Decorating a Home Library in Black and Gold

My clients had a small room across the foyer from their dining room we had just finished.  While I was flattered that by this time I had enough of their confidence, they said just decorate it and make it look good.  I suggested they let me think about the room and get back to them with ideas.<br>


To my way of thinking every room should have a purpose.  I came back to them with four suggestions.  A music room, a library, a dressy intimate dining area, or a room to serve all three purposes.  We settled on the fourth.  Essentially it is a library that can serve the other purposes.<br>

On the right is the rough sketch I provided for what I hoped the back wall of out library would look like.

The clients had seen a black and gold neoclassic room set in my studio. The husband had particularly liked it, so we decided to do that theme in the library.

The first thing that came to mind for seating in this small room was a pair of swan arm settees.  When I contacted the company I had gotten them from before I learned that they had discontinued them.  I then remembered I had used them for a bachelor client's living room.  He had since married and had told me his wife didn't like them.  He still had them in the navy and red stripe we had ordered them in.  I bought them back redid the gold leaf trim striped them and recovered them in the black and gold stripe.<br>

We selected Fabrics and wallpaper for the room.

I then sketched three original window treatment designs.  Two had round cornices the shape of the window tops and one had a square top with the shape of the window cut out of the bottom.<br>

The square top one was chosen by my clients.

We decided to upholster the cornice in black velvet with inserts of a black and gold trellis like pattern that the wife was especially fond of.  Black silk was selected for the swag and jabots

and tie back panels.     Black gold tassel fringe and rope trim was used as well.<br>

While I worked constructing cornices, drapes and recovering settees, my client worked with my sketch and a cabinet maker to get the back wall finished.>br>

A beautiful neoclassic pair of sconce lights were ordered from Decorative Crafts.  My client and I went to a bookstore on Third Street, Midtown Harrisburg and found good buys on several old books.

An internet search produced necessary neoclassic art prints.<br>

The large and heavy porcelain bowl with bronze ormolu makes a bold statement under the framed print in the center of the wall.   The shelves were arranged with books and various mementos and accessories new and old.  It is a room I and my clients are proud of.<br>

Tie backs echo the insert in the cornice boards


I hope you enjoyed sharing this experience with me.<br>

Bill Gantt

Making an elaborate wood and fabric cornice board

1/2" scale drawing for Window Treatment

As with all my projects a 1/2" scale drawing was done of the proposed window treatment.


Inspiration was drawn from an interesting antique bed that was to be used in the room.  The panels in the headboard have fabric inserts.  I suggested we repeat the fabric insert idea in the upholstered cornice and echo the dark wood finish of the furniture.  The idea was well received and the project begun.

The main part of the cornice is constructed out of plyboard.

I have shown basic construction on other cornice blogs so I will not here.  The only difference between this basic construction and others is that the top is cut to extend beyond the front and ends about 2 1/2" to accept the small crown molding to be added.

A circle pattern was made on paper.  The paper was folded double, evened out , placed on the  front, traced with a marker and cut out with a sabre saw.

Small crown molding was added to the top, a sash bead molding and 1" square wooden strip to the bottom.  The square strip covered the plyboard edge on the bottom.

Small crown added to top and stained

1" bottom finish strip ans sash bead molding

 Nail holes were filled.  All wood that would show was stained and given a satin finish.

A layer of polyester furniture batting is spot stapled in place.

Relief cut made at corner

The velvet is pre cut to a few inches longer and wider than the surface to be covered.

I mark the center front top and bottom and staple the fabric tight from middle to end both directions.  When going around the corners with moldings it is necessary to cut "relief" cuts.

They are cut from the edge of the fabric up to the corner you are rounding.  They keep the molding from preventing the fabric from fitting snugly.

Turn the cornice face down.  Cut the outline of the  circled part out.  Keep your cut about 3" from the


Nex cut relief cuts about every 2 or 3 "apart.

Start in the top part of the rounded shape, pull each "tab" tight and staple.  As you do this watch how the front is looking.  You want the front to look smooth and even.

On the center strip cut off excess fabric.

The edge will either need a welt cord to finish it or a trim as shown here.  Note:  The ends of cording must be taped before cutting to prevent unraveling.  I also secured the end with a staple.

The white edge "lip" is stapled so that it is concealed in the thickness of the plyboard when the next step is completed.

Cut 2' bias strips of fabric.  Put the face of the bias fabric against the "lip" of the cord and staple it in place.

Now come back with 3/4" cardboard furniture stripping.  Staple the stripping so that it aligns  with the outside edge of the board.  The purpose of the striping is to give you a smooth edge.

Once the stripping is on come back, pull the bias fabric snug around to the back and staple.  You will need to cut relief cuts in it as well.

Now it is time to make double welt cord.  This will be used to cover staples and finish the edges.

making a double welt

Second cord laid next to covered one

First cover one cord. Using the zipper foot stitch close to the cord.  Be sure to keep the fabric tight on the cord. I like to keep the edge the width of the foot.

Second cord is being stitched over stitch of first cord

Next lay the second cord next to the covered one.

Keeping the fabric flat, roll the covered cord to the

right and over top of the uncovered cord.

Using the straight stitch foot stitch on top of the stitch from covering the first cord.

It will look like the picture to the right.

Carefully trim off excess fabric.

Fabric is stripped back before ends of cord are removed

White fabric glue is put on the back of welt.

Before starting to attach the double welt I peel back the fabric and pull about an inch of cord and cut it off.  I then fold over the end and staple on the seam for a clean start.

