Casamance, and Colefax & Fowler with exotic brights – an unabashed fusion of Pacific, African, and South American influences, expressed either in a traditional 18th-century style or in a looser form reminiscent of 60s Hawaiian shirts.
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Colours for Spring/Summer 2018 are confident: lilacs and pinks teamed with strong greens of all kinds, especially teal and malachite, possibly with a touch of egg-yolk yellow. An almost-black anchors the look.
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Many showrooms feature furniture upholstered in that "right-down- the-middle" bottle green. A common mix is slate grey-blue with fennel green and indigo, set off with burnt orange or copper, either as a fabric or a metallic contrast.
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These combinations are balanced in interiors with white, or black-and-white elements – Abbot and Boyd fringe their olive green drapes with black. Turnell & Gigon’s set-piece for the show and Romo’s fabric display encapsulate this Spring/Summer 2018 colour palette, above.
Morwenna Brett ran a soft furnishings workshop in London for many years, before becoming a consultant in colour and design trends to the interiors industry in the UK. She’s on the teaching roster at KLC School of Design in Chelsea, London, tutoring both classroom and online students in interior design and textiles. Her first love has always been fabrics and drapes, and she recently decided to return to her curtain-making roots with a new blog THE CURTAIN GURU, devoted to all things to do with creating wonderful window treatments.
London Design Week
Spring 2018 Report
by Morwenna Brett
Let us know you saw us in the Drapery & Design Digital Digest and receive a coupon for 10% off
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Shades Cordless and motorized now available on select styles
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In the last issue, I shared some of my youthful attempts at fabricating window treatments. I made these before I had access to all the resources that are now so readily available to us. Through connections made on the Forum and at the CHF Conferences I gained a wealth of knowledge, inspiration, and confidence to tackle the living and dining rooms of my 1852 Italianate home.
In a Pennsylvania city whose founding predated the founding of the United States by six years, a house built in 1852 is not news. But the house does have National Register provenance as the only documented site of Underground Railroad activity in Monongahela, and it serves not only as our home but as my “design incubator"; a place where I can indulge my decorating fancies and entice customers with the excitement of window treatments.
In 2014, I was finally ready to replace the beautiful Jay Yang panels that had been on the windows for nearly 20 years. I had purchased a little booklet of French display cards of the late 1800’s about ten years earlier, and it was here I found inspiration for my living room and dining room. The images in this booklet had been hand-tinted and, in some instances, included cutting diagrams with the designs. For this project, I wanted to be as historically accurate as possible, and that meant using old-fashioned cutting and fitting methods as well.
The Dining Room
Here’s the original window illustration. I didn’t make too many changes except to shorten the pelmet and jabots and lengthen the swags. The swags and jabots are solid color silk which corresponds to the green and gold brocade in the panels and pelmet. The job was relatively straight-forward, and the pelmets are wood - padded and covered.
With the high relief ceiling tiles and glazed embossed wallcovering, I needed just a little bit of bling on the windows. I achieved this with micro-cording and gold pearl trim on the swags and around the pelmet.
I think we do exceptional work when we are inspired by the project. Sometimes the space or the fabrics inspire us, other times our inspiration can be in the form of a musical refrain, a remembered scent, or a cherished tradition. This room came together over the years from various sources. I bought a whole bolt of the brocade about ten years ago, knowing that I was going to do “something” with it in my house. It sat under my cutting table all those years as the ideas percolated. The urn wallpaper border was a find at a wallpaper closeout sale even longer ago. I loved the classicism of the urns and the laurel wreaths and was sure it would fit here someday. The catalyst for the room’s design, however, was our annual reading of “The Christmas Carol” and the description of the room where Scrooge finds the Ghost of Christmas Present:
"It was his own room. There was no doubt about that. But it had undergone a surprising transformation. The walls and ceiling were so hung with living green, that it looked a perfect grove; from every part of which, bright gleaming berries glistened. The crisp leaves of holly, mistletoe, and ivy reflected back the light, as if so many little mirrors had been scattered there; and such a mighty blaze went roaring up the chimney, as that dull petrification of a hearth had never known in Scrooge's time, or Marley's, or for many and many a winter season gone. Heaped up on the floor, to form a kind of throne, were turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, great joints of meat, sucking-pigs, long wreaths of sausages, mince-pies, plum-puddings, barrels of oysters, red-hot chestnuts, cherry-cheeked apples, juicy oranges, luscious pears, immense twelfth-cakes, and seething bowls of punch, that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam. In easy state upon this couch, there sat a jolly Giant, glorious to see; who bore a glowing torch, in shape not unlike Plenty's horn, and held it up, high up, to shed its light on Scrooge, as he came peeping round the door. 'Come in.' exclaimed the Ghost. 'Come in. and know me better, man.'"
