August 27, 2008

Happy Birthday to Bits and Pieces from the Sewing Room! Our newsletter is one year old and we have had a wonderful year.  It's been a pleasure to share some workroom secrets with you and get to know you better along the way. We love reading your feedback- so keep it coming. Looking forward to another great year together!

Table Talk


I was talking with a woman last week about "A" perfect table.  My table is 60" wide x 132" long.  I need 20" on the walk around sides at a minimum and the door has to be able to open. If I had the opportunity to have a 'perfect' work space, what would I want? My dream table would be 60" wide x 114" long.  I worked in a friend's space a while ago and her table is 60" x 108".  I was amazed by how many steps were saved that day! Just as a kitchen has an "efficiency triangle", I think a free standing, floating table can be the most efficient at 114".  When you need more length, an auxiliary table can be pulled up or extensions flipped up.  I can look at my work over the years and count the few times I really needed all the table I have.
My table top is ¾" cabinet grade plywood and has an extra ¾ x 2" under all 4 outside edges to keep the perimeter stable.  I put many coats of Verathane on the top. Next layer is Homosote board or sound board.  It comes in 48" x 96" sheets from stores like Home Depot or Lowes.  It looks like it is made from compressed recycled news paper. The seam placement is important.  I placed the first largest sheet so that my primary work area is seamless.  Then I cut and fitted as needed to get the entire top covered.  I was surprised how many screws it took to keep this stuff in place. Every 3 to 4" about 1" from the edge. (Every time I changed my canvas I kept adding screws!)
On top of the Homosote is a compressed poly fiber underlayment.  I got it from either Dofix or Rowley.  It is 3/8" thick and I have been using the same underlayment for at least 9 years. Table Canvas.  I get it at JoAnn's or Hancocks! I can get away with 60" wide canvas because I have edge rulers on my table.  I sew left over cuts of drapery lining onto the edges and staple the lining to the underside of  the table. The canvas is $5 or 6 a yard and much thinner than the 'good' table canvas at 25% the cost.  Why? I like a clean table.  Within 6 months, my table is looking well-used and since it is only $20 to replace it, I change it often.  When I had the 'good' stuff on the table, it was on for years and it did not make me happy.
Last but not least are Edge Rulers.  I took them off for about a year.  I had replaced the canvas and the old ones were nicked so I did not want to put them back on.  I must say, I am not efficient without the edge rulers.  Get them from Unique Expressions or Rowley Co.  The position of the ruler tape has 1" located about 5" from the end of the table so I can lay my straight edge across the table and have the space to iron Buckram or a top fold.
An efficient size work table can be the best investment you can make for a drapery workroom.  Bigger, in my opinion is not better.
The Pillow Lady, Chris Watt, is a professional fabricator of pillows and home decor items.  In the San Francisco bay area since 1976, she fabricates luxurious window treatments and over 300 pillows a year.  She has produced a collection of videos to guide novices and professionals alike through construction of various projects with proven time saving techniques. 
Sandy Gardner is a professional Home Stager and Redesigner.  Her company is Commonwealth Staging LLC in northern Virginia and serves Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.  Her workroom background allows her to bring a touch of custom to home staging. Visit her at
We hope you will enjoy getting to know us more as we get to know you.
Chris and Sandy