Dr. Fertility’s Raw Silk Look-Alikes

Simple casement fabric with exquisite passementarie results in fabric interpreting as raw silk

Sorry for the poor quality of photography. Ms. SpoolTeacher was much younger and digital had not been invented. She is lucky to have these as for years she just did the jobs and never took pictures.

Simple casement fabric with exquisite passementarie results in fabric interpreting as raw silk

This was a whole house project that unfolded over years. This client was a wealthy Fertility Doctor and she looked at fabrics as if with a microscope. Ms. ST would have to tell her to “back away, that is not how you will see it from a distance.” Dr. Fertility would have her face practically laying on the sample fabric and pick out tiny threads and exclaim “There is blue in there!”, which would barely be noticeable from a distance, (whether she wanted it or not). She was so meticulous that she got up on the installers ladder to “dress out” the rope trim herself to make it “perfect”-ly the way she envisioned it. Ms. SpoolTeacher, of course helped her all the while scuffing around in hospital booties over her shoes.

Simple casement fabric with exquisite passementarie results in fabric interpreting as raw silk

This treatment was made with a very basic, common, simple casement fabric; but it was lined and the trim was very exclusive and expensive Passementarie, which doubled the overall cost. The addition of the trim resulted in the overall look interpreting as if it were a raw silk fabric. These pictures do it no justice. The wonderful hand of the fabric with lining was luscious. It felt so rich and looked fabulous.

Simple casement fabric with exquisite passementarie results in fabric interpreting as raw silkMs. SpoolTeacher has always been especially good at math, but hates with a passion, the work it takes to relay fabrication details in a way that the “factory” workers, who more often than not do not understand much English, will be able to understand her intent. This is the biggest risk in Custom Drapery (curtain) making. So it must be stayed on top of and lots of visual aids provided.

This project literally almost caused Ms. SpoolTeacher to have a nervous breakdown. She had been working for years with Dr. Fertility, who could not decide until this idea was presented. Ms. SpoolTeacher was ecstatic to be finally producing it for her. But by that time, she had left the employ of the high-end, Mom/Pop, no benefits, no anything-furniture retailer she had had a six year distressing career with and jumped camp to work for JCPenney Custom Decorating. The benefits were secure, the commission was higher, the training was beyond wonderful. However, JCPenney operates in a very confined box. No this, no that. This was a fight from the beginning. Firstly, “We won’t make those cascades that long, they will flair at the bottom and the customer won’t like them…and we will never, we say never line a casement fabric!”. “Please, please? I’ve had them made this way before”, Ms. ST assured. “That workroom used those tack bar thingies and made it impossible for the folds to billow at the ends.”

She really nearly went crazy. They weren’t going to do it. She fought and fought, got her manager involved in talking to the workroom super and finally, it was a go. This was a big job involving a big, big, big commission and her reputation, (remember she had been working for years with Dr. Fertility and the Mom/Pop was much more liberal with design. Dr. Fertility expected to get her way).

Below are the initial rough measurements/drawings with details for Ms. ST to go back and render complete for workroom fabricators to have visual aids to help with all the numbers. She was assisted by the installers to retrieve all these details.

initial rough measurement drawings with details for Ms. ST to go back and render complete for workroom fabricators initial rough measurement drawings with details for Ms. ST to go back and render complete for workroom fabricators initial rough measurement drawings with details for Ms. ST to go back and render complete for workroom fabricators

She would “draft” manually, again long before the days of CAD, and draw renditions of what her measurements were to mean.

More rendered version of initial measurement drawings

More rendered version of initial measurement drawings

side by side of drawing and final interpretationHere is a blurry side by side to see how much like the drawing, the final product became.

Dr. Fertility loved, loved, loved her new window treatments.

It wasn’t long after this job that Ms. SpoolTeacher jumped ship again and took a much higher salaried job as a Design “Homer” with the newly emerging Home Depot (in the California market). They were paying top dollar then to recruit designers who had experience. Not so anymore. And they too, had the most fabulous training sessions ever, way back then. Top dollar hotels, food, equipment and instructors. That’s all gone as well.

Picture "stitching" the old fashioned way

Picture “stitching” the old fashioned way

Closer up of the trim and details

Simple casement fabric with exquisite passementarie results in fabric interpreting as raw silkAs hard as any job like this is, when it comes out exactly as you envision it, it is immensely satisfying. About as high as one can fly, without “assistance”.

She would go on to furnish these rooms and add wallpaper and other details to complete the scheme of things. Always with hospital booties over her shoes.

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