- A Christmas Carol, Stave 3: The Second of the Three Spirits
I wanted our dining room to evoke those sentiments in our guests. I wanted our guests to come in and know us better.
The Living Room
Abraham Lincoln famously said that a lawyer who represented himself had a fool for a client. I’m not sure that applies to us when sewing for our own homes, but I know if I had myself as a client I would add a significant PITA charge to my bill! I obsessed over the construction methods, the cost, and the appearance of these treatments in the front parlor. Ultimately, I let the fabricator in me take over and work out the details one step at a time.
These windows received loads of hot afternoon sun and were right at street level, so the first consideration was privacy and sun control. Initially, I fabricated cordless romans using the CK lift system. They fit inside the frames and kept the glare at bay. But the putty-colored lining faded to dull white very quickly. Because of our proximity to the sidewalk, I was not pleased with the outside appearance of the romans, so I added a striped sheer “glass curtain” behind the roman. It adds another layer of insulation to the window and looks more finished to the street.
The beautiful embroidered net curtains are inside mounted over the gold romans. They are actually ready-made panels which I bought at a trade show. I hemmed the tops to fit inside the window frame.
We now had three curtain layers inside mounted and were ready to tackle the large, showpiece design.
Here is the original design from the French pattern book, and the bonus page of cutting layouts for this treatment. I copied the design pretty faithfully and used drapery hardware I had in my workroom. Note the cutting diagram, however. The top, tied back part of the panel is cut and mounted separately from the bottom portion. I made several muslin mockups so I could get the proportions right. The bottom halves of the panels are basically very long bells.
I’m not sure how the original design was mounted, but I chose to build the entire treatment on a modified lambrequin. I constructed a frame with very long legs from 1x6’s. I attached a 10” Firmaflex strip across the front of the frame and covered it all in lining fabric. I covered the Firmaflex in gold fabric. This structure would become the mounting board for all parts of the treatments.
The center swag was stapled onto the board first. The panel tops were then pleated in place and stapled on the board on either side of the center swag. The panel tops were dressed around the legs, and small, unobtrusive staples held them in place on the returns. Then the bottoms of these upper panels were pleated and stitched in place, and the folds were dressed.
I covered the metal rods with fabric and attached them to the top of the cornice box with bicycle hardware, spray painted matte bronze. I draped the swags and jabots over the poles, and a decorative fabric “scrunchie” and Velcro hold the center jabot in place on the rod.
As mentioned before, the lower panels were fabricated as elongated bells. The points were to extend to the floor, but I ran out of fabric for the pattern match. Mounting them to stop just below the window sills looked unfinished and out of proportion. There was no more brocade to be found (remember, I had been hoarding it for 10+ years!) so I created pencil pleat panels to sit behind the elongated bells. (The client – me – readily agreed to this solution.)
I attached 6x8” blocks to the face of the legs with angle irons. I stapled the pencil pleat panels to the top of the blocks and then pleated and stapled the long bells in front of the panels. All of this is hidden under the swag of the upper panels. Large medallions were fashioned out of the brocade, brush fringe, and covered buttons to complete the treatment.
My home continues to serve as my design incubator – a place where ideas and techniques can percolate. It also serves to attract clients who appreciate my skills. Several clients have chosen window treatments for their own homes based on something they saw on my windows. My work evolves with each new client, and I continue to learn with each new project. And I’m still pretty proud of that terrycloth shower curtain!
Judy Soccio is an award-winning window treatment specialist. Her company, Judy Soccio Designs, provides in-home consultation and full service design, fabrication and installation of window treatments with an emphasis on the vintage home.
