FRENCH COUNTRY style
signs that it's TIME TO SCALE
REAL WORKROOMS - Grahn's Upholstery
chair cushion with INVISIBLE ZIPPER
PROJECTION vs RETURN
customize EASY SPRING PLUS
This article first appeared in Keely's blog which you can read here.
French Country style in El Dorado Hills
featuring French General Fabric collection
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In this before you can see the kitchen nook with a large glass sliding door and the pool under construction in the back yard.
Ellen wanted a fun take on a French country style for her home. Look at the beautiful glass sliding door now! I added warmth, height and drama to the room with the drapery fabrics and design. The French design is carried through with the bistro dining table and chairs.
The drapery panels are a beautiful wide stripe silk called Elegant / Sky. I banded the edge with a yellow check (Cap cod / Lemon) to coordinate with the valance fabrics. The main print of the valance is French general’s Couluer / La Mer and is paired with a ticking stripe at the bottom edge, Kind Kelly / Pool from Robert Allen. The same yellow check as the drapery banding is at the top of the valance and on the buttons sewn on the valance’s pleats. All of these details really bring the French country style to life.
Here is the before photo of Ellen’s family room. The large grouping of windows and sliding door needs the warm of the French country style.
In this wide shot of the family room you see one of two large groupings of windows and door. This one leads to an atrium courtyard and the other to the back yard. I framed them both with the drapery swagging over the end windows for softness. I used the same valance design as the kitchen nook going across the windows. The sofa has a mix of fabrics on the pillows, like you would expect in this country style.
It was fun to go floor to ceiling with this drapery and playing up the 12ft ceiling height in Ellen’s room. The soft neutral wall color lets the window treatments be the star.
In this close up you can see the creative hardware detail. They are round rod iron hooks I purchased for Ellen for only $5.00 each. I made ties for the drapes with the yellow check fabric and tied up the drapes to the hooks. I had to pay close attention to making the extra long ties in ascending lengths, so the ties did not hang past the draperies swag and into the window. The soft flip over flounce at the top added to the overall design and soft look. To hold back the drapery, we found the cutest bird tieback in the rod iron finish to go with the hooks.
Ellen has a small office area just off the kitchen and I made a coordinating valance for the window. It has the same style as the other rooms, but with different fabrics. It was a joy to do this project for Ellen, I love all of these fun details too, and it makes her house a home.
Right at Home Interiors has proudly been in business for over 25 years. Owner and designer Keely Hersh views fabric as a main feature in home décor and manufactures your custom window coverings, bedding and room décor accessories at her in-house custom drapery workroom.
As Keely says, “Excellent customer service involves taking care of my client’s project to the final detail.
at the Library
Nancy Letts - Business Social Hands On
Participate LIVE on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 1pm
In this hands-on follow up to her Business Social webinar, Nancy will guide you through setting up and connecting your Facebook and Instagram business pages, the ins and outs of posting to Instagram and Stories, tips for using collage apps, how to set up multiple links in your profile and using keyboard apps for saving hashtag groups.
Missed Nancy's FIRST Business Social Circle Time? Don't worry! Catch up here:
Business Social with Nancy Letts
from November 2019
Take a tour of the Library with Ceil DiGuglielmo, Your Librarian
Participate LIVE on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 1pm
Would you like to get to know the Curtains and Soft Furnishings Resource Library a little better? Have you had trouble finding things? Do you need to get in, find what you are looking for and get back to work? Or is there a favorite webinar that you want to rewatch? Join us for this Live webinar and get to know your Library!
Join the Library today as a PRO Plus Member to view past and future CIRCLE TIME events, on demand.
Want to be featured in a future issue? Use #csfrl to make sure you get noticed.
Jan/Feb 2020 Instagram Contributors:
Patty Ayers | Pillows and Pleats - @pillowsandpleats
Anderson Fabrics, Inc - @andersonfabricsinc
Cristina Alamdari | AZ Draperies and Pillows - @azdraperies
Peggy Morgans | Parkway Window Works - @peggymorgans
Nancy Letts | Pine House Drapery - @pinehousedrapery
Rose Mary LeBlanc: @rmlcustomhome
Amanda Smith | Sew Unordinary - @sewunordinarydrapery
Terry Sandlin | Terry’s Designing Windows - @terryswindows
Laura Nelson | Sew Nice Creations @sew_nice
Note: using #csfrl implies permission to use your image in the Drapery & Design Digital Digest with photo credit and Instagram link.
