This week’s challenge

I have an order for a bedroom drapery to cover an eight foot wall and a box pleated valance for the dining room. The challenge is that the fabric arrived yesterday afternoon, (Nov. 11), and the install date is this Friday, (Nov. 15). Thankfully the drapery is a Ripplefold style mounted on a ceiling track. This means, I will sew on snap tape instead of sewing in pleats. Yesterday I cut 4 widths of drapery fabric and 4 widths of lining, stitched the widths together.IMG_2183 Today, I sewed the fabric, lining and buckram together. I then measured, marked and stitched the bottom hems and side hems. IMG_2185IMG_2186Stay posted to see how far I get tomorrow.

Guest House

pile of fabrics

Do you remember this pile of fabric?

Four fabrics were chosen to make 6 drapery panels, 3 valances and a cornice board to cover 8 separate windows in 1 guest house. After ordering a long list of hardware pieces and sewing all the treatments together, the install date finally arrived. It was a complicated install because most of the walls were painted brick. Drilling into brick or concrete is a lot of work. I am thankful to be able to work with an experienced installer.front

This large picture window overlooks Puget Sound. Each side now has a large panel drapery that is hung by medallions following the slope of the ceiling. Thanks to a recent article in ‘Drapery & Design Professional’ magazine, I was able to drape a weight chain over a template of the slope to determine the angle of the top edge.

sideThe two side windows also have stationary panels, this time hung from decorative rods.  side window

The kitchen has two windows with valances hung on iron rods and rings. kitchen The bathroom has a simple box pleated valance mounted on a board.


The bedroom has a 6′ cornice board over the bed with a set of sheer curtains hung underneath. It also has a single drapery panel on a decorative rod. bed




I need to learn how to take better photos in dark rooms against bright windows, but you get the idea. If you click on a picture, it will enlarge and you can view all the photos like a slide show.

This little guest house in now warm and inviting. It is ready for guests over Thanksgiving weekend.

A hobbled roman shade

Marsha's window

Apartment windows can be very plain. It can make a renter nervous to remove existing blinds or hardware. The resident here wanted to do something pretty but simple. She chose a hobbled roman shade and mounted it outside of the window frame leaving the original shade in place. This really dressed up the room.

Marsha's shadeHer living room has two windows. I made shades for both windows. One shade was 61″wide by 55″ long and the larger shade was 74″ wide and 55″ long. These were the widest roman shades I have made and the first time to make this style.




Matching a print

Matching a print is done quite often when sewing with decorator fabric. Making draperies and bedspreads you need large pieces of fabric and the print needs to match across the whole project. But matching the print is also needed on small valances, pillows and sometimes in a garment. When using a quality decorator fabric the print repeat from one edge of the fabric to the other is made to match up with another width of fabric.Using a quilting or dress fabric, matching a print repeat can take a little more work.

Sewing the pieces together can be difficult to see if you place the fabric with the right sides together and stitch on the wrong side. Here is a simpler way to match the print and still see what you are sewing.


You still want to lay your fabrics right sides together. With this embroidered print it is not as obvious which side is the wrong side. I mark my fabric pieces with blue painter’s tape so I know which side is the right side and which edge is the top.

To match the print and still see what you are doing, fold back the edge of the top fabric to a place that makes sense to match up the pattern.

fold back


Line up the print and pin it in place.



Take your pinned fabric to the sewing machine and stitch on top.



You are able to see that the print still matches, nothing is shifting and the bulk of your fabric is to the left of the machine.

sewing table


Take your stitched pieces back to the table and press first on the wrong side where you just stitched. Then open the seam and press on the right side.



Now you have a beautifully matched seam.

Have fun.


New pleats



These draperies were on my worktable this week. This is a new pleat that I have not made before. Thanks to Pinterest, my customer and I ran across a picture that we liked and thought we should give it a try. tulip pleats

I thought I would call them tulip pleats.  They are going to go in a bedroom with these pillows and throw.

leopard pillows

sewing for fun


My mother made this crazy quilt for me several years ago. She made crazy quilts all the time. It was her favorite way of sewing. She loved to mix and match the colors and prints. She didn’t have to worry about cutting anything accurately or measure anything. She just sewed pieces together until she had a patch large enough to trim into a square. She made squares until she had enough to make a blanket. Most of her blankets were crib to lap size blankets. Mine was a good nap size blanket – about 1/2 a twin bed size.

She made this blanket with polyester batting, a cotton knit backing and tied it together. Over the years the sashing started to wear thin, the backing stretched out and the batting shrunk. This left the quilt lumpy, crooked and coming apart in places. So I decided it was time to fix it.

I took the quilt completely apart. I saved all the crazy quilt squares and threw away the rest. new sashing

I decided I was not going to buy any new fabric for this project. I have a stash and I inherited a stash. So I pulled out some simple cream prints to make new sashing.

quilt top


The backing will also be flower prints from the cupboard with flannel for the middle layer. I will post more pictures when I finish. I need to figure out how I want to band the edges.

Now back to sewing draperies.


This week I am working on another set of pillows. This time there is a throw blanket to match. I am trying to decide if I like the small lumbar pillow with or without the fringe. What do you think?guest room

The striped fabric on the table will be draperies next week.

London shades

London shades have been in my workroom for several weeks now. This is the first time I have made this design. It has taken some thinking, reading, designing, and lots of practice to get them to this stage. It is one thing to have a pattern, it is another to make that work for your customer’s windows. One finished, three more to go.

flat shade London shade

You can always learn something new.

I have been sewing since I was very small. My mother had me work on simple projects sitting next to her while she was sewing. I did learn early on that it is important to take your time, sew carefully and neatly. And if a seam doesn’t come out just right, it is worth your time and effort to tear it out and do it over.

I was in a sewing class at Custom Home Furnishing Academy a couple of summers ago. It was fun to learn how to make window treatments I had not tried yet and learn better ways to make the treatments I was familiar with. As a group of ladies that had a lot of sewing experience but different experience, we found ourselves sharing little tricks and shortcuts to make our work simpler and more efficient.

seam ripper

One such tip was how to use a seam ripper. For many years I have stuck the sharp end of the tool under each stich and cut that stitch. Some times I could rip out a seam a little easier by cutting every 4th or 5th stitch. It still took along time to rip out a whole seam. Our instructor asked – what is the red tip for on a seam ripper? She showed us how to flip over the tool, run the red tip just under the stitches and rip down a whole seam in one fell swoop. The covered tip keeps the ripper from tearing or cutting your fabric, it slides neatly under the stitches cutting them easily as you push the tool down the seam.

rippingNow I don’t have to worry about basting a seam, ripping it out and restitching. If there is a seam put in the wrong place it is quick and easy to fix. Sometimes it is the simplest thing that can make your sewing experience easier and more fun.

Don’t be afraid to try a new project or new tool. Do you have a favorite tip or trick? I would love to hear from you.