Sunday, April 14, 2013

Curtains 'n' Cushions 'n' Things

Normally this time of year, I would be mucking about in the garden by now...but not this year!  It's snowing again and this was the view out the back window when I woke this morning:
Too gruesome for words!  Oh well, it's nice and cozy inside and my bedroom curtains aren't going to make themselves!  So best to just buck-up and get to work, right?

They say it's best to use 100% natural fiber cloth for miniature projects because they're easier to manipulate.  My other rooms have silk curtains and in the Bedchamber I decided to use cotton.  I chose a bold, black & white stripe, because --well-- what can I say, I like stripes!  I don't know if they would have paired this fabric with this wallpaper back in 1830 or so (the wallpaper has a subtle, stripe background) but stripe-on-stripe is all the rage nowadays, so I'm pretending my dolls are a little ahead of the game.
I found the pattern for my curtains in an old dollhouse book.  Lo and behold: the pattern belonged to our own Ray Whitlege!  He posted the same pattern on his blog a while back, if you would like to use it yourself.

I was a little concerned because the pattern called for it to be cut on the bias, which makes sense because fabric drapes more naturally when cut this way (think slinky, 1930's bias-cut gowns) but I want my stripes to go up and down --not at a 45 degree angle!  So I was a little worried it wouldn't work.  But all's well that ends well --the fabric draped properly, after all --Phew!
After cutting out the patterns I Fray-Checked the edges and then used Spray Starch to wet the pieces down.  Next, I pinned it to some foam core on which I drew an outline of my window.  It's just a matter of pinning and re-pinning until you're happy with the result.  The tail section is simply folded over on itself to form the pattern. Once you like it just hit it with a blow-drier til set.

After trial & error, I found it easier to glue the trim to the edge of the curtain first, before starching and pinning. Eww! My hand looks like a sharecropper's! 
Well, anyway...I made my fringe ala Jeffry by cutting a 1/2 " piece of ribbon in half, lengthwise, then pulling out threads to form the fringe.  TIP: Grosgrain ribbon works better than double-faced satin!  I wanted the fringe to have more 'heft' so I glued one piece to the front of the fabric then turned it over and glued another piece to the back edge.

I love this treatment because there's absolutely no sewing involved.  A dab of fabric glue to hold the pleats in place is all it took, then glue the whole ensemble to a rod. It's that easy!
I used the same patterns to fabricate the pelmet which will go over the bed.  I made the pelmet from a piece of resin molding that I heated up over a candle flame and bent it around a small tin can. I keep telling you: I'm pretty AND I'm smart!
Then it was on to the window seat cushions...  I'm on a roll!  To make those, I first cut out thin pieces of foam to fit the seats. Then I traced the foam patterns onto the back of the fabric.  Add a 3/16" border around the outline and cut out, notching the corners.
Press the edges up on the lines.  Set the bottom piece down and place the foam on top. Glue around all the edges and set the top pattern in place. 

Use your fingers to press the two edges together.  Then make an edge strip by cutting a long ribbon of fabric three times the thickness of the foam (1/2" in my case). Fold over in
thirds and press.  Glue down the flaps.  Run glue around the entire edge of the cushion and apply the edge strip, starting in the most inconspicuous corner.
Add piping to the edges by applying a thin line of glue over the seam and lying the cord on top, starting and ending in the most inconspicuous corner. I used my handy-dandy Crazy Cords machine to make my piping, but any appropriate-sized cording will do.
Look: striped and toil cushions on the chair, LOL!
Again: NO sewing involved!  I'm now looking for a complimentary fabric for a few toss pillows...perhaps I'll find some at the Chicago International?  We're leaving in just a few days...OMG, my face! My hair! My nails!

Will I see you there?


Indy_Poppy said...[Reply]

The curtains are fabulous. I've been learning to sew for a while and always cringe when I hear the word "bias". I'm always worried that Ive got it wrong. It definitely looks like it makes a difference when draping so I'll have to learn to get over my fear of it. Thanks for sharing.

Catherine said...[Reply]

I love the bold stripes. I think they are a great contrast with that GORGEOUS wallpaper. It is a beautiful room!!! The cushions are really inviting. I want to shrink and spend the night in that room.

Ilona said...[Reply]

Hi "pretty smart" boy ;)!! Your curtains are gorgeous, thanks for sharing the tutorial, John. The window seat cushions are comfortable to sit for the window looking into your wintery garden ;)!
Today we had our first sunny spring day in The Netherlands. I am afraid you have to wait a bit more for spring is there on your place....
Hugs, Ilona

Catherine said...[Reply]

OOOS! I forgot to say... have a WONDERFUL time at the Bishop show. Take lots of pictures. Especially of Scott's light fixtures.

Lucille said...[Reply]

Hi John! I also love stripes! Your curtains are perfect and I love how they fall. I also love the fringe and how you made it. Interesting how you were able to mold the pelmet. I must see into getting that book you mention. Thank you so much for explaining everything so clearly.