With the end anchored with a staple white fabric glue is used to help attach the double welt.

It is good to staple at corners and every 12" or so to help hold the weld while and after the glue dries.  The double welt covers the staples .  I could have used gimp or trim.  On this design I wanted the emphasis on the open part so that was the obvious place to use the multi color trim.

If you look closely you can see where I put a cautionary staple.

When the project is complete it will hardly be noticeable.

Now that the double welt is in place top and bottom, it is time to work on the fabric insert.

A piece of luan  (1/4") ply board is cut to fit the inside of the cornice front.  It is the inside dimensions except that it is cut 1/2" shorter top to bottom. 

The outline of the circles are traced on the board.  Then another line is drawn parallel to the first 2" farther out.  This margin will assure that no edges show when the panel is put in place.

Check the length from center to the line. cut a piece of fabric the longest length and 3 times the fullness of the bottom width.

Measure the circumference of the half circle.  If for example it is 30" divide by a number you think will give you an answer of somewhere between 2 and 3.  That will be the number of folds you will have.  Thumbtack the center of the fabric to the center of the circle top and bottom.  Start at the center top and tack the fabric at the pre planned points.  At the bottom center you will pull the fabric to create the center pleat.  You will keep adjusting the amount of fabric in the fold until it stands up as shown.  Do the same til the end.  You will have to adjust the folds periodically until it looks good.  Then put some long staples to be sure it is attached.  Repeat the process on the other half.  When the bottom is done, use 1/4" staples and attach the fabric where the thumb tacks are.

There is no professional way to say this, but when all the fabric is stapled and secure, knall of the wad at the bottom with your scissors.

When both fans are finished I attached a strip of fabric that covered the bottom inch of the fans and the laun wrapped it around and attached to the back of the laun.  This way the bottom edge is covered and neat.

The panels are fit inside the cornice, the inside is lined in fabric lining and it is


How To Mitre Stripes

Original stripe of Three colors of silk and velvet mitred

I love to work with stripes!   Mixed with other patterns and solids , they are a great way to create interest and detail into a room design.   I use them to make interesting trims or accents on drapes  pillows and table cloths.

Pattern after first fold

How to mitre a stripe

Cut a piece of lining a few inches larger than you want the finished product.

Fold the fabric diagonally-corner to corner.  Press it with an iron.


Fold the piece diagonally again-opposite corners to corner-Press.

Pattern after second fold and lined up for cut

You will have a triangle shape about 1/4 the size of the original piece.  This is your pattern.

Place your triangle pattern on the striped fabric.  Make sure the

bottom of your pattern is aligned with the bottom stripe.   Also

It is a good idea to position the pattern so that the top point of

the triangle is over a large stripe.  This will make it easier to get

a neat square when you sew the 4 pieces together.

Cut your first triangle shape with the folded white lining pattern.

Two pieces sewn together

Then use the first striped triangle shape you cut as the pattern

for the next 3.   This helps assure that all four pieces will be

exactly alike.

Seam together two triangles, then seam together the other two.

Press the seams flat.

These pieces need to be turned face to face before being sewn

Place one set of sewn together triangles face up.  Put the other

set on top with the face down.   Be careful to perfectly align

the center seams.   Pin together.

Starting at the middle seam sew toward the outside point .

Then starting at the middle seam again sew to the other outside point.

Stripe trim being cut

Often I make a trim by cutting a stripe from a fabric.

It is much easier to mitre the entire pillow than to just try to sew the trim on and mitre the corners.

Many times the grain of even a solid fabric can give an interesting subtle effect when mitred.

Velvet triangles cut for two pillow faces

On these pillows the fabric is velvet which has a nap.  If done properly the differing directions of the nap when mitred will give a nice subdues effect.

To save on waste I have cut the triangles two directions.  With the velvet I must use all the triangles with the point up as cut for one pillow and the other, point down triangles for the second pillow.

Trim being applied to solid velvet

Measure an sew the trim stripe on each triangle at the same place.

Solid velvet and velvet stripe - red for covered  button

Finished pillow

As my pictures show you can even mitre a plaid.  I have mitred pillows using floral prints.   You can

even use the same technique on round pillows.   Just cut the lining a few inches larger than you want

the finished circle.  Fold the circle in half-press, fold it in half again-press.   Repeat the process

until you have the size triangles you want.  A round looks best with 6 or 8.

Mitred trim frames dog prints

Mitred dining room chair seat

"Explosion" pillow and small mitred pillow

Another type of mitre I have done is when a stripe is used to trim the outside edge of a pillow or table cloth.  If the stripe is used parallel to the edge of the item the methods described earlier work.

If however, the stripe is to be applied perpendicular to the edge of the fabric another issue arises

Fabric on the right is being aligned to be mitred


With a smaller multicolor stripe like shown here you will be able to mitre 3 corners at the same point in pattern and one mitre that will be at a different point.  With a stripe like this it is not so noticeable as with a bold 2 or 3color stripe.

For a project like this cut the large center piece of fabric and add a welt or trim on the edge.

Cut your stripes to the desired width.  To save fabric I usually join them all together end to end being extremely particular about the match so the seam is almost invisible

For this method, cut the strip of trim fabric the length of the center piece and add double the width of the trim fabric plus a few inches.  For example if the stripe trim fabric is 5" wide, add about 12" to your first cut.  With the trim fabric on the bottom facing up and the center fabric on top facing down, sew on top of the seam of the center piece trim seam.

Because this stripe is not balanced-one side is different than the other(see the cream colored grosgrain stripe next to the blue stripe) the next strip must be turned upside down to get a mitre.

