Important first step…measure correctly.

One of the basic tasks of a window treatment professional is to measure accurately for the job. Whether we are measuring windows, doors, beds or whole rooms it is imperative that we measure correctly. The entire job depends on these first measurements.

There are several tools that makes this task easy and efficient.

The traditional measuring tape is our quintessential measuring tool. The tapes come in a variety of lengths and have both imperial and metric measurements markings on a metal strip. We all have several tapes tucked away in vehicles and bags that can be pulled out quickly. They are great for measuring just about anything on the job site that is within easy reach.

Flexible measuring tapes or dressmaker tapes are made from cloth or vinyl. Their best uses are for measuring curved items such as mattresses and cushions.

Laser measuring tools are made by many manufacturers and come with a variety of features. The example shown here is from Lowes Home Improvement but laser measure tools can be found at any home improvement store and online. They are best for measuring the inside of a window or door and for measuring ceiling and wall height. Some of the features include length in both imperial and metric and calculating the area of a wall or floor. Newer laser tools also have apps that send the measurements with detail information to your phone or tablet.

 

The Euro Measuring Stick from Rowley Company is great for eliminating the need for an extra set of hands to hold the end of a tape measure when measuring wide openings because it is rigid. It comes in three sizes that expand: 28” -118”, 34” – 157”, 42” – 197”.

 

Where you record your measurements is also important. Some professionals use graph paper to draw the window and log the measurements, others take photos with their phones or tablets and record them directly on the picture, and others use measuring sheets that are made to work with programs such as Adobe, Goodnotes or Evernote. It is a personal preference. We like the measuring sheet option because it ensures you don’t forget to measure all parts of the window, door, bed or bathtub. Seamless has an extensive library of measuring forms that are pdf based and can be used in a variety of ways…printed to be written on, used as a pdf fillable within an app such as Adobe or saved into Goodnotes or Evernote as a template so that it is easily accessible at all times. You can find our measuring sheets here.

We are sure we missed listing something above, so what are your favorite measuring tools? Please let us know in the comments below.

Types of Threads

Thread – Something so small is so important to a successful sewing project. In this blog post we will share with you our favorite types of thread. This list doesn’t include every thread out there so if your favorite isn’t here please tell us what it is in the comments below.

First there is the thread work horse that we have all used forever – Coats and Clark All Purpose sewing thread. It’s great for everything from clothing to bed skirts and comes in a zillion colors.

Serger thread on cones is also another universal thread with the same uses and size as Coats and Clark.

#69 Bonded nylon upholstery thread Tex 70. Love this one! This ultra strong has a variety of uses from slipcovers to really thick drapery pleats and comes in many colors but not as many as regular sewing thread. The outdoor version has only a few basic colors. This thread works best in industrial walking foot sewing machines because it is too thick for most machines.

Gutterman Skala 200 dtex 150(1) thread blind stitch thread and Serafil 200/2 blind stitch thread are both great for blind hemmers. I also use them for hand stitching drapery panel side hems and hand sewing trim. They are very fine but also very strong.

Button thread #16 Tex 106 is an extra strong glazed cotton thread and comes in more than two dozen colors. Although it has many uses we love this one for sewing shade rings on roman shades. It holds a knot very well.

Silamide Waxed Hand Sewing thread comes in skeins and is great for hand sewing.

These are just a few of the many threads that are available to us. Each thread also has many different applications. What are your favorite threads and how do you use them? Please let us know in the comment section below.

What is Thread Weight?

Threads and fabrics are the two most common and important elements in all types of sewing. In fabricating soft furnishings for the home, it is necessary for a good finished product to use elements that are suited for the application.

Let’s talk about thread. Using the correct thread can be the difference between success and failure. We wouldn’t use upholstery thread for sheers or a fine hand sewing thread for slipcovers. Therefore, it is important to know the correct size or weight of thread to use for each item to be sewn.