Her work has been published in local, trade and national shelter magazines and she has written for Victorian Homes, Arts & Crafts Home and the Revival, WF Visions, and Drapery & Design Professional Magazine.
In addition to her daily adventures in the drapery trade, Judy is a frequent presenter at design schools and consumer events where she speaks on a variety of window treatment and self-promotion topics.
The Evolution of a Drapery Designer, Part 2 by Judy Soccio
has developed a blackout lining that helps KILL PIN HOLES!
Our NEW Silky Duette Blackout is our Soft Suede face with a polyester batting on the back. The poly batting helps absorb the thread and block the light from streaming through the pin holes after fabricating your custom window treatments.
This NEW blackout also has a one-inch section all the way down one side of the lining where the poly batting is not bonded to the face so when you are fabricating multiple width panels you can easily slice off the one inch of batting without having a bump in the seam!
It is absolutely worth your while to try this new blackout because it does work!
BELLA NOTTE, ‘SILKY’ DUETTE BLACKOUT. 54’’ WIDE. 100% MICRO SUEDE POLYESTER. WHITE & PALE IVORY. AVERAGE 30 YARDS PER BOLT.
Planning for Ribbon Miters
by Jill Ragan Scully
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You will need:
Grosgrain ribbon (any width)
Glass head pins
Rowley fringe adhesive or Dofix iron on tape
Ribbons and decorative tapes have many uses in the soft furnishings world. They can be used to create a wide variety of designs on our projects or add a punch of color to an otherwise dull fabric. I am a big fan of grosgrain ribbon which I have used in many projects. It comes in hundreds of colors and widths, and with a little creativity, it can be used in numerous ways. As a beginner, working with ribbons might be challenging. However, the ribbon miter has opened up a new world of creativity for me; I hope it will work for you as well.
Lay your ribbon out straight on your project or gridded table. In this illustration, I am using a finished pillow.
As you work your way around the perimeter of the pillow use your l square to keep the miter perfectly straight and fold the ribbon at a 45-degree angle. Use glass head pins to hold in place.
After you are satisfied with the miter and the pins are secure, bring your ribbon back towards you and down toward the next corner to finish creating your first of four mitered corners on your pillow.
Pin to hold in place.
Press over pins. It is important to use glass head pins, so the heads of your pins do not melt.
Repeat around the pillow.
After you have pressed all of the miters I suggest using a little Rowley fringe adhesive or Dofix iron on tape to hold the shape in place as you stitch to keep your design permanently in place.
Jill Ragan Scully
Working as an interior designer, drapery workroom, and upholsterer for over 20 years, Jill has a strong passion for the soft furnishings industry. This diverse skill set is apparent in each room she designs for her clients. Recognizing a need for increased accessibility to a wider variety of products and services for her colleagues, Jill recently founded My Designer Concierge, a virtual design showroom and social media management company to the trade.
YOUR SOURCE for industrial sewing machines, parts & accessories!
New, Used, and Rebuilt Sewing Machines
138 Klein Drive, Salem, NH 03079
The Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library presents Linda Erlam for this CIRCLE TIME broadcast on Measuring.
Whether we like it or not, we measure everything. We measure our productivity, our profit, the time it takes to make a cushion, and how wide is that window. What we measure - and how we measure - affects every aspect of our business. In this CIRCLE TIME we will look at the physical measuring we do, the tools we need, how to use those tools, and some innovations in measuring. Linda will cover:
What we measure
Why we measure
How to measure
The importance of accurate measurements
The tools needed to measure, and
The measuring toolbox
Join today as a PRO Member to participate in this, and future, CIRCLE TIME events. Already a PRO Member? Check your email for an invitation or go to the Library Events Calendar to register.
Visit the Library at www.curtainsandsoftfurnishingspro.org
All CIRCLE TIME broadcasts are recorded for on-demand viewing by PRO Level library members.
CIRCLE TIME at the Library:
May 15, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. EST
Real Workroom Tour:
Sugar & Spice Draperies and Shades
Terri Booser and Rachel Barrera
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This is a must-see Real Workroom tour! Rachel and Terri have more space than many of us, nevertheless many of their ideas can be adapted for use in smaller workrooms. Watch the video to see how they increase their tabling space to handle multiple widths for multi-story panels; how they use organza for easy sliding of projects and to protect their table grids; and how their rolling cart easily moves projects from machine to machine.
