March 26, 2008

This week we're having a little fun- a tongue in cheek response to a subscriber's question- Hope you like it!
Happy April Fool's Day!

Window Dressing

Hi Chris,

I enjoy your newsletter and its sewing tips. May I suggest a future topic?? I would like to know how to professionally "dress" pinch pleated draperies once they are hung. How do I get a knife-edge on the pleat finger and what do you do to train the vertical pleats in the fabric. I recently took a course on drapery fabrication but the actual installation particulars were not covered. I would love to see a CD or newsletter on this topic.

Linda E.

First the tongue in cheek part, while in Houston at the Custom Sewing Institute Creative Camp, we met many wonderfully talented people including Carla Swallow. Carla owns Carla's Interior Creations, a workroom in Allen, Texas. She showed us a different take on "dressing swags".

A fabric and interior design store near her asked her to drape their statues for their grand re-opening. She "dressed" the statue in swags, jabots, and every manner of ornamentation. It is truly a work of art. One of the statues sold and now stands in a very elegant dining room and the other is a conversation piece at the store.


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Check out the back!

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And yes- she has a sister.....

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I hope you enjoyed that as much as we did. Now for the answer to Linda's question.

I need to explain my fabrication method a bit so you understand why I do very little "dressing" at an installation. I learned this technique at a conference many years ago.

First, once I have my pleating planned, I flip the bottom up and use pins to mark, on the bottom hem, where the center of each pleat will be.

Second, sew in the pleats.

Third, fan-fold the panel. Placing the center of the pleat next to the edge of the table and clamping with a pistol grip clamp at the top then going to the bottom and finding the first pin, give the panel a tug and the fold almost finds itself. While at the bottom edge, find the second pin, clamp it on top of the first pin and move to the top. Work top and bottom, bottom and top until the panel is completed. It is easier and faster when it can be flat folded and tied before the pleat is tacked.

Fourth, I loosely tie in about 4 place using selvage scraps. My favorite is from blackout-lining because it will not leave any lint on the panel.

Fifth, put the hanger on the panel now before you move it from the table.

Sixth, sew in the tacks

Seventh. Bag

I carry a Jiffy Steamer in my install equipment and have a backup steamer in the storage are of my vehicle. Once the draperies are hung, usually I need only run the steamer over the front edge of the panel to minimize the crease. I keep a pretty piece of ribbon tied to the steamer cord and extension cord so it stays on the cord 100% of the time and is there to encourage me to wind up the cords before I put it away.

Hope this helps make your next installation a little bit easier!