“Whether or not God has kissed your brow, you still have to work. Without learning and preparation, you won’t know how to harness the power of that kiss.”

Twyla Tharp

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Window Dressing

Literally, window dressing......

I was perfectly happy with no window treatments other than my fabric shades until I was just browsing for fabric in general and came across this Waverly fabric for $3 a yard. Needless to say, it couldn't stay there! It's a beautiful cotton, that has a sheen and slubs that make it look like silk. And the background sage/grey color was a perfect match for my bedroom. They only had 5+ yards, so I bought it all.

So, what to make? There were two things that I have been wanting to learn so this was a great opportunity. First up, I wanted to learn how to make a simple rod pocket lined drape with a header. And, second, I wanted to experiment with a banner treatment, done by covering a valance board and then attaching fabric with a staple gun and decorating.

I couldn't find everything I was looking for by way of instruction for the lined drape in one place so I compiled it from several. I'll caution that this is far from the only way to do it, and that my method has some short cuts in terms of machine vs hand sewing that would be a no-no to many. But, it made the job easier and in this particular case, didn't affect the final product.

First, I put up my rod, in this case a small metal circular rod with finials at either end. Measuring from the bottom of the rod to where I wanted the drape to end, I then added 6 inches for a 3 inch hem to be turned up twice. When measuring, consider that the tie backs will pull the fabric up so be generous. Additionally, I wanted a header over the rod pocket so I added another 10 1/2 inches and then cut my drapery fabric. My lining fabric was cut 4 inches narrower and 3 inches shorter than my drapery fabric. I turned up a 2 inch hem once and then again on the lining fabric and machine stitched. I then turned up a 3 inch hem twice on my drapery fabric and pinned. This would be hand stitched at the end. You can miter the corners on this -- it will be an uneven miter. I chose not to do that. I bound the small piece of fabric at the side edge with fabric.



I then put my drapery fabric down, right side up and my lining on top of it, right side down, lining up the top of the the lining hem with the top of the drape hem and matching the center of each. Pin the sides. Since the lining is 3 inches narrower, you will need to lift the drape fabric slightly to pin. Stitch at 1/2 inch and then turn right side out. Because of the narrow cut, the drapery fabric will pull to the inside in a nice edge on each side. Don't press, but just finger press to make the turn-in even on each side. Measure from the bottom of the drape and draw a pencil line on the lining where you want the rod to fall. Then, treating the lining and drapery fabric as one, fold over 1/2 inch for a clean edge and then fold over to meet the pencil line you just drew. Stitch very close to that line and then stitch again above it to accommodate the size rod you have chosen. Be generous when you do this so it will fall nicely and not be too tight.



Hand stitch your hem, hang and there you have it. You can make tie backs or use something else. I used a braiding that had all of the colors of the drapery fabric in it. An easy afternoon's work.


I only had 2 yards left for the window in the bath, but I had some beautiful silk that matched and I've been wanting to try a treatment affixed to a valance board. I wish I had taken pictures along the way, but it was quite simple. First, I had a 1 x 4 board cut to the width of window. I needed the 4" clearance but 3" may be fine in many cases. I then covered the board with my lining fabric as if I were wrapping a present, stapling it as I went along. For my banners I cut 1 triangle from my print fabric and 2 from my silk fabric, all cut on the fold. I then cut 3 more out of my lining fabric. Sew each of these right sides together, turn, and finger press. Machine baste lining and fabric together at the top edge. Position the triangles up on your valance board until they look good and staple gun neatly so nothing shows. Install with L brackets either into your wall or window.

Decorate with whatever you want. The fabric on these was so lush that I kept it simple -- covered buttons and tassles. If you were using cording or some other treatment, you would want to think ahead. Some may need to be incorporated prior to sewing the lining and fabric together. Instant gratification!

Since this was my first time, there were bound to be some errors. Next time, I will remember to keep in mind what is underneath my treatment. In this case, I should have made them a bit longer -- if you look to the right, you will see that part of the header on my shade is showing. Live and Learn!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Love Pocketbooks!

Okay, so handbags are one of my weaknesses and I've not fallen in love with one lately. So, I made up one that has been in my stash of patterns for a long time. I used the silk remnants that I talked about in my last post and Vogue 8590. I am pretty happy with the result. It's an interesting shape and was not too hard to make up.



I used the black silk for the sides, handles and lining. The inside has some nice features -- a two-sided pocket on one side, with one of them pleated for a cell phone. The other side has a nice zippered compartment and I used the plaid silk for the inside of that pocket.



The sides each have a pocket -- I love outside pockets for keys, glasses -- all the things that you can never find in your purse!


I used a woven interfacing and wasn't sure I was going to have enough structure, so I ended up interfacing all pieces, except for the ties. I'm happy I did that. It has structure, but not the stiffness of using something like craft interfacing. The bottom calls for a piece of cardboard or plastic canvas. I used the canvas, but used two pieces since I wanted the bottom to be a little firmer. If this still isn't firm enough to keep the bottom from sagging a bit when loaded with sundries, I may add timtex. I don't like when a fabric bag droops.

The ruching on the front and back ended up being easy to do. Below is a picture of it before ruching. You simply made a pocket by doing to rows of stitching, an inch apart. You insert the length of elastic and stitch in the ditch on each side of secure it and voila!



I haven't decided if the ruching is a bit too tight. I'll have to live with it for a while. If it is, I may make the elastic just slightly longer when I make it again.













Saturday, May 8, 2010

Various and Sundry

I've had a busy week and so have had no time to sew, but I did manage to squeeze in some reading and also some prep work so that I can sew next week. First, to the reading. I have been wanting this book for a while now. I have to tell you, it reads like a novel -- I love it! It is so well written. The first chapter is devoted to shirting fabrics -- what the various kinds are, where to buy them, how to prepare them for cutting and sewing, how to iron them. You can tell David Page Coffin loves his shirts and his fabric -- it just oozes through the pages. It is really a treat. He goes on to a chapter on tools, followed by construction, sewing and so on. He even goes into detail on how to cut with a rotary cutter, how to choose mats for cutting, his penchant for cotton embroidery thread for his shirts as well as plain bleached muslin for interfacing for collars and cuffs.

There is no detail too small and yet it is so readable that he makes even constructing the finest custom shirt seem doable. Have I said how much I love this book?? Definitely, a must have!


My next project is pocketbooks -- I've been wanting to make this for a while now. I'm making the small tote in the upper left hand corner and am going to make it in silk dupioni as shown in the picture.


I'm using the two fabrics in the first photo -- the plaid and solid black. All of the remnants are from a wonderful store in Hudson, MA called Artee Fabrics and Home. It is really custom home decorating fabric, but they have a large section that is remnants and they have a huge selection of silk remnants, both solid and striped. I am kicking myself for not picking up more. My camera isn't doing justice to the green stripe and the nutmeg is showing as more gray than brown. I will definitely be stopping back soon for more if these handbags make up nicely. I cut out my pattern pieces -- 34 pieces -- egad! Hope to sew next week.

And last amid my various and sundry. My kids have been out of the house for several years now and both of their bedrooms still looked as if they paid homage to them. I finally bit the bullet and made one of them my sewing room, with a futon for when my son stays over. I am so thrilled -- I have my ironing board, sewing machine, cutting table, bookcase, cubbies for notions,fabric closet, computer, place to sit and read and, of course, no sewing room is complete without G-d and two of his guards watching over you. My 30 year old son must be cringing that I have not only framed, but put on my blog his young art work!



The only thing that didn't fit into this room is my serger which lives in my daughter's room. No excuse not to sew!