Terri and Rachel also share how they divide responsibilities in their two-person workroom to leverage their talents and increase efficiency.
Rachel Barrera has been in the custom soft furnishings industry for 14 years. From 2000 to 2016 she owned Shorty’s Window, designing and fabricating window treatments primarily for retail clients. Her passion for her craft and industry is evident through the offices she serves. She has been President of The Houston Area Custom Drapery Association (HACDA) since 2012 and President of the Houston Chapter of The Window Coverings Association of America since 2016.
Terri Booser has been in the custom soft furnishings industry for 26 years. From 1990 to 2012 she owned An Interior Stitch, a custom workroom in Wattsburg, PA, catering to long distance design accounts across the country. Terri was very active with the Custom Home Furnishings Academy since 2005 as a conference speaker, Career Professional Instructor, Curriculum Director, and Executive Director; as well as a past partial owner of the CHF Academy, LLC.
Terri and Rachel met in 2013 and began collaborating and sharing work shortly after. They combined their businesses to form Sugar & Spice Draperies and Shades, LLC. With their extensive knowledge, experience, and talents, they've created a dynamic duo for design and fabrication of unique and highly crafted window treatments throughout the Metropolitan Houston area.
If you enjoyed this Real Workroom tour, visit
The Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library
For 110 years, Kirsch has set the standard for style and design in drapery hardware, combining colors and materials to highlight and accentuate any window. The new Buckingham® Collection builds on this tradition and expands the offering to give designers, decorators, and consumers even more choices to make the perfect complement to their soft treatments.
New program highlights include:
New 1 3/8” Finials – 16 new finials at a smaller diameter to better fit medium-sized windows.
Three new 1 3/8” end caps – additional choices for finishing poles in corners or tight spaces.
Two new finishes – Ash and Cottage White. Ash brings out the finer points of the finial with a beautiful taupe glaze, while Cottage White has a gorgeous gray wash to highlight the details in each style. These new colors are available in all Buckingham® products.
Three new 3” finials – new selections in our largest size.
·Three new 3” end caps – to give more options in this very popular style.
The Buckingham® Collection now has a complete line of 1 3/8”, 2”, and 3” finials and end caps. Each size comes with coordinating poles, rings, brackets and accessories. As you may know, the Buckingham® Collection is hand crafted in High Point, North Carolina. Our launch kit pays homage to this heritage as we highlight the effort of American workers to imagine, design, and develop the next generation of this collection. The process starts with skilled professionals hand carving wood models for each individual part. When models are complete and approved, the mold is created and first articles are made. Then the process of hand finishing begins to get the perfect combination of colors to accentuate the details in each piece. We hope you enjoy the new additions to The Buckingham® Collection from Kirsch!
Scroll down to learn more about the latest additions to the Buckingham Collection
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Volume 2012, Issue 6
How to Spring Clean Your Curtains
by Penny Bruce
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This article first appeared as a post in Penny's blog, A Curtain Maker's Blog, which you can read here.
As the sun is finally streaming in through our windows, the trees are sprouting blossom and the evenings are lighter for longer, lots of us will be beginning the yearly process of Spring cleaning.
For me there’s nothing more cathartic than a good clean up, sort out, and re-organization of my home to ready for the Spring and Summer months.
One part of Spring cleaning which is often overlooked, however, is curtains!
They’re open in the daytime, in the low light in the evening, and closed at night, so we often don’t notice the state of our curtains, or when they might be in need of some TLC.
If you look closely – particularly in the Spring sunlight - you’ll notice your curtains may be dusty and dirty, especially if you have pets at home. If this is the case, let me give you some advice for cleaning them safely, without damaging them or needing to pay a huge dry cleaning bill.
HOW TO SPRING-CLEAN YOUR CURTAINS
Firstly, it is a good idea to vacuum your curtains once a month if possible. When vacuuming your curtains place a soft muslin cloth or pop sock over the end of the vacuum cleaner nozzle. Try to ensure you get into all the folds and pleats in the headings and remember to vacuum the back as well, especially if you have pets as they often brush against the backs of curtains when climbing across window sills.
