Because so many students at the Professional Drapery School are intrigued by the portable fabric rack I had made, I felt that readers would be interested in how to make one for their very own. So, here it is.
I should start off by saying that there are several types of clamp-on fabric
racks that exist, but you can (and really should) build your own. You can customize
it for your size and needs. Also, it was important for my purposes at the school
to make sure the fabric rack was not a permanent fixture. Students often use
both ends of the workroom tables at the same time, so I designed my fabric rack
with casters. When we are not cutting fabric, we simply roll it out of our way.
PORTABLE OR FIXED
If you plan to make your fabric rack portable, be sure to build the frame separately
from the table making A-frame supports for stability. If you do not expect to
move your fabric rack around, you do not need the A-frame or to use casters.
You also can build the holders for the bolts of fabric you are cutting in any
one of several different ways. The simplest is to use two-by-fours as vertical
supports with shaped blocks of wood screwed into them at various levels. The
blocks are shaped into a ďUĒ to hold the ends of the metal poles
that run through the bolts of fabric. The vertical two-by-fours then can be permanently
mounted onto the legs at the end of your workroom table, onto the wall behind
your table or even hang from the ceiling.
The vertical supports can accommodate more than one bolt of fabric at a time
by placing multiple U-shaped blocks onto them. Be sure to space the blocks far
enough apart to allow for the thickness of each roll of fabric so they donít
interfere with each other as you are trying to unroll them. Also, make sure these
support blocks are not placed so high that you cannot lift a full bolt of fabric
I like to use at least two sets of support blocks, one for fabric and one for
lining. The lining stays there all of the time, for ready access. This way I
only have to change it if I want to use a different lining.
In place of the metal poles that hold the fabric I use pieces of conduit cut
to the desired length. The conduit is very strong, lighter in weight and costs
less than two dollars each at any buildersí supply outlet.
I also have a non-movable metal fabric storage rack that I use to store fabric
bolts off to the side out of the way. For optimum convenience and efficiency,
Iíve spaced my fabric rack vertical supports at a distance such that I
can use the same length poles for the bolts whether Iím using them on the
fabric rack or storing them on the storage rack. This way I can easily lift the
fabric rolls from the storage rack and set them into the worktable fabric rack
without having to remove and replace the poles.
Also, most workrooms are small and space is a premium. Letís face it, the
workroom table probably takes up most of your space. Iím always looking
for places to store things so Iíve added a shelf on my fabric rack below
where the bottom bolt of fabric is held. Itís a great place to keep measuring
tape, pins, markers and cutting tools handy while cutting fabric!
Strickland is owner of Professional Drapery School, Swannanoa, NC,
and is an internationally acclaimed speaker with 20 years experience
in the window coverings industry. She is the publisher and editor
of Sew WHAT?, an international monthly newsletter for professional