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.
Pattern repeats are everywhere we look. They are on our clothing, wallpaper, furniture, household items, rugs, dishes, home décor and fabrics just to mention a few.
They are very important to a soft furnishings fabrication business because pattern placement is crucial to achieve a well made pleasing product. On a pair of drapery panels, that basket of flowers should be at the same place along the top of both panels so that the repeat flows across the panels in the same place. The same goes for cushions – all cushions should have uniform repeat placement.
So what are pattern repeats exactly? A pattern repeat is a designed motif that is repeated in regular intervals over an entire item. It’s as simple as that…sort of.
How is a pattern repeat measured? A pattern repeat is the entire motif with a bit of background and not just the basket of flowers by itself. The repeat is measured from the exact point on one motif to the exact point on the next repeat. Let’s say that we pick the top of the topmost flower as the starting point for our repeat. The repeat is measured from that one point down to the exact point on the repeat below it. (Or above if we are measuring up.) You can pick any spot on the repeat as long as you go to the exact same spot on the next repeat. Pattern repeats are measured both vertically and horizontally and the horizontal repeat is measured in the same way as a vertical repeat.
If you want to learn more about pattern repeats, click here to view our in depth pdf.
Still have questions? Get in touch with us!
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.
Boards and hardware project out from the wall. For board mounted window treatments, the projection is depth of the board. The return is the fabric that is on the sides of the board mounted window treatments.
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’s 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. See link below.
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.
Which 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 our best,
Amanda and Rose Mary
Last month we were invited by Marcella Davis Burke, instructor at Central Piedmont Community College located in Charlotte, North Carolina, to present Introduction to Window Treatments to her Residential Interior Design class. After a brief discussion on what window treatments could include we delved into the topics of fabric suitability, linings, pattern repeats, railroaded fabric, pleat styles and drapery hardware. These students were so interested in all the topics that we could have talked all day and not covered everything! We hope we left them with the desire to learn more and become informed about window treatments and how they can be an excellent product to offer their clients. This was our second year presenting to Marcella’s class and we certainly look forward to future invites. It is so refreshing and invigorating to be around young and talented designers!
If you are interested in any to these topics, be sure to check out the Soft Furnishings Designer Basics section of our blog on our web site.
All our best,
Amanda and Rose Mary
This excel workbook will help track every detail of multiple projects from start to finish. Sections included are Jobs in Tracker, Job Details, Materials, Processes Completed, Pricing & Yardage/Meterage, Change Order & Remakes, and Vendors Used.
We have added many new features to our project tracker! Click the link to see how it works.
Rose Mary LeBlanc presented to the Interior Design students at Central Piedmont Community College on Tuesday, February 20th . (Amanda tagged along as her side kick and official photographer!) It was a great opportunity to discuss custom window treatments with these soon to be professionals in our industry. Thanks to Marcella Davis-Burke for inviting us into her class, we thoroughly enjoyed out time with them! And also thanks to Marcella for this wonderful note:
Rose Mary & Amanda did a FABULOUS job presenting window treatment basics to our class of budding designers! These industry professionals brought their talent, energy and enthusiasm to the class sparking a keen interest in the creative field of window treatment design. EVERYONE appreciated the gift of their time, knowledge and team building opportunity as they break into the field of interior design! HATS OFF to Rose Mary & Amanda!!!!
In this presentation we will show you how to prevent lining and face fabric from separating.