Give the curtains a good shake and then dress them back into their folds; this will prevent staining/marks, dust and pet hair build up, and will help to keep the fabric fresh and in good condition.
At least once per year (springtime is as good a time as any!) take the curtains down and brush them with a soft brush. You should then hang them outside for a few hours if possible. Some fresh air and a little sunshine will air out and breath new life into your window treatment.
While the curtains are being aired, it’s a good time to give the track a thorough clean. Using a damp cloth clean the whole track, and then use a small spray of silicon to ensure your track will continue to run smoothly for another year. Metal curtain poles will just need a light dusting as most of them have a lacquered finish. Finally, wooden curtain poles can be cleaned with a little wooden spray polish and a clean cloth.
Now it is time to re-hang your curtains. Dress the curtains into their folds and leave drawn back for 24 hours if possible. This will ensure they settle back into their desired position.
If you keep up monthly vacuuming followed by a yearly brush and airing, you should keep your curtains looking fabulous for many years.
PROFESSIONAL CURTAIN CLEANING ADVICE
Here at Denton Drapes, we do not recommend that you send your curtains to a dry cleaner. However, if you do decide to send them for a heavy-duty clean, there are some precautions you can take to protect your curtains.
Professional ‘dry cleaning’ services actually immerse fabric into a drum of cleaning fluid, and so the process is rarely ‘dry’ – any immersion into liquid like this can be problematic with fabrics and could change their appearance and/or dimensions.
With this in mind, it is recommended that you tack around the edges and hems of your interlined curtains before you send them to be cleaned. This will help to stop the interlining moving/shrinking out of the turnings. It may seem bothersome, but far less so than having to repair damage or replace whole window dressings!
If your curtains have pin hooks these should be removed before cleaning, however, if you have hand sewn hooks in your curtains, which cannot be removed, then you should fold down the heading and tack it securely with the hooks on the inside. If you have a tape heading, let out the cords, ensuring there is a firm knot at the end, so that they cannot disappear.
We recommend that you measure your curtains before you take them down and ensure that you write the measurements onto the order form at the cleaning specialists: this will ensure you can prove any shrinkage should the worst happen, and will mean the dry cleaner can check against your measurements.
When you get the curtains back from the cleaners, you should re-hang them, draw them closed and keep them closed for 12 hours with some ventilation, this should ensure all remaining solvent evaporates quickly.
Finally, draw them open and dress into folds, tie back with cord/plastic/tie backs and leave to set in folds.
If a spillage or accident should happen (such as red wine), then it is vital that you clean the stain immediately to prevent the stain spreading and/or setting. If the lining is not stained, then you should undo the sides and pin them up out of the way while you deal with the body of the stain using your preferred stain removal technique.
TOP STAIN REMOVAL TIPS:
– Lipstick can often be removed with a baby wipe or makeup remover pad.
– Small blood stains can be removed with saliva. Treat the stain as soon as possible by depositing a little saliva onto a clean cotton cloth and dab at the stain gently.
Good luck with your Spring cleaning and long may your beautiful handmade interlined curtains last!
PRO Library Members can contact converse with Penny her Forum, Ask Penny from Over the Pond, within the Conversations & Support area of the Library. Post your discussion items any time, but Penny will monitor the topics from 2-4 pm EST (7-9 pm in the UK!).
Denton Drapes is a custom workroom located in Bedfordshire, England in the United Kingdom who specialise in creating luxurious bespoke curtains, blinds and soft furnishings designed and handsewn to the highest quality. Penny Bruce established the business in 1998 and has grown it into a highly regarded industry brand serving the luxury residential market. Penny is a Director and Fellow of the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers and is a champion of traditional hand sewing techniques providing inspiration and advice to workroom professionals through hands-on training and on social media. Penny is a contributing partner of the Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library.
Discover the fresh Graber® Wood and Faux Wood program. This exciting collection showcases a stylish, updated color palette, wood verticals, and updated valance options.
Graber only uses the finest materials to create wood blinds distinguished by their high level of craftsmanship.
You can select your blinds from a diverse and refined color palette to create an aesthetic that mirrors your personal taste with the NEW Custom Color Program; your choices are endless!