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Boxed Chair Cushion with Invisible Zipper
by Nancy Letts
When making cushions for dining chairs, we need to pay as much attention to the back of the cushion as the front, since that is the part that is often the most visible.
Because many dining chair cushions have curved backs, an invisible zipper in the center of the boxing is a good option because it’s easier, and possibly faster, than sewing next to the welt. I also like it since you can get closer to the zipper coil. The main problem I’ve had with this method in the past, is that you can get a dimple on each end of the zipper where you would normally finish the seam. My solution to this problem was to take the zipper into the seam allowance for a perfectly smooth seam all the way across. Also, in order not to have a gap at one end, the zipper needs to be closed at both ends when sewing to the front boxing.
Let’s go over the steps to accomplish this!
Cutting and construction will be just the same as for a normal boxed cushion except for the zipper boxing pieces. These instructions are for a #5 invisible zipper. You may need to adjust the zipper boxing dimensions for smaller or larger zippers.
Divide the cut width of the front boxing by 2 and add 5/8” for sewing the zipper. Cut two pieces of zipper boxing.
Cut a piece of invisible zipper that is about 2” longer than the zipper boxing. Align the edge of the zipper tape with the long edge of the zipper boxing and sew using your preferred method, getting very close to the coil.
Lay the sewn zipper boxing pieces together with wrong sides up, aligning the long edges so they match. Mark the right side of the zipper tape on one end across both pieces. On one side, cut close to the coil down to the mark. Fold the tape over at the mark and cut off the coil. Do not cut the cloth tape! This is your handle for pulling the zipper slide onto the zipper.
Insert the zipper slide onto the uncut side of the zipper until the mark is even with the point just above where the pull-tab is attached to the slide. Insert the cut side of the zipper into the slide until you hear it click. The marks should now be aligned, if they aren’t, adjust the first side to line them up. When you have the marks aligned, hold both sides of the cloth tape and pull the slide down.
If the two sides of the zipper boxing are lined up to your satisfaction, pull the slide all the way down and off, then reinsert it again using the same steps. Pull the slide no farther than the middle of the zipper boxing. This will leave room to open the zipper after the cushion is completely sewn. The zipper will now be closed at both ends, giving a smooth seam all the way across the back.
Depending on how your fabric behaves, you may need to press or finger press the zipper boxing flat.
Sew the zipper boxing to the front boxing, using a small piece of fabric on the coil to reinforce the seam. Finish fabricating the cushion using your preferred methods. Open the zipper by pulling the teeth apart at the front of the slide, then reach in and pull the zipper open to the other end.
Extra tip: use a belt loop style tab for holding the cushion onto the chair and plan the placement to be at each end of the zipper. This will help hide the zipper pull-tab.
Nancy Letts started Pine House Drapery in 2001, and brings 50 years of sewing experience to provide window treatments, bedding, upholstery and slipcovers to interior designers in northern lower Michigan. Nancy has taught at CWC since 2016, and at Workroom Tech since 2018. She has written articles for Drapery & Design Professional magazine and Digital Digest, is a contributing partner at the Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library, and is a WCAA member.
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This article first appeared in Michele's blog which you can read here.
At some point in our business each of us may start to feel overwhelmed, stressed and wondering how we can serve more clients – or heck, keep the ones we have going. Maybe we are being asked by others how we are going to scale the business and what that looks like. In this article, we will focus on indicators that could trigger us that it is time to scale. Here are five signs that indicate scaling may be in your near future.
Out of time to serve clients
Do you find yourself out of time to serve your current clients, and maybe even worse, telling new ideal clients with ideal projects that you cannot work with them either at all or until months later? This is a definite sign that your business is busting at the seams. Having to tell an ideal client and project “No” or “Wait” crushes us and may make us feel like we are failing. Some small wait time is not a bad thing, but over 3 months to begin should definitely get our attention.
Overwhelmed with admin duties
Do you find yourself inundated with emails, texts, bookkeeping and other admin types of work? Can’t keep up? This may be a sign that you need to scale by hiring. When we start a business, we try to do it all, but as the business ramps up we immediately find that we cannot do it all and grow. If our precious time is taken to do admin duties when we really need to be working in a different capacity, our business growth could be hampered.
Future plans always on hold
We are creatives, and as such, we often have ideas for growth, new products or services. When we are always pushing off the implementation and exploration of new ideas just to get the current work done, we are once again limiting our business. Creating time to work on these activities is part of growing our business and if there is no bandwidth for these activities, we need to take notice.