Fabric trim is mitred and pressed 

Although I don't show it on the picture I recommend once you determine the edge that will be sewn to the center piece, you press over 1/2" along the top.  That is where you will be sewing.  Now put it next to the last corner and turn under one side to a 45 degree angle. If the edge of the trim stripe is perpendicular to the stripe showing on the upturned wrong side, it is 45 degrees.  Do the same with the piece you are adding. When they are perfectly aligned press a crease into both pieces.

Creased angles being sewn together

Now carefully fold the entire pillow face on the diagonal.  Noting the pattern, pin the two pieces of trim fabric face to face.  Be certain  that the angled creases you pressed in are one on top of the other.

Starting from the

outside edge

 sew the creases together with a medium stitch.  Be sure to lock the stitch on the outside edge.  nSew toward the center piece of the pillow or cloth.  When you reach the center piece trim keep as close to the corner as you can. Lock your stitch.

It is most likely that you may have to pick one or two out and redo them.  All the years I have been doing this I usually have one or so that I have to do twice until I'm satisfied.

underside of a successful mitre.

When the first corner is done to your satisfaction sew that strip up to the next corner.

Turn the fabric upside down(for this kind of stripe).  And find the point in pattern that will match the stripe at the top corner.  Turn the sewn piece so it is at a 45 degree angle(check to see if the face stripe is perpendicular to the stripe showing on the wrong side).  Pin it to your table.  Now do the same to the strip you are going to attach.  When the match is good press to mark and sew.

Last corner on the right. the part of the stripe to be eliminated in the middle

When you get to the last corner you no longer have the ability to shift the trim strip for a match.  With a mulit color smaller stripe, you find the pattern match on the corner.  Pulling as much fabric into that section as you need to match the first strip.  Press it into place and pin.  Now look at the excess fabric in the last trim strip and find a place where the pattern can be cut and joined will not be noticeable. For example on this one I paid attention to the location of the green and blue stripes.  The piece sticking up in the middle is where the fabric is coming out.

Once you find the place lay the fabric one direction and press in a crease then lay it the other direction and press in a crease.Be sure the fabric is always touching when your do the pressing.  Turn the fabric strip face to face.  With the center crease in the middle, line up and pin the other two creases together.  Lock your stitches and sew the two together.  Do not cut the excess off until you are certain everything lines up. Sew the upper edge of the last strip to the center piece and sew your last mitre in the corner.  All four corners are mitred and look great.

Bold stripe trim pieces laid out and checked with a framing square

If the finished size necessary for the piece is flexible, another approach that will get

all 4 corners mitred the same

, is to mitre the outside trim first and then attach the center piece when that is done.  With a bold or two color stripe this can often be the only way.  Unlike the stripe I showed you in the earlier example, stripes like these make eliminating part of the stripe on the last piece to get the mitre impossible.  Also with such a bold pattern you are much more likely to be annoyed with one corner having a different part of the pattern in the  mitre.

Trim strips adjusted to make a rectangular pillow

Because you must do a bold stripe this way you are only able to adjust the size of the pillow by the width of the stripe or by the repeat.

This stripe has a 9" repeat, so you can have a 27" by 27" square pillow or a 27"by 18" rectangle pillow.

  You are only limited by your creativity.

Good luck and please tell your friends about my blog.

Bill Gantt

How to make fancy reversible pillow shams

Other side of sham

No well dressed traditional bedroom should be without beautiful pillow shams.

I always make mine reversible and as fancy as my client will allow.  They really are the most important decorative item on the bed.


This embroidered linen floral is what the room scheme is built around, but the shams are the only place I used it.  I know that is all the exposure it will need in the room.

Because my plans called for silk to be pleated around the outer 4" of the sham it was necessary to have the lining to pin and sew it to.

lining cut the finish size of the sham

8" long corner pieces cut.

A 4" margin is measured and marked on  the lining.  When the lines intersect it becomes obvious that the corner fabric will have to be longer than  the rest.  Pleating requires 3 times the length the finished piece is to be.  Accordingly several 6" pieces of silk were cut equivalent to three times  the length of the sides and ends of the pillow.  All lengths were sewn together.

4 pieces of silk were cut 8"  wide and about 12" long. One for each corner.

Starting in the corner with the 8" piece the silk is pinned on both sides and the pleating begins.  To fan the fabric out around the corner it is necessary to use hardly any fabric in the outside pleat and very much more on the inside pleats. I planned for my pleats to be about 3/4" wide.  Once the corner piece is pinned you can simply slip about 4" of the 5" wide silk under the corner piece, pin and continue to pleat.  Always fold the fabric in the same direction as you pleat.  I don't often have the patience to measure things like this but go by sight.  If you are more comfortable measuring do so.  

first side pleated , tieing into the corner

To measure for a 3/4" pleat, pinch your first pleat so that it's fold has 3/4" inches of fabric on both sides.  Pin it flat to the table.  Place your ruler's 1 1/2" mark on the outline of the fold under the pleated fabric.   Fold your fabric to the 3/4" mark, hold in place pull out the ruler and pin top and bottom.  Repeat the process until reaching the next corner.   Cut the fabric about 4" longer than the last pleat.   Fold the first pleat of your corner fabric and pin it over the 4" of 5" pleating fabric.

Also pin the fabric even with the guide line drawn on the lining.  Let the excess go beyond

the lining. Repin all the pleats to the lining.  Sew the top edge 1/4" in from the edge of the silk.  Flip the lining and silk over and sew the outer edge of the lining to the pleated silk.  Sew it also 1/4" in from the edge.

