Editor's Note: Kitty Stein is taking a short leave from writing her monthly column. In the interim, Ethel Mahon has kindly agreed to fill in. This article is an excerpt from her latest work, The Encyclopedia of Fabrications, due to be published later this year.
We all know that we are a rare but creative and very talented group of people within the window coverings industry. As our time in the business lengthens and our experience greatens, we find the designers with whom we work draw from our experiences and ideas and grow through the education we pass on. Sure, they get ideas from design magazines and show houses, but they also rely on us to keep them up to date with new ideas. The more complicated the job looks, the better they like it.
So how do we meet the challenge? We educate ourselves at trade shows and conferences like the Sew What? Educational Conference (see D&WC, November 2000), and we try to keep abreast of all the newer products on the market. We invest in our business and ourselves. We experiment with some of the newer products on the market to make the complicated items go easier. That way we can produce a better product that looks complicated, but in reality we can say, "We beat the system and we managed to make the product in a time-saving manner, yet we were able to up-charge for the knowledge and it looks great!"
An example of one such item is the contrast flanged sham. You know the one, it has a contrast mitered flange on both sides, with welt on the face between the face and the flange. I will share with you one of the ways to make a standard-size contrast flanged sham easily.
First create a picture frame six inches wide all around mitering the corners. The inside measurements need to be 18 by 24 inches and the outside needs to be 30 by 36 inches.
Cut the center portion of the sham face adding one inch all around for seams. If you're using a thin fabric, or one you can see through, use an iron-on lining on the backside. Press under the one-inch seam allowance facing the wrong side. If you want to use welt, attach it in position around the perimeter of the center of the sham. I hold it in place with a little bonding tape. I usually use a smaller welt cordsuch as 3/16-inch.
Lay the centerpiece with the welt centered over the picture frame. Hold it in place with some bonding tape.
Cut a piece of batting and a piece of lining the finished size of the sham (28 by 34 inches) plus one inch all around. Lay the sham face down; lay the batting down next, and then the layer of lining. Pin in place. Serge around the perimeter.
Top stitch from the front next to the welt cord (stitch in ditch). You may use a cord foot or a zipper foot if you can get real close.
Flip the face toward the table (lining side up). Apply the 3/4-inch bonding tape dead center over the seam on the inside. After it cools, remove the tape cover. Set this piece aside
Make another picture frame the same size as above.
Make a center back piece in two pieces so there can be an overlap.
Pin overlap in place, attach Velcro, and press under the one-inch alowance all around as we did for the face. Lay centered over the picture frame and baste it in place using some bonding tape.
Serge the perimeter and stitch between the face and the flange.
Next, place 3/4-inch bonding tape centered over the seam between the flange and the face. After it cools, remove tape cover.
Lay the two pieces face-to-face and stitch around the perimeter, leaving room to turn.
After turning, close the opening with bonding tape. Finally, steam the two pieces together. In the center, where the seams are, the tape will bond the front and back together and the sewn seams will look very nice.
Ethel Mahon started her workroom business in 1980 as a one-person business. Eventually her husband, Harold, joined her in the business, which now occupies 10,000 square feet. Mahon is a board member of the Window Coverings Association of America (WCAA) and president of its Jacksonville, FL, chapter. She has taught seminars to consumers and designers and has authored and published The Designers Workroom Companion, a book of measuring instructions and calculation charts. Her next book, The Encyclopedia of Fabrications, will be released this year, it will be used by the WCAA in its newly developed Workroom Certification Program also to be launched this year. For more information, visit Mahon's Web site (www.workroomprofessionals. com) or e-mail her at Ethelem@mediaone.net.