Branding Your Business
by Libby Huber
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The interior marketplace is competitive. Upholsterers, workrooms, and designers vie for the same consumer dollars in a crowded industry where brand loyalty is fleeting, and brand awareness is minimal. One way to stand out? By offering your own fabric brand. The benefits of creating your own private label are many, but are here are some of the most compelling justifications:
1. To Elevate Your Brand.
2. To Pad Your Profits.
3. To Give You More Control.
4. To Foster Brand Loyalty.
Interested in getting started? Partner with Charlotte Fabrics today by following the simple steps below.
First, become a Charlotte Fabrics Dealer by contacting us today, either by phone, email, or online:
Phone: 800.328.5224 ext 246
Then, visit charlotteprivatelabel.com.
Upload your brand logo or type in your business name.
Select the sample books you want.
One click, and we'll ship! Sit back and relax knowing your books will be arriving shortly.
Still not convinced? Read on for the four ways private label fabrics can positively impact your bottom line.
1. Private Label Fabrics Elevate Your Brand.
People respond to brands. Help them choose yours by offering fabrics that set your business apart. A distinct line of fabrics will communicate your unique design point-of-view to potential customers. Each time you take a sample book off the shelf or pull out a memo sample, you'll be reinforcing your own brand – not representing someone else's.
2. Private Label Fabrics Pad Your Profits.
By setting the prices of your fabric collection, you'll fairly pad your profits with every project. Furthermore, the direct-to-consumer model of a private label program creates lower wholesale costs. Even if you do decide to do a markup, your fabrics will remain highly competitive when stacked up against the sample books of competing businesses.
3. Private Label Fabrics Give You More Control.
Projects are a moving target. Orders can be delayed, prices can be increased, and fabric dye lots can come in wrong. By specifying your own sample books with your own name on them, your business will gain control over the uncontrollable nature of the design industry. You'll always know the price of each item, and you'll be notified directly of discontinued items or price changes. Rest easy when working on quick-turn projects knowing that after your order is placed, the fabric will leave the warehouse within just one business day. By partnering with a trusted fabric wholesaler like Charlotte Fabrics who prides themselves on quick-turn shipping, fair prices, and an "always-in-stock" mentality, projects will become easier, and your business will run smoother.
4. Private Label Fabrics Create Brand Loyalty.
With your own line of specialty fabrics, you'll be offering something unique that cannot be found anywhere else, creating a competitive advantage and encouraging repeat customers for your business. With over 7,000 fabrics to choose from and new sample books added four times per year, there will never be any shortage of new and compelling designs to offer your guests. By creating your own private label, all fabrics will be listed under your own brand and unique SKU. This keeps wholesale and sourcing information private, resulting in a reduction of comparison shopping.
Libby Huber is the Director of Marketing & Communications at Charlotte Fabrics. Prior to joining the family at Charlotte, Libby studied marketing as well as Interior Design at the University of Minnesota. Charlotte Fabrics is a third-generation, family-owned business that has been selling designer-quality fabrics to the trade with care since 1952. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and with sales reps located across the country, Charlotte Fabrics is a nation-leading fabric brand poised for growth and dedicated to serving their network of customers with speed, fairness, and agility.
Become a Charlotte Fabrics Dealer and
Develop Your Own Brand in just Five Minutes
Phone: 800.328.5224 x246
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How many times have you pricked your finger with a pin or needle, sewed through a finger, or stapled your finger to a mount board? Pins, needles, scissors, seam rippers, tag guns, screw drivers, staple removers - these are all helpful workroom tools. They are also sharp, pointy things that can cause cuts and puncture wounds when we get distracted or careless, or work in the “mistake zone” (rushing, tired, hungry...)
Some wounds are small and subtle, only noticed after seeing dots of blood the client’s fabric. Others are more substantial - stopping you in your tracks and holding the injured finger while gathering the courage to look to see how severe the wound is. In most cases, we merely want to cover the wound, clean the fabric if necessary, and get back to work. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has grabbed a piece of paper towel or a scrap of interlining, put that on the cut and wrapped masking tape around it.