Measure and cut the main-center piece of fabric.

It should lay about 5/8" over the pleat top on all sides.  Make a 1/4" welt cord or use a lip cord trim.  

Sew the welt or trim piece to the edge of the fabric with a 1/2" seam.

Position the trimmed center piece of fabric on top of the pleated fabric.  Pin in  place and with your zipper foot stitch it as close as possible to the edge trim.  Be careful that the lip of the cord stays folded under.

If you want more now it's time to start the other side.

Other side of the reversible sham.

Initially my plan was for the other side of the pillow sham to be covered in the main floral fabric only.  But I had a little of the drape and dust skirt fabric left and couldn't stand the thought of one side being so fancy and the other side plain.

This time there is no lining needed because there is no pleating.  I cut the center the same size as used on  the other side, covered a 1/4" cord in velvet left from the bed cover and sewed it to the main fabric.  The stripe was cut with a total of 1" seam allowances.   The amount of stripe left only allowed me to cut the pieces with the stripes running toward the center of the pillow.  There is a reason you don't see stripes done this way often.  The reason is that for it to look right the corners must be mitred.

All strips were sewn together end to end.  Care was taken to be careful to get a perfect pattern match for an almost invisible seam.

To do this you do one side at a time.  Sew the first strip allowing about an inch more than the width of the strip on each end.  Place it on the sewing machine with the center piece on top and the stripe strip on the bottom, so you can stitch over top of the trim seam on the center piece.

Here the second strip is being aligned to the first one sewn

If you look closely at this particular stripe, each stripe has a grosgrain type on one side only.

Because of the grosgrain stripe it is necessary to turn the next strip of fabric upside down to get the mitre.  In the picture you can see that the grosgrain stripe next to the blue stripe is on the left of the blue and on the right of it on  the other strip. 

Turning the strip would not be necessary if each stripe was balanced(the same on both sides).

While I am not showing it in this picture, aligning the corner mitre would be easier if the

top of the strip were turned down 1/2" (your seam allowance).   The easiest way to check the angle of the corner fold is to be sure the edge of the strip is perpendicular to the stripe seen on the underside of the fabric.

Stitch the two pieces together on crease made by ironing.  

Corners pressed for seam mark

ready to be folded and pinned for sewing

Once you are sure the corners are properly matched, press a crease on the fabric.  Carefully pin the crease of each fabric face to face being sure the creases and pattern line up.  Sew with a medium stitch from the outside corner toward the center.  As you get to the center piece trim, sew as close a possible to the corner of the trim and LOCK your stitch by sewing in reverse a few stitches.  Most likely you will have to redo corners a few times until they are acceptable.   All the years I've been doing this I usually have to rework some until I am satisfied.  Don't get frustrated.  Pick out the stitch and consider the first time as creating reference points that will help you get it right the second time.

Under side of mitre after sewn

All this works well until you get to the 4th corner.   How do you make it miter correctly?  With some bold or simple 2 color stripes you may actually have to cut the strips first, lay them out in  a rectangle or square depending on the pillow you want to finish with.

Center is checked for square before corner is pressed, pinned and sewn

As you can see once you have the strips laid out you can adjust for size by adjusting all four corners.  This of course means if all corners are going to be the same the size and repeat of the stripe will dictate the sizes possible.

Repeat of 9" allows for a 27"

 square or a 18" x 27" rectangle

As you can see this stripe has a 9" repeat so the pattern allows for a 27" x 27" square pillow.  If I want a rectangle it would have to be 27" by 18".

That is the big disadvantage of bordering a pillow with a large stripe running perpendicular to the edge of the center piece of the pillow.

Final stripe pieces is readied to finish pillow.

With a small multi color stripe not having the 4th corner match the other 3 is not as important as with a large bold stripe.  It is important, however that the corner be mitred.  With this kind of stripe it is possible to remove some of the stripe in the middle of the piece.  As you can see in the picture the corner is first matched for the final mitre.  Then it is determined what part of the stripe can be removed to shorten the piece to achieve the final mitre.  The piece standing up was pressed each direction to create a marking crease.  A tight stitch was used to sew crease to crease.  It was then cut and seam pressed open.  The final mitre was done.

Brush fringe is attached to one side of the pillow.

Brush fringe was attached to one side of the pillow.

The final step is to sew both sides together.

Both pieces were pinned face to face.  The pleated silk edge is not even, but it was stitched 1/4" from the edge of the lining.  Since it was easy to watch edge with the brush fringe sewn on, that part is put down and the side with the silk is watched.   Start on a long side that you determine will be the bottom.  Start about 6" from the corner and sew toward the shorter side.   Continue around the edge until you reach the long side you started on.  Only sew in 6" again. Lock the stitch well.   The space not sewn is where you will sew velcro for an invisible closure which allows the sham to be reversible.   Always sew the hook side(more plastic side) on the edge the brush fringe is sewn to.  Sew the loop side on the opposite side.   The fringe trim is less apt to get caught on the hook velcro if it is sewn this way.


I hope this was helpful and understandable.

Bill Gantt

How to make a "fitted' bed spread

Measurements and fabric estimate for fitted spread

When the bedroom is completed I will add a picture of the dressed bed here.  

First you must get accurate measurements of :

     The Top of the Mattress- width and length

         If the top is rounded like on a pillow top mattress, you may want to mark where you measure with a straight pin on each side and top and bottom.

