Saturday, March 17, 2012

Breaking the Rules

When first starting out in the drapery biz, I purchased Kitty Stein's Workroom Specifications.  It is a 50 plus page book of standards covering everything from hem sizes to recommended fullness to board allowances.  It is an excellent resource and I still use it today. 

I start each project by unrolling the fabric and looking at the pattern and weave.  My number one priority is to showcase the customer's fabric to its best.  Here is a lovely Thibaut print that is to be made into a tailored valance with an arched hem shape and corner pleats..   
It has a large pattern repeat with the main motif running side by side up the bolt. If the window treatment design has fullness from gathers, pleats, or shirring tape, the mix of colors in the print is highlighted and pattern placement is secondary.  But with a flat valance, the specific motif that is displayed matters a lot.

Kitty's standards tell me to plan my cuts so I can hide the seam in a design element such as behind a horn or inside an inverted pleat.  If seams are required, I should use a full width of material in the center of the treatment with seams on each side.  For this project, the motif that best fit the valance shape and size was NOT the center motif so I broke the rules...

I chose to center the largest motif and have only one seam on the left side of the front of the valance.  Can you find the seam?

Webster's dictionary defines standards as "a required or agreed level of quality".  I follow the standards to produce high quality window treatments.  After all, the customer is entrusting me with fabric they have fallen in love with.  When I break the rules, it is because (as Flip Wilson might say) "the fabric made me do it!"

Contact me at  I'd love to channel Geraldine on your next project....

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