If you take a few extra minutes and treat the wound correctly, however, you will help it to heal more quickly and minimize the risk of infection. For minor injuries, wash the area with soap and water or a cleansing wipe, dab on antibiotic ointment, and cover with a bandage. Check frequently to be sure that the bleeding has stopped and there is no sign of infection. For a more extensive wound, you may need to apply direct pressure for a while to stop the bleeding. This would also be a good time to check to see if you need a tetanus shot. Tetanus boosters are good for ten years. If the wound is dirty or you are unsure, a booster is recommended if it’s been five years since your last one.
Some days I’m more accident prone than others and one peek in the garbage can at the number of bandage wrappers will tell you what kind of day it’s been! Because of this, I keep a stocked first aid kit in both my workroom and my installation toolbox. Following is a list of essential items and other good things to have on hand:
regular bandages (I like the flexible cloth type ones, they tend to stay on longer)
fingertip and knuckle bandages: these are shaped to stay on these hard to wrap areas. (regular bandages can also be modified to fit fingertips and knuckles)
butterfly bandages: used to seal a cut that is relatively small but deep, it goes on the skin on each side of the cut. If used correctly, they may be able to take the place of stitches - depending on the cut.
antiseptic/cleaning wipes or alcohol swabs
liquid bandage: many brands available. This is useful for areas which are hard to cover with a bandage.
skin crack care: similar to liquid bandage but has healing ingredients that help dry, cracked skin. Great for those who live in cold, dry regions.
hydrogen peroxide: good for cleaning your wound AND getting the blood off of fabric. (be sure to test it on an inconspicuous spot on the fabric first!)
cotton balls: to apply the hydrogen peroxide
gloves: to protect you while helping others
contact lens/saline solution: for blood on fabric - the salt helps remove the protein in the blood that causes the stain.
Laura Nelson has over 20 years of experience as a professional workroom owner, specializing in soft and hard window treatments and slipcovers. She has had many workroom related injuries, including but not limited to: gouges, puncture wounds, cuts and a sprained ankle. She is a member of WCAA and is currently the Vice President of the Indiana Chapter. Sew Nice is a Certified Window Treatment Workroom and Woman Owned Business Entity with the State of Indiana.
To Your Health:
Workroom First Aid
by Laura Nelson
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Cynthia Bleskachek of The Funky Little Chair, explains how she uses Pli-Grip Strip, aka that "metal, bendy stuff" to work around tricky curves in upholstery. Watch her demonstrate this modern, and often quicker, alternative to hand-stitching.
Click here to shop for Cynthia's recommended brand.
Cynthia Bleskachek has been doing upholstery professionally since 2001 – before that, she grew up making buttons and pulling staples in her mom’s home upholstery shop. Her journey has cultivated a deep love, and appreciation for the character, and quality of older furniture – in a market overwhelmed by disposable options, re-upholstery provides a viable alternative.
The Funky Little Chair began as a Facebook blog of sorts, sharing bits of education from whatever project was on the “horses” in the upholstery shop. Now in St. Paul, MN, Cynthia provides upholstery services, as well as hands-on education for students of every level.
Cynthia is an instructor at Workroom Tech in Tryon, NC, has an online class available through Craftsy.com, and was a featured presenter at the 2015 Minneapolis Junk Bonanza, with TV appearances on Kare 11 and Fox 9. She is a member of the Professional Upholstery Association of Minnesota and currently serves as chair of their education committee.
Pli-Grip Strip on Upholstered Wing Chair
by Cynthia Bleskachek
We are pleased to announce WCMA awards for two products: Design Art Crystal on Iron Rods, and Iron Facia for Motorized and Manual Traversing Tracks.
Design Art Crystal on Iron Rods has won WCMA's 2017 Best Style Concept. It features five styles of beautiful 24% lead hand-cut crystal. Each comes with a standard base, but may be paired with Petite, Classic or Sculpted decorative bases. Brass hardware may be left unpainted to match gold tones, painted silver to match silver tones, or painted to match the pole finish. Every piece is hand-painted in 58 Décor Finishes or your own custom finish. Sculpted bases are also available in the Dual Finish System with 11 Accent Finishes.