      Next measure the length of the sides and bottom.   If you marked with a straight pin, measure from the pin to where you want the spread to end.  If there is to be no dust skirt, to the floor.  If there is to be a dust skirt plan at least 4" below the top of the box spring.  As a double check I also like to note the measurement from top to where the spread will end and the same way across.  The two measurements for each direction should add up to this one.  If you look at my notes you will see that I forgot to get a measurement for the width of the top of the mattress, but did get a total measurement.  By deducting the length of the two side pieces I was able to determine what width to make the top without returning to the clients house.

Make a clear drawing and put your measurements on it.  

This spread is velvet.  It is important when working with velvet to be sure the knap is going the direction you plan.  On a spread I always face the knap so that when you rub your hand down the bed top toward the bottom the knap is laid down.  Because I did not want seams on the side pieces and to match the knap  I cut them lengthwise off the fabric. After looking carefully at the velvet I determined to cut the bottom the same way to avoid seams there as well.


Using a framing square I first made certain that the end coming off the bolt was square.  Next I measured up the roll to the finish length I wanted.

I added 1/2 seam allowance for the bottom and about 4" to the top.  Often times after the piece is made the top needs to be re-squared and you will need seam allowance for the top as well.

Since the top measurement is wider than the fabric width, it was necessary to cut another length of the fabric.  I prefer to be extra cautious when cutting the pieces to be added to the center piece.  To get an idea how wide they need to be deduct the width of the fabric from the planed finish width of the top piece.  You will need to add 1 1/2" seam allowance to both strips.  I usually get the measurement and add 3" to it.  Also it is good to cut the piece a few inches longer than the first piece to allow for shifting when you sew.   Pin the pieces face to face and sew together with a small stitch( this fabric has a 100,000 double rub rating and I expect this spread to last a good 25 or more years) .  I don't want the stitches to start to loosen before that time.  With velvet make sure the knap is in the right direction as well.  Once sewn together I fold it double, pin it seam on top of seam, divide the finish width in half add 1/2" seam allowance measure out from the center fold and mark the edge.  I then mark and cut off the excess.

Cut and stitch together lining in the same fashion to the same exact dimensions.  Lay the lining aside

The excess on each side has been marked and is ready to be cut off


bottom corners are marked for rounding

The mattress corners  are never square so round them as shown here.

Trim cording is added to top piece.

In this case I am finishing the top edge with a roped cord.  When sewing a lipped cord, always 

place the cord so the part where the lip is sewn on is next to your zipper foot.  The lip will be 1/2" wide.  Sew tight against the cord. 

Lay the top piece aside with it's lining.

Now it is time to make the two side pieces and the bottom piece.

From the piece cut to seam on to the top, cut your side pieces and if possible the bottom.  In this case I only had enough for sides and had to cut off the bolt for the bottom.  Cut the side pieces the finish width as shown on your diagram + 4". 

Cut the lining the same top to bottom and the length of the fabric less 4".  Pin the ends together and sew.  Lay the pieces flat.  You should have 1 1/2"

of fabric folding over fabric on each end.  Pin the bottom(if velvet be sure to check the direction of the knap and select the bottom so the knap will be going in the correct direction).  Sew the bottom with a 1/2" seam.  Turn right side out.     Press and run a 1/4" seam along the top of each piece.

Ends sewn ready for bottom to be sewn

Panel turned ready for top 1/4" seam

Lay side and bottom pieces face to face on the unlined center piece.  Pin in place and attach with a 1/2" seam.

Corner pieces ready to be added

Make two panels using the same technique as with the side and bottom panels.  These should be 1" shorter than the other panels and about 8" wide.

Center them on the corners, pin and attach with a 1/2'" seam on top of the bottom and side panels.

Final lining being prepared for sewing

Now, retrieve the large lining made early on.

Put the spread on the table face down.

Fold both side pieces, bottom piece and corner pieces on to the middle piece.  It is a good idea to pin the corner pieces to the side and bottom panel.  Pinning them helps keep you from accidentally stitching them into your lining seam.

Place the lining on top of all of this and pin it

all around the edges except at the top.  Attach

Spread after turning

lining with a 1/2' seam.  When sewing run through the machine with the lining down so you can sew over the previous seam.

Turn so the lining is out.  By doing it this way you have no exposed seams on the underside of your spread.  Turn any excess fabric and lining under so the top is even and straight.  Top stitch it closed 1/4" from the edge.


I hope you found this to be useful.

Bill Gantt

How to slipcover a wooden chair

 You may notice as you follow this blog that the fabrics may change in the photos.  That is because I made two different slip covers for the same set of chairs.  It seems every time I think I have the best way to cover a wooden chair down, I come up with a new variation.  The same happened with these chairs.  I am convinced that the second way is best.  Just remember that each new chair can have it's own peculiarities which may require you to adjust your approach.

When my client dropped of this little chair I immediately noticed that the seat had very little padding and was hard.  I decided to add padding to the slip cover.

In hind sight I should have repadded the seats of all 4 chairs before starting the slipcovers.

  It was a lot more work to include a place in the seat of the slipcover for removable padding.   On the first set of covers I attached them to the chair with several ties.

On the second set I only used two ties on the back and attached the rest with velcro.  The extra padding is simply put on top of the seat and the slipcover put on top of that.   It was much easier to do and I think the results were better.

I will show the second way here.

I am partial to making the back out of one piece and making the seat and skirt as a separate piece.  I can't find a good reason why these two sections need to be sewn together so I keep them separate.