What is thread weight? We all see those numbers next to the thread name. Did you ever wonder what those numbers mean? Thread is weighed or measured in 5 different ways: Weight (WT), Denier (Td or d), Tex (T), Number, and Composition.

Weight is a length measurement and is determined by measuring the length of one gram of thread. If one gram of thread is 30 meters long then it is 30 weight thread. The higher the number the finer the thread.

Denier is also a thread length measurement and is the weight of 9000 meters of thread. The larger the denier number, the heavier the thread.

Tex is the most consistent of the thread measurement systems. It measures 1000 meters of thread in grams. One thousand meters of thread that weighs one gram is 1Tex. The higher the Tex number the thicker the thread.

The Number System was developed in Japan and is called the Gunze Count system. It is used on finer thread and should not be confused with a weight measurement. It is designated as No. 50 or #50 for example. The smaller the number the heavier the thread is.

The Composition Standard was developed for cotton thread but has also been used for polyester. This can be confusing because a cotton thread and a polyester thread with the similar numbers aren’t always exactly the same. Compare cotton to cotton and polyester to polyester. Let’s look at a 30/3 thread. The first number is the same as the Number System explained above. The second number is the number of plies of thread twisted together. For our example, a 30/3 thread is a No. 30 thread with 3 plies twisted together.

So now that we know what those numbers mean, selecting the correct thread for the job is based on more than just guess work. With this knowledge we can also compare different threads for the qualities we need knowing that the job will go easier with the correct thread. Knowledge saves us time and money.

Happy sewing!

Shaped Banding for Roman Shades and Other Decor – WFVision Magazine September 2019

Shaped bandings are a beautiful custom detail for roman shades, valances, draperies or pillow flanges. In this latest article in WFVisions Magazine we explain how to add a shaped band to a roman shade that will result in a shaped facing on the back as well as the front. Click the link below to read the entire article. You can find other industry related articles at Window Fashion Vision.

Read Article

What are 2 pass, 3 pass and dim out blackout linings? And why should you care?

Blackout linings offer several functions. They protect drapery fabrics and room furnishings from sun damage, control light and privacy to varying degrees, help to control temperature and somewhat absorb sound. And these functions vary in degree depending on the type of lining used.

When blackout lining is produced, a base fabric is sprayed with layers or passes. This base fabric may be cotton, polyester or a blend of both.  A dim out lining  is made by spraying one layer of acrylic foam on a base fabric and will block about 98% of light. This lining is thinner, softer and generally will cost less than either 2 or 3 pass blackout.

A two pass blackout lining has a base fabric that is first sprayed with a black opaque membrane and then sprayed with a white acrylic foam. While it does offer 100% light block, it is lighter in weight than a 3 pass blackout lining and is usually lower in price.

The thickest and most expensive is the 3 pass blackout. Here a base fabric is first sprayed with a white acrylic foam, then sprayed with a black opaque membrane and finally sprayed with another layer of white acrylic foam on the outside. It also blocks 100% of light but offers more temperature control and sound absorption than the other two options.

valanceWhich leads us to why should you care. Although blackouts and dim outs do offer several benefits that other linings don’t, you must take into consideration the increased weight of the treatment (from an operational and a fabrication standpoint), the fact that it is more expensive than standard linings, and sometimes there are additional fabrication costs to consider since it can be more difficult to work with.  It is advisable to test a swatch of fabric with a swatch of lining as some fabrics, usually polyesters or poly blends, may repel the rubbery blackout lining. When this happens, a flannel interlining between the two will keep your drapery layers hanging in unison.

Blackout and dim out linings are excellent choices when a client wants a room darkening effect. And understanding and discussing  the benefits and limitations of linings with your customer will lead to a completely custom product your client will love.

All treatments shown were fabricated with blackout linings by Sew Unordinary. If you want to know more about other types of linings, click here to read further.

 

All our best,

Amanda and Rose Mary