Iron Facia for Motorized and Manual Traversing Tracks has won WCMA's 2017 Best Technical Innovation. Orion’s traversing systems come with many great features, plus plenty of options to choose from. Traversing collections are available in iron, wood, and lightweight embossed metal designs, in over 100 finishes and over 200 different finial styles. When using our traversing systems, draperies will open and close more easily than traditional rod and ring combinations, reducing wear and tear to keep them looking beautiful. Use them manually with cords or batons, or combine them with Somfy Motorization for smooth, quiet, and powerful motor operation. Heavy-duty single or double track systems are available up to 30 feet in length, are easy to use, and allow for a wide range of drapery styles. With so many options to choose from, you’re sure to create that perfect design!
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This article originally appeared in Michele's blog which you can read here.
Whether for reassurance, enlightenment, or understanding, we’re all seeking answers. We hold within us unspoken questions that drive our behaviors, and in business, these internal questions often relate to our ability, self-esteem, and aptitude.
It’s perfectly okay to question ourselves, and many times we perform better because we analyze our actions. However, when the questioning undermines your efforts, then it’s time to recognize and manage this behavior.
There’s an age-old dialogue between parent and child in which the child says, “But mom, you’re never afraid! I wish I could be as brave as you.” In response, the sage mother whispers back, “I’m often scared; I just don’t let that stop me. True bravery is when you are afraid, but you keep going anyways.”
In a similar vein, the questions that undermine our business selves tend to hinge on our fears. While fear is a healthy emotion to feel and often motivates us, we also need to recognize when to heed our fears and when to just keep going.
It’s difficult because some components of fear are not within our control. When we’re afraid, there are physiological reactions that happen automatically. Our bodies develop a heightened awareness, and we become acutely in tune with our surroundings. Fear is a built-in caution device that keeps us safe. Have you heard of fight or flight? Fear causes us to either slow down and go with caution (stay and fight), or run like wild and get outta there (flight).
So what are we afraid of in business? How does this translate? Well, it’s not usually an external fear that causes us to flee or fight—it’s the internal fears that make us give up, quit, and head for the hills. Those questions about ourselves that undermine our business come from this place of inner fear. Therefore, when we can figure out the inner workings of our internal fears, then we are more likely to keep going.
It may seem counter-intuitive that we create our own business opportunities and yet we are our own worst enemy. Why would we ever get in our own way and stop ourselves? We’ve worked so hard to create this business. Wouldn’t you expect yourself to just push and push and push?
Not so much—there’s some psychology at work as well. Sometimes, we don’t listen to our instincts because our emotions crowd out these truth signals. Instead of hearing the message from our gut, we’re getting interference from our emotions, obscuring the real drive behind our actions.
Once your motives become cloudy, disrupted by emotion, then it’s even harder to make good decisions, calculate the odds, and plan for the future. You’ve lost the ability to filter your emotions out of your business.
But never fear, a solution is here! There are ways to access those inner fears, bring them into the light, and vanquish them. Through a few coaching techniques, you can dissect these fears and figure out why you’re sabotaging your own success.
Let’s face the fear together! Download my free worksheet, Your First Step To Success, and we will tackle this process– how to harness your fears and reign in the doubts, keeping yourself ahead in the race.
Michele Williams is fiercely committed to guiding creative business owners in the understanding of complex business concepts and processes in a simplified way and helping them to be profitable at the same time.
Michele is the owner of The Scarlet Thread. She owns a drapery workroom as well as a strategic coaching business. Michele is a Profit First Certified Coach, and she is the president of the National WCAA and a member of the Atlanta and Virtual chapters of WCAA. Michele is also a member of WFCP, Design Collective, NAPW, and Designers’ Workroom Council. For more information go to www.scarletthreadconsulting.com .
How to Recognize and Manage Your Fears
by Michele Williams
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The Drapery & Design Digital Digest is a collaborative effort between the Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library and My Designer Concierge. Together, our mission is to showcase the outstanding work of custom home furnishings professionals, spotlight quality products, and share educational resources.
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May 2018 photo credits
Cover photo : Artisan's Project "Shades of Sea" creation by Jodi Stanford, Jodi's Window Fashions
Morwenna Brett, The Curtain Guru
Judy Soccio, Judy Soccio Designs
Penny Bruce, Denton Drapes
Liz Kelly, The Workroom Channel
Jeanelle Dech, Curtains & Soft Furnshings Resource Library
Jill Ragan Scully, My Designer Concierge
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