Measure the back of the chair from highest point to the floor and the widest point horizontally.   On this type of slip cover, keeping the back separate from the seat requires the skirt part to wrap around the chair about six inches on each side.  Since these were cheap little chairs that will always be covered I used thumb tacks to hold the fabric in place.  When it is not possible to use thumb tacks pieces of masking tape should do the job.

Note: The picture shows the top of the "wrap around' for the skirt cut on a downward angle.

  It is better to cut that part on an upward angle.


Using muslin or lining center the fabric on the back of the chair.  Since I am wrapping the bottom part to lap over or under the skirt, I also wrap the top around the thickness of the top.  Carefully smooth the fabric in place and attach it to the chair.  If the back has a lot of shape in it you will either need a few well placed darts or may want to make the side part separate and seam the back and side together.

Once the back fabric is smooth and in place, rub the side of your pencil lead on the edge to mark it.

When the chair has a wooden back I can't resist using the slipcover to make the chair more comfortable, so if you're only doing one chair save the lining  used to make the inside pattern.  Using the same method as on the outside back mark the lining for the inside back pattern.  Leave about 6" extra fabric on the bottom and mark it go around the vertical back pieces and hang behind the seat.  One of the last things you will do is add a piece of loop velcro to this to attach to the back of the seat piece.

After marking the edges on the pattern, remove it, lay it out flat and measure out 1/2" for seam allowance.  This is the line where you will cut the lining.

I use a fine tipped marker to mark the pattern pieces and where they connect.  I usually mark where the fabric pieces are to come together on the final fabric with a marker as well.  Just be careful to stay in the seam allowance.

While it may be tempting to avoid the next step, don't.  Using your largest stitch sew the lining pieces together and put them on the chair as you go.  It is a lot easier and cheaper to correct a problem on lining than on the finish fabric.

In this case you can see if have some rippling along the side.  Kn owing that I will be using ties on the front corners that will pull the back down smooth eliminates concern.  I also learn from my pattern that the back can be made from one piece of fabric, not the two I originally thought I needed.

With the back pattern completed to my satisfaction, I move on to dealing with the uncomfortable seat.  I cut a piece of 2" medium density foam a few inches smaller than the seat.  The edges if the foam are rounded to blend into the seat.  Eventually 2 thicknesses of polyester furniture batting are added as well.

To make the seat cover you


 have to use thumbtacks, but even on a good chair this is not a problem.  The seat must fit tight.   Once again lining is cut more than large enough to fit over the seat and the new foam, is pulled down until I am satisfied it will look good.  The edges are marked and it is taken of and cut.  Notice the marking for the rounded front corners.  If a more tailored look was wanted it could have been "boxed".  That is a top cut, welted and a 3 or 5" inch band attached and the band in turn attached under the seat.

As with all patterns it is folded double and cut to assure it is balanced.  Sew it together with a large stitch and put it into position.  Sometimes the first one doesn't work and you have to do a second until it is right.  It won't be the first time or the last that has happened  

That is why you make a pattern first.

With this piece as with the earlier ones a 1/2" allowance was made beyond the marked edge.  The edges you are going to sew


 have an accurate allowance so it fits the way you planned it.

Here you see the seat cover after the sewing has been done.  Thumbtacks hold it taunt and in  place.  Another line is marked on  the edge of the under side of the chair on the lining.  The pattern will be cut


 this line.  You might make a note to that effect on your pattern.   When the final fabric is cut. this edge will be overlocked and loop velcro sewed against the edge.

Chair seat with the pattern stretched in place.   Notice that the top corners do not fit smoothly.  Even though the bottom edges were marked, I had to tailor the seam further to the top so it would lay smoothly.

Once everything is fitted and marked, it is time to take your pattern apart and use it to cut out the slip- cover fabric.

                                                                         As I said earlier, I like to use the slipcover to make the chair more comfortable.  If you look closely at the picture you can see my pattern for the inside back.  So as not to have batting add thickness to my seam, the batting is cut 1/2" smaller than the pattern.  The batting is then attached with a seam


in from the pattern edge.

Now the main fabric which was cut the exact size as the pattern, is placed on top of the pattern face up.  In this case I elected to add a welted trim which is sewn with a 1/2" seam allowance.  Now the two pieces are sewn together with the planned 1/2" seam allowance.  If you are doing more than one chair you will have cut extra inside back patterns to line your padded inside back piece.

Next the seat fabric is cut to match the pattern.  The two front/top seams are sewn and turned.  Remember no seam allowance was made to the bottom edges because loop velcro is now sewn to the  back side of the edges of the four sides where they will attach to the under sides of the chair.

On the back edge, just above the loop velcro just sewn, sew a strip of loop velcro to the face of the seat fabric.  The padded inside back panel will attach here to the seat piece.

Because I elected to add a welt trim to my chair, it is necessary to topstitch the trim to my seat piece now.

This is done by marking the pattern when held in place with thumb tacks.  Place the chair on a hard flat surface and measure up to the height where you want the skirt to start.  Using a yardstick mark the pattern, front and two sides: every few inches the height you determined the skirt should be attached.  When the three sides are marked take the pattern off , use a straightedge and join your marks together.

This measurement plus

one 1/2"

seam allowance will be the length you cut your skirt fabric.  Nothing is allowed for seam allowance on the bottom because you want the skirt yo be 1/2" above the floor.  When you line the skirt that 1/2" seam will make the skirt the right length to be 1/2" off the floor.

Lay the pattern above each corresponding edge of the seat fabric.  Measure and mark the seat fabric the same as the pattern.  This is where the top of my welt will be.

If there is no welt, you will measure down 1/2" from this mark and make a second mark.  This will be where the edge of the skirt will be placed.

