This fabric is Chantilly Onyx from the Villa Nova Orsay range. I have had this fabric in one of my Villa Nova sample books for at least a year and have never looked twice at it. However one of my trade clients recently commissioned some triple pleat curtains in the fabric and as soon as we saw it, all of the girls commented on how stunning it looked as it came off the roll while we were checking it for flaws and length.
I thought it would make a good post to show how different fabrics can look when seen in a whole length compared to a small sample in a book. It can be difficult enough to imagine how a fabric will look when made up. When dealing with a dramatic scale floral motif like this it takes artistic vision to picture the final result.
I have taken a few photos of the make up process as the curtains were created. The picture above shows how we stitch our pleats in from the top to the bottom of the buckram. We find it easier and quicker to work in that direction although I know others who prefer to work the other way. We put the needle down inside the fabric half an inch from the edge and reverse backwards to the top of the curtain, making sure to hold the two layers of fabric tight so that it doesn’t move and the top line stays level.
After a row of single pleats have been sewn in, the curtain is then taken to the table and the triple pleats are folded into place. We do this by pinching the centre of the pleat and pushing down towards the stitching line. The central edge is brought towards one outer edge and pinched together and then the other edge is brought across creating the triple pleat effect.
We have a selection of metal clips in the workroom that we use to hold the pleats in place once the triple pleat is made. I like to use these plastic Snopake clips that my husband picked up at Staples stationery store. They are less fierce than traditional metal bulldog clips which can mark delicate fabrics. The clips stay in place until the stab stitches and oversew at the top are complete.
We always hang the curtain up to dress and bandage before delivery to the customer. For bandages I cut strips of lining about 2″ wide from left over scraps and tie them with a simple bow knot. The knot must be tight enough to hold them firmly in place but not so tight that they leave a mark.
Dressing the curtain is a quick process using the pins in the hem technique shown last month. The curtain is usually left bandaged for several days to let the folds set and then the curtains are put into polythene tubing ready for delivery to the customer. The bandages are not removed until the curtains are hung.
This last picture shows the completed curtain after all the folds have set. The morale of the story is that a fabric always looks completely different when made up compared to how it looks in the sample book.