Hand stitching

Posted by on January 14, 2014 in Blog Entry | 3 comments

Hand stitching

I have taught sewing to different age groups and skill levels over the years. I enjoy sharing something I love to do. It is common for students to want to dive right in and make something. I try to start by teaching a class the basics of their sewing machine first before trying to figure out a project or pattern. But I have learned in helping a local high school home-ec class that is important to start with the simple basics of hand sewing.

Learning basic stitches and embroidery used to be taught in school or passed down from mother to daughter. Samplers were a way to practice different stitches and make a fun design at the same time.

Many of the basic embroidery stitches are used to make fine hems, stitch an opening together or tack 2 layers of fabric together.

I have admired many roman shades stitched together in English workrooms that are interlined and hand stitched. I recently made a shade for a friend and tried hand stitching it together.

hand stitched

The interlining is stitched in place with a herringbone stitch. stitched

The rod pockets in the lining are stitched to the front fabric with a simple running stitch. after kitchen

The result was a strong, stable and pretty roman view


It is good to learn and practice the very basics of sewing.

Have fun.

Challenge complete

Posted by on November 15, 2013 in Blog Entry | 0 comments

Challenge complete

On the morning of any given install day, my installer calls me at 8am to give me the time to be on the job. This morning Charlie called to say the install time would be 8:45 am. I wrapped the drapery and valance in plastic and loaded up my car. Within an hour, both treatments were up. My customer is very happy.wave pleats

The mirrored closet door makes the drapery look twice as wide as the 8 ft. track. I also love how her pillows match the drapery fabric perfectly. She had the pillows and bedspread before we picked this fabric.

Hall valance


red valance

The dining room valance goes well with her new rug. She is waiting for her new dining table and chairs to arrive before Thanksgiving.

It is good to have a deadline. It was also nice to sew this style of drapery called roll pleats or Ripplefold by Kirsch. This is a one-way draw cord pull to the right side of the ceiling mounted track. Sewing on snap tape is much faster than putting in pleats. I like the clean, soft waves of fabric.




Day 2

Posted by on November 14, 2013 in Blog Entry | 0 comments

Day 2

Today I pulled the drapery track out of the box again and counted carriers, measured and counted again. I measured the snap tape, measured my drapery, pinned and counted snaps. IMG_2187

I sewed on the snap tape, trying hard not to hit the snaps with the needle.

IMG_2188The whole pile was lifted back to the table, pressed and folded, ready to go to it’s new home.


On to project no. 2. IMG_2189turn 1 yard of fabric into a 61″x12″ box pleated valance.

I got this far before dinner. IMG_2190

After dinner, I finished stapling, added welt cord and finished the top dust cover. I am glad I finished this early so the pleats will have some time to ‘learn’ to hang straight.



This week’s challenge

Posted by on November 13, 2013 in Blog Entry | 0 comments

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

Posted by on November 1, 2013 in Blog Entry, Front, Recent | 0 comments

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

Posted by on October 8, 2013 in Blog Entry | 0 comments

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

Posted by on September 16, 2013 in Blog Entry | 0 comments

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.


Tulip Pleats

Posted by on September 1, 2013 in Blog Entry | 0 comments

Tulip Pleats

tulip pleats

These draperies are going to go in a bedroom with these pillows and throw.

leopard pillows

New pleats

Posted by on August 21, 2013 in Blog Entry | 2 comments

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

Posted by on August 8, 2013 in Blog Entry | 2 comments

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.