Sewing 1/2" up from this mark will put the stitch exactly on the first mark.  The top of the skirt will start at that seam.

Welt is attached with a zipper foot with the top of the cord

where the skirt will be attached.

In this case after the welt is attached the skirt is placed face to face with the seat fabric.  The edge is kept just on top of the edge of the 1/2" selvedge edge of the welt cord and sewn on tight against the cord,

Skirt is attached to seat part

Here you see the  skirt after it was attached to the seat.  Notice that the peacock is centered.  Often a pleat is put on each front corner.  Because this skirt fabric is a thick upholstery fabric I elected not to do pleats. It would have added too much bulk as well as been difficult to sew.  Hook velcro was stapled to all four sides of the chair frame and the seat is held in place with it.

The outside back fabric was cut according to the pattern, hemmed and edges turned over and stitched.  A tie was added to two corners and the loop velcro that attaches to the lower back added.

Seat hook velcro where inside back attaches

Velcro tabs are added to hold the wrap around

part of the skirt in place

A purple covered button finishes off

the turn over back skirt.

I hope this was helpful.  Be sure to check out all my HOW TO blogs.  

Bill Gantt

Decorating a Master Bedroom

Clients I had helped about 13 years ago with their living room, which they are still enjoying; contacted me about helping with the Master Bedroom.


The room had pinch pleated curtains, sill height, blue carpet and two papers on the wall.  Dividing a wall horizontally always makes the ceiling look lower and the room busier.  It also had a corner window which is always difficult to deal with.

The clients were open to change.



In this "after" shot  the room looks more serene and open.  We selected a pale greenish tan paper with a subtle stripe design.  It lightens the room and ads height.   We eliminated the dated headboard and added a very high upholstered headboard.  The headboard and comforter are both covered in contract grade velvet and should last for years and years.

The First element to be selected in the design was the beautiful embroidered aqua fabric.

Before , dresser with very out dated mirrors

I couldn't resist Quilting the fabric for the center of

the shams

After,  Room is much lighter and open feeling. When the top of the dresser is better

accessorized  this area will be complete.

On the throw pillow I cut out one

aqua oval in the center and replaced

it with the velvet of th comforter.

Because the loose curtains were being replaced with more tailored cornices and roman shades.  It was necessary to make sheers that were attached at the bottom as well as the top.  Loose sheers would get caught up in the romans when they were put up.  On the other hand my clients like to take advantage of fresh air on temperate nights. Having the shades attached at the bottom in the traditional manner would make it impractical to remove them except for occasional cleaning.  I was able to resolve this problem by holding the sheers down with large cup hooks at the bottom and when the window is open the bottom rod will rest on cup hooks put 3/4 the way up the window.

After, Windows look much more tailored

Now the windows look much more tailored.  My clients have daytime privacy and can open the windows easily.  The bold stripe used in the gantt roman shades was also used on the dust ruffle and on the pillow shams.  Just enough to liven things up without taking too much attention.

Before ,

Trim painted the softer hue of the velvet

                                                                                                                            As with all my jobs there were compromises and the finished job is one I am proud of and my clients will enjoy at least as long as they have their living room.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

How to make a corner upholstered cornice board

As far as I am concerned, corner windows were a perverse invention.  They are also difficult to dress.  In this case I decided to make an upholstered cornice board and gantt roman shades do the job.

You probably can't  understand how many ways making a corner treatment messes with your perception.   Before I began work, I measured and drew the outline of the cornice board.  I made a template of what the top should be and then went to the client's house and literally held it up against the ceiling to be sure it was right.

Once I knew I had a good outline of the top I could cut out the pieces and glue and screw the pieces together.  I didn't want it to be too deep and take space out of the average size room.

The form is shown on the right.


The structure is then covered with furniture batting and the fabric is attached as with any upholstered cornice board.

In this case a gold braid was added to the top to accentuate the metallic gold in the fabric.

The bottom was kept flat with no shaping.

The design of the plaster decorative elements allowed me to trim one down to the scale of the small window and keep the original size for the larger one.

The plaster elements were attached as a part of installation.  They had to be positioned over the center of the actual window which means they are not centered on each board.

The stripe of the roman shades help add the needed vertical effect under the very horizontal top treatments.

I hope this was useful. Please let me know what you think.

Bill Gantt

Decorating a client' s Billiard Room

When I was called into the job my clients had a huge basement space with gold carpet from the previous owners, a fancy oak built in bar, a massive dark (almost black) brown leather sectional and large wall mounted TV.  They had just painted the walls a color close to the carpet color.  The bar featured three pendant lights with orange glass shades.   I was told they wanted the room to look more pulled together and better accommodate large informal get togethers.  I was also told that there were plans to add a pool table.   We talked for at least two hours on the first visit about how the room would be used and possible ways to make the space look and feel more inviting.  I suggested that the room didn't seem to have a real visual focus or theme.  I suggested that since the wall color and carpet were to stay the same the best way to improve the room was with fabric.  Since there was also no need for window treatments, and the large pieces of furniture were already purchased; I had to come up with some creative ways to use fabric to create focus and theme.  Another issue was that they wanted to bring aqua into the color pallet.

Unable to find the theme fabric in the needed colors in my fabric samples I went on line.  After many hours of looking online and printing off pictures of fabrics and ordering memo samples I located two fabrics that we all agreed would do the job.  One was a paisley, but the most important one was the stripe, because it incorporated the colors we wanted but also had the colors we needed.  The stripe had adequate amounts of the carpet and wall gold.  To make this  recreation room tough for hard wear two 100,000 double rub velvets were included.  A more contemporary large 'DOT' pattern added an unexpected kink to the design.


