Sunday, February 26, 2012

Wardrobe Malfunction

Just as high fashion clothes need proper undergarments for support and coverage, so too, do high quality window treatments.  Drapery linings are the undergarments of window treatments and perform many functions including protection of the face fabric from sun damage, insulation from summer heat and winter cold, noise reduction, privacy and light control, additional body/improved hand of the fabric, and uniform appearance from the outside.

The most basic lining is a good quality sateen.  A satin weave is more pliable than a plain weave.  My go-to lining is a 100% cotton sateen in pale ivory.  This is the equivalent of wearing a slip under your dress (fellas--use your imagination!).  The lining protects the face fabric and gives body to the treatment.  If the face fabric is white or has a white background, it is important
white face with ivory lining
            with white sateen                            with ivory sateen
to choose a white colored lining so that there is no yellowing of the face fabric.  Sateens are also available in tan or putty.  Colored linings differentiate custom window treatments from ready-mades and also have nice curb appeal on dark colored or brick homes.

Interlining is a lining that is sandwiched between the face fabric and the drapery lining. Interlining is primarily used to add body and give a rich elegant look, interlined silkparticularly when used with silk.  The interlining layer can be heavy flannel, English bump, or a 3-layer woven blackout.  If you have budget or space constraints and can't use multiple width panels, consider adding a layer of interlining to help plump up single width panels.  Another option for the budget conscious client is to use a napped sateen lining with silk. Napped sateen is a sateen lining that has undergone additional processing to brush and raise the fibers on one side.  Silk with napped sateen looks much better than silk with only a basic sateen but it is NOT a replacement for interlined silk draperies!

Traditional blackout linings contain several layers of acrylic foam.  The layers block light and provide excellent thermal insulation.  In recent years, there have been several advances in blackout linings making them more fluid and better draping, but they still have a drawback when used in roman shades.  Pin holes are formed when rings are sewn on the shades.  One option to overcome this is to use the technique known as French blackout where there are four layers in the window treatment: face fabric - interlining - black sateen - ivory (or white) sateen.

As a custom workroom to the trade, I stock many different linings and special order as needed. I discuss lining choices with my designer clients and quote the best fit for each project/end customer.  But I have been known to switch linings (after talking to the designer) during the fabrication process because after seeing and touching the face fabric, I just can't let a window treatment experience a wardrobe malfunction!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Custom Spacing for Ripplefold Panels

Ripplefold is a style of drapery featuring tailored fabric columns in soft ripple-like folds that flow from one end of the hardware track to the other. Ripplefold panels are not new, but traditionally have been used in commercial settings for their minimal track exposure, reduced fullness (less fabric required), and smaller stackback. ripplefold line drawingRipplefold panels are making a resurgence in residential settings. The clean lines and smaller stackback are perfect for those large window expanses where the customer says "I don't want to block any of my view".

Ripplefold panels are made by sewing snap tape to the top of a flat panel.  The panel is then snapped into the carriers on the hardware track. One drawback of ripplefold panels is that the fixed spacing of the snaps on standard snap tape makes a "one size fits all" panel.

Our workroom has equipment to make ripplefold panels with custom snap spacing. This allows control of the placement of seams in multi-width panels so that the seam is always hidden on the side of a fold. It also allows for increased distance between each snap so that extra long panels have enough fabric in each fabric column to hold their shape the full length of the panel.

Dixon basement ripplefold panels
Designer:  Bev Dyminski Interior Design  
Custom snap spacing also allows consideration of the horizontal pattern repeat. It's a subtle detail...but notice that the wave in the design of the fabric is in the same place on each fold. The capability of custom snap spacing opens up design possibilities with striped fabric, akin to asking your workroom to "pleat to the stripe" when making traditional pleated panels. For ripplefold panels, the snaps can be spaced such that a dominant color is on the front of the fold and a secondary color is on the back of the fold giving different looks when in the panels are in the opened and closed positions.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Reduce - Reuse - Recycle

We don't always associate that phrase with custom window treatments.  But with a little ingenuity and teamwork, look what can be done...
Home and Garden Show vignette
Interior designer Janis Reed included a valance with stationary panels in her vignette at the 2011 Rochester Home & Garden Show.  Janis packed a lot of punch in her 12' x 12' space!
When Janis moved the furniture to a model home after the show, she wanted to reuse the stationary panels in the family room and the valance in the powder room.
The biggest issue to address in re-purposing the window treatments was that the vignette had an 8 foot wall and the model home had 9 foot ceilings.  Both the panels and the valance were too short and out of proportion in the larger space.  

valance with cornice 
To address this issue with the valance, a padded cornice was added to the top of the valance.  I had just enough fabric left over to allow a perfect pattern match.  The new window treatment looks even better with the added design element!   

When drapery panels are too long, it’s an easy solution --just re-hem. With a little creativity there are also solutions when panels are too short.

Janis' panels needed an extra 16” of length.  Because the window treatments were not the focal point in the new setting, she wanted to use the same fabric to lengthen the panels. We added three horizontal tucks to the bottom section of the panel and hid the seam inside one of the tucks. The tucks added interest and detail to the panels but kept them in their role of supporting player in the overall design scheme.