Andy said...[Reply]

Honey! those drapes are to die for! Any doll would want to be 200 years ahead of their time for drapes like those!! I wouldn't worry about stripes on stripes, your occupants are clearly stylish, sophisticated, modern gentleman with an urban outlook and an eye for detail (I'm sure there's a shorter way of phrasing that, hmmmmm, I wonder?!!)

How busy you have been!! And NO SEWING! REALLY!? OMG!!! I have that book, so there really is no excuse is there!!! (please don't tell Fi!!).

The bed canopy and the window seat cushions look amazing too!!! I still can't believe you didn't have to pick up a needle once!

"Pretty green!" You know, I think I may have seen 'Madge' on stage at a club in Vauxhall once!! ;o)
And how kind of the ManExpert to cut in with the 'science-bit'!! They used to sell Fairy Liquid over here in a similar way, dishwashing detergent as skincare "now hands that do dishes are as soft as your face, with mild green Fairy Liquid!"

Err! where was I?

Oh John! all your curtains put me to SHAME!!! I really must try and do some!!!


Andy xxxx

John said...[Reply]

Andy, get out of that shame-vortex and MAKE CURTAINS!

Janice said...[Reply]

You definitely are pretty and smart!!

They look fabulous, I too love stripes. Plus no sewing the very best type of project.

Thank you for sharing all the processes.

Gee said...[Reply]

Hi John, Who gives a f about what 'they'in the 1830's would say about your curtains... they are just the right fabric to go with the wallpaper, in fact, I couldn't think of a fabric more appropriate, they are gorgeous!

As I am a total sucker for pelmets or anything pelmet-like (sooooooooo classy)of course I had a complete melt-down when seeing yours.

Thanks for the tuts on the curtains and seatings, I so like the baldness of this room, if this is n't a statement I dont't know what is.

p.S.: Yes, please do make lots of pictures at Miniatura! Have a fabulastic time there!

Fi.P said...[Reply] know your soaking in it!

I have left you the link for the Australian version....check the cackle at the end.....and the joke wasn't even funny!

Back to Dollhouses....LOVE the striped drapes, this room is going to be stunning and I can't wait to see it finished! Thank you for your tutorial too, you make every thing look so easy and I'm sure it's not!!

And yes Andy, no excuses now...get cracking!

ML Fi xx

John said...[Reply]

LOL I LOVE 'your' Madge, Fi!


Troy said...[Reply]

John - another great post. The stripes look great on all of your pieces. The bed canopy looks really great. Thanks for the tip on bending. I hope you find everything you are looking for in Chicago.

Margaret said...[Reply]

Pretty and smart? You're a genius, I cannot believe those curtains and the bed pelmet, now I know what can be done with resin. And the fringing is perfect, must try that too. Always love your posts and as for our Madge, she became a legend, I still prefer using Palmolive, although hope it doesn't all contain palm oil because as we know, all the rainforests are being denuded to make way for palm oil plantations?#

John said...[Reply]

No worries about the rainforest, Margaret-- Palmolive was an attempt to link soft palms with olive oil --I think! :)

miraclechicken said...[Reply]

Pretty and smart oh yeah :) Your curtains came out beautiful and your technique is brilliant. Thanks for sharing and hope you have a great time in Chicago!

Elga said...[Reply]

Of course you are pretty and smart, we all know that.

I love your curtains and windows seats, I can just picture a few nice petit point cushions on them and I know there will be some at Chicago.

Quote from a curtain book I have "By 1830 striped cotton or linen upholstery were much in evidence. It was fashionable for chairs and sofas to be upholstered in the same color as the curtains"

Pedrete said...[Reply]

¡Hola John!

¡Dios mío, el baldaquino te ha quedado genial! Me igual si es o no de esa época, es divino! Yo también cometo algún que otro anacronismo en mis casas de muñecas, es verdad que me fastidia un poco, pero si el resultado final es agradable a la vista, me da igual si es o no de época. Estoy deseando ver cómo terminas este dormitorio, seguro será algo espectacular, estoy convencido!

¡Un abrazo enorme, mi querido amigo!

Hello John!

My God, the canopy has been great! Me as if it is or not from that era, is divine! I also commit some other anachronism in my doll's houses, it is true that bothers me a little, but if the end result is easy on the eyes, I'm equally if it is or not of time. I'm looking forward to seeing how you end up this bedroom, sure it will be something spectacular, I am convinced!

A huge hug, my dear friend!

The Old Maid said...[Reply]

I love the curtains! Great job!
Guess I need that book now!;)
Big hug

Josje said...[Reply]

Oh darn it, I knew I should have booked that flight to Chicago...I could have met the most perfect man, pretty, smart AND a miniaturist with soft hands! I'll be sulking all week now.