You’ve reached your technology capacity
Ok, back to that idea of “let’s do it all” that we often use to start our business. At some point, we are going to exhaust not only our time, but our understanding of concepts that are not the main focus of the business. And if we spend time on those ancillary activities, we are taking that precious time away from what we do best. For example, if I have reached my limit on social media understanding and implementation, and need to understand more about a platform or strategy, to keep doing it and digging in may seem fine and a good use of my time, but it may very well reduce my time to serve clients (see issue one above) and cause stress that I could alleviate by getting skilled help.
You are exhausted
Work, work, work. Maybe you are finding your day getting longer at work. Or, you are climbing in bed with your computer and working late into the night and early morning, getting a few hours of rest and going again. Somewhere in the back of your mind you know there must be a better way. This is a signal that you need assistance.
There is no glory in feeling like we are working ourselves to death, spinning plates in the air, and hoping none fall. This never leads to a saner life or more peace. Scaling allows us to do more of what we love, in the way we love to do it, with those we love to serve. It doesn’t have to look the same for everyone. In the next article, we will uncover what scaling means and how to do it for your interior design business.
If you need help in this area, please check out The Designers’ Inner Circle where we have discussions about how to grow your business every month.
Michele Williams is the owner of Scarlet Thread Consulting. Using her software development and interior design business background, she empowers her clients to charge what they are worth and to have confidence in their financials. Michele is a Profit First certified coach focused on the interior design industry, and she hosts the popular Profit is a Choice podcast. You can learn more at www.scarletthreadconsulting.com.
5 Signs It’s Time to Scale and
Grow Your Interior Design Business
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Grahn's Upholstery in Minneapolis, MN has been a part of the community for many years. With the recent addition of The Funky Little Chair hands-on-learning program, this shop is operating at peak performance!
Take a tour of the office, workroom and classroom while meeting the people who make it all possible. Office manager Jennifer Closner takes care of clients while Cynthia Bleskachek manages the workroom and education side of things. See long-time employee Dale in action as well as two students, Lauren and Isaac who recently joined Grahn's as staff members.
The Workroom Marketplace is happy to introduce two new colors to our popular TERKO SATIN THREAD collection.
See why Susan Woodcock loves Terko Satin Thread!
Now available in Charcoal and Khaki as well as White and Natural, Terko Satin Thread remains one of our best sellers due to its strength and versatility.
SHOP the collection NOW!
Your FAVORITE thread
in TWO NEW colors
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Ever get confused when the workroom or installer asks you what the hardware return is? Or what projection do you want on that valance?
Projection and return are two different things. The best way to explain it is this way. Projection is going from the wall out. Return is going back to the wall.
Drapery hardware projection and return are shown in the diagram above. As you can see, the projection is the whole bracket measurement from the back of the bracket to the front. The return is measured from the middle of the rod back to the wall.
Fabric returns back to the wall. For drapery panels the return is the fabric on the panel side that folds back to the wall and blocks the light on the sides.
Shutters and binds project out from the window.
Knowing the difference comes in to play when ordering hardware or specifying a valance that has to clear shutters or blinds. Here is an example of what can happen if you don't understand these terms.
A designer specified drapery hardware for a window with existing shutters. At the measuring appointment the workroom was told by the designer what the bracket return should be. Panels were fabricated with the return measurement that was given. But when ordering the drapery hardware, the designer thought that the bracket projection and return measurements were interchangeable. At the install, she was shocked to see that the bracket return was much too small for the panels to hang clear of the shutters. The panels would not clear the shutters and thus laid over the top of them.
For more information on drapery hardware please go to the Seamless Workroom blog and download the PDF titled Soft Furnishings Designer Basics Drapery Hardware Explained - HERE.
Rose Mary has owned and operated a custom window treatment workroom since 1992 and for many years used her own measuring diagrams and work orders. After drafting and discarding many versions over the years, it all came together in 2013 when she had an extensive series of measurement diagrams and work orders that enabled her to improve her workroom procedures. To keep pace with technology she envisioned adapting the whole workroom efficiency package for tablets and iPads.
Rose Mary shared her concept with best friend and fellow workroom owner Amanda D. Smith. Amanda quickly grasped the significance of the diagrams and work orders and the two began developing the package for technology. A light bulb moment went off for them when the idea of converting everything to fillable forms dawned on them.