I LOVE your choice of the bold stripes for the curtains and window seat cover, it all looks fabulous! And I love the pelmet!

Have fun at the show John!

Wyrna Christensen said...[Reply]

I love the black and white, it's so elegant and the way you've got it to hang on, give double elegant. The black and white with gold making extra elegant, so now we are up to 3 times elegant, what gives it.
It offers elegant and distinguished in a chic way.
I can not wait to see more.

I am wildly jealous of you to take to the Chicago International but I can just manage my envy, as I soon are going to Dollhouse festival her in Denmark. Therefore, I am able to wish you a nice trip to Chicago International, I can see around in blog land that you will meet many other bloggers. Hope you find just what you are missing.
Crush with the desire that the snow soon disappears.

Anna said...[Reply]

Black and white is ALWAYS a chic fashion statement, simply never goes out of style. I can tell you striped *clothing* did exist at the time...why not curtains?

Good to know about heating and bending resin molding; that would be a great way to make a bed crown...

Have fun in Chicago!

Sionchi said...[Reply]

Las cortinas son muy bonitas, a mi también me gustan las rayas y en blanco y negro están preciosas. Me he copiado los patrones para intentar hacerlas yo, gracias por compartirlos. Aquí la primavera ya ha llegado y da gusto salir a pasear, espero que pronto os llegue a vosotros... Besos

Giac said...[Reply]

Hello John,
Your drapery is just amazing. It looks absolutely wonderfula dn I love the fabric. you really make the fabric hang just right! Elegance just seems to ooze out of your pores and infect everything you do!
Big hug,

Anonymous said...[Reply]

Looks fab John!!! I should learn the techniques for Riverside!

A big hug!

Steinworks said...[Reply]

well for once I'm happy it snowed because we got this wonderful tutorial :) as for that madge commercial sisters and I used to play manicurist ..we got in trouble for using all the dishwashing soap? (we had active imgininations )

Im so J of you going to Chicago, I wish I could go


John said...[Reply]

Hi Marisa,

LOL, my grandmother used Palmolive and whenever she had a sink full of dishes I used to stick my hand in the water and yank it out screeching, "Dish washing liquid?!?" to which my poor grandma would dutifully answer: "Relax, it's Palmolive!" adman's dream.

Iris March said...[Reply]

Oh John,
What can I say? I drool over your work! It looks so simple when you do it. And you even heated and bent resin moulding! Yikes--all I can manage to do with it is heat it and have it break.

OK, I must try drapes and bending moulding. Maybe if I used Palmolive soap....

I wish I was going to the Chicago show but my life is just finally getting back to "normal", so maybe next year..

What is that gadget you used to make piping?

I keep hearing snow in the forecast for your area--we have just been having rain, thank heavens!


Liduina said...[Reply]

The curtains look fabulous! Thank you for showing how you made them. You did a perfect job!

Daydreamer said...[Reply]

John, you are more than Pretty AND Smart... you are Brilliant!!! Your Pelmet is Genius.... bending the resin!!! And the fringes are the perfect touch! Now I want to see the bed that is not put to shame by such a pelmet!!! Oh, and the curtains are more of your ...have we come to just EXPECT it... MAGIC! I have to confess that I am not normally a Stripey person... But you have made me a convert! I did notice the stripe in the wallpaper... and your use of the black and white in such a bold accent is what makes your work so DIVINE! It is Striking and Energetic with out being overdone... it makes the beautiful and Classic Toile look Fresh and cheerful! This room is shaping up to be a Show stopper!!!
Have a Great time in Chicago... I am too far away... for which my pocketbook is Thankful!!!

Norma said...[Reply]

The stripes are very swish indeed. I've never seen that piping tool but I want one! Thanks too for so much great detail on the making process.

Anonymous said...[Reply]

I honestly thought todays post was about real life curtains! The first image had me completely fooled with the little window seat. They look really wonderful in the space and I love the stripe. Look forward to seeing more of the room with the curtains now in place. :)

Daisy Rogers said...[Reply]

They are really wonderful cotton curtains. I just love their fabric material and the very first thing to notice is that they match the theme of room.
This is really outstanding!!!

Elizabeth S said...[Reply]

Hi John! I am a Big Fan of black and white stripes and I think that it adds a lot of chic to your bedroom! It is funny about that book that you took the pattern from. I found a copy of it at the thrift store and loved the cover photo but the drapes inside all looked "doll housey" until I came to one particular page and I thought " Ohh, These are GOOD!" and they turned out to be Ray Whitledge, I should have known! In any case, I think that all of your window and bed dressings are fabulous and statement making. A perfect compliment to the already stunning room.


Irene said...[Reply]

I'm VERY impressed with your curtains and window seat cushions. A big well done.

Sorry I'm late with this - I'm soooo far behind with everyone!

Fabrik ETC said...[Reply]

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