Soft Furnishings Designer Basics: Drapery Hardware Explained
There IS a difference between
projection and return
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Join together for a full day of intense learning and fun. In this one day workshop, you will learn about shade operating systems and fabrication methods from industry leaders in a supportive, small group of like-minded professionals.
Deborah Cronin and Jennifer White have experience and statistics for every lift system available, and Susan is the industry leader on understanding cord safety standards and sewing innovations. At the Shade Smart workshop, you will become a shade expert, too!
During the class, you will learn about spring, motor and clutch systems; see a comparison of features, and when to choose one system over another. You will see how to assemble, set, adjust, and tweak systems, and how they are used. During this class you will learn how to comply with cord safety standards for custom products, and new methods for fabrication. You will go home with a handbook of valuable information and resources.
If you fabricate and sell custom shades - this workshop will be a game-changer!
This is a special event, space is limited. Cost to attend is $350.00 per person includes breakfast, lunch, all day beverage service and afternoon snack break.
Space is limited...
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In the January CIRCLE TIME at the Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library, Jeanelle Dech presented THE BALANCE FALLACY- How we think about work-life balance and new ideas for healthy living.
While you can’t multitask, you CAN multi-succeed!
Doing desk work while sitting on a yoga ball chair is a DOUBLE WIN, achieving success in the SELF and WORK spheres simultaneously.
Click here to purchase your own YOGA BALL CHAIR!
Want to listen to the CIRCLE TIME and join the conversation? Join the Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library as a PRO PLUS member and have access to all past recordings.
The next Custom Workroom Conference will held October 5-7, 2020, at the Embassy Suites Hilton Hotel and Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton, VA.
Custom Workroom Conference is an educational event and trade show exclusively for the custom drapery and upholstery professional. Attendees travel from all over the world to learn, network and connect with other workroom businesses and suppliers. Produced by Susan Woodcock and Rodger Walker, owners of the Custom Workroom Technical Center in Tryon, NC, Custom Workroom Conference is celebrating its fifth year in 2020.
Why attend CWC?
If you are new to the workroom industry, or would like to learn more about starting your own workroom business.
If you are an experienced drapery or upholstery workroom owner looking for fellowship, fresh ideas and inspiration.
If you are looking for better and more efficient methods and equipment to improve production.
If you would like to meet your peers and suppliers in person, to put a face to a name and strengthen relationships.
If you would like help with pricing, marketing or setting business goals.
If you have never attended a workroom conference – it can be life changing! Learn more by visiting
with Elki Horn
Trimming Down EASY SPRING PLUS
Customize your lift system!
Sometimes the Easy Spring Plus Lift System needs to be cut down to accommodate a narrow shade. In this tutorial, Elki and assistant, Marisela, explain how to trim down the spring mechanism to fit inside a smaller tube.
Elki loves her Evolution RAGE Chop Saw with Multi-Purpose Cutting Blade to easily cut through most materials in her projects. Shop for your own here!
from the Home Dec Gal workroom
for Kenny Ball Design
Behind the COVER PHOTO
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On this curtain, the scalloped edging was applied to an overlay. A paper pattern was made first, to work out the shape where the two patterns meet at the bottom corners.
Iron on interfacing was applied to the fabric before cutting.
Micro welt cord was added between the toile fabric, and the scalloped edge.
Susan Woodcock owns Home Dec Gal a how-to sewing and decorating resource and custom workroom in western North Carolina, and is a Craftsy.com instructor and international speaker. She’s also worked in marketing and brand management, and co-produces the Custom Workroom Conference with her husband, Rodger Walker. Susan’s publishing credits include Sewing Custom Curtains, Shades and Top Treatments (Singer, 2016). In 2017 Susan and Rodger founded Custom Workroom Technical Center, a hands-on training facility dedicated to the workroom industry. She credits her mother with teaching her to sew and inspiring her career of creativity.
The Workroom Channel
The Workroom Marketplace
Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library
Sew Much More Podcast
The Drapery & Design Digital Digest is the result of the collaborative efforts of The Workroom Channel and the Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library. Our mission is to showcase the outstanding work of custom home furnishings professionals, spotlight quality products, and share educational resources.
Layout Editor: Liz Kelly, The Workroom Channel
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January-February 2020 photo credits:
Keely Hersh, Right At Home Interiors
Susan Woodcock, Home Dec Gal
Nancy Letts, Pine House Drapery