With the biggest hurdle behind us, we could focus on using the materials to achieve the results we wanted.  When the location of the pool table was decided I suggested an idea I had come up with several years earlier in a much smaller pool room.

In that room space was at a premium and seating was needed.  There was absolutely no space for conventional seating.  I solved the problem by using an ottoman/bench for seating and making a hanging pad much like a wrestling mat hung on the wall above the ottoman to provide a soft place to lean back and also to protect the wall.

For practical purposes the hard wearing velvet
was used for the top of the bench with the stripe that brought in the gold color we needed, used for the sides.  My clients wanted something more substantial looking than a hanging mat arrangement.

We decided to make the back for the bench seat a much bigger element in the room.  By doing this we also gave the room more color focus and began to develop a theme.

The huge soft throw pillows which are miniatures of  the wall hanging were included at my insistence.
They take our theme to the huge dark brown sectional.

A large fringed throw was made for the sectional as well.
My client has done well finding accessories that feature the color they want to play up.
Is it a perfect job?  No  Is it a big improvement?  Yes.  Is everyone happy with it? Yes!

When I deliver the last element of this room to my clients I will have one more suggestion.  When it is time to repaint the room, considering what we have added, let me help pick a new wall color that will help blend everything more.
To me this is what interior decorating in the real world is all about.  Assessing need, use, suggesting options and compromise.

I hope you enjoyed this post.  Please let me know your thoughts.

Bill Gantt

How to make a Padded Wall Hanging


 I call this a padded wall hanging because is is decorative.  It has a purpose beyond looking good, however.  It helps this bench ottoman serve the purpose of a love seat, that only is 22" deep.

Years ago I had a similar situation in a room being used for billiards.  That time to get seating for the players in very limited space, I came up with this idea except the wall hanging was made more like a wrestling mat and hung on the wall with hooks.

Working with my clients on this job we decided to be a little more structured than a hanging mat.  The firm seated bench with the padded back is comfortable, but designed for players to sit for seconds or minutes depending how good his opponent is.

Measurements and a rough sketch was done.  The job quote was  accepted and the job begun.    
                                                                                                     Because the piece was planned to be wider than the standard
48" width of plyboard.  A width had to be added to the left edge.  This was done with wood glue a piece of 1/4" plyboard and short drywall screws.  Once the glue was dry the screws were removed.                                                                        


Next a pattern is drawn on the plyboard and cut out.  This maintains stability and eliminates weight.

Inexpensive fabric is stretched and stapled over the cut outs.

2" Low density foam is glued to the new fabric surface.

Because I plan to pull the diagonal parts down, lines are made on the foam and it is cut part way to make the pulling down easier.

A thick layer of polybatting is laid on top of the cut foam.

Now it is time to make the cover.

8" wide strips of the stripe pattern are cut.  They all are of the same stripe pattern.

A framing square is used to mark and cut the paisley pattern for the center part.  I should note here that the room started with gold walls and carpet.  The client had introduced a dark brown sofa and wanted to also bring in aqua.  These fabrics were selected to do just that.  The stripe was particularly important because it contained the wall color.

A bright velvet aqua cord is made and attached to the edge of the paisley fabric. When cutting the striped strips of fabric always be sure to add 2 x the width of the strips + 3" to allow for overlap when it is time to mitre them.  The stripe fabric is then sewn to the selvedge of the welt and paisley fabric. The aqua welt is used here to help transition from one pattern to the other and to brighten the rather somber colors.

The stripes are now mitred.  I find the best way to mitre in this situation is to lay the piece flat on the table, turn one end of the paisley under until the end of the fabric is parallel with the side of the same strip.  This creates a 45 degree angle.  Press a crease to mark the angle.  Then being sure the stripes are converging repeat the process on the adjoining stripe fabric.

Now put the two pieces face to face, pin both creases together so that the stripes are one on top of the other.  This was a particularly slick fabric
so I pinned in short intervals to prevent slippage.

Until you get experienced at this it would be a good idea to use a medium to large stitch length because you may have to pick out some and re stitch until you get it right.  Once you feel it is matched well then carefully sew a smaller stitch exactly on top of the larger stitching.

This is how it should look when finished.

When all four corners are done, trim off the excess stripe fabric and the cover is ready to be attached to the padded backing.

When attaching the cover to the plywood you may have to staple a few different times to get it right.
Start like you were stretching an art canvas.  Start in the middle of the cover.  Mark the middle of the backing board.  Staple the fabric where you think it will be tight enough to be smooth when all sides are done.  Be conservative.  You don't want to come back and make it looser and have staple marks showing in the fabric.  Put a few staples in the center of the fabric on the center of the mounting and go to the opposite side and do the same.  You should be sure the stripe on the edge on each side is the same stripe.  Repeat the process on the other two sides.  Keeping the stripe at the same place on the edge on all sides add a few staples on each side of the center ones and work out to the corners.  When you have stapled about a foot on all four sides you should be able to guage is the cover is too loose or two tight.  If too loose remove the staples and re staple on the next stripe in.

I lobbied my clients hard to convince them to let me put the bright aqua velvet X and oversize button on the piece.

9" strips of velvet were cut, folded double and edges stitched together.  They were then refolded so that the seam was in the underneath middle.

I decided I wanted to pull the velvet strip deep into the corner to give some definition.  After the aqua strip was firmly attached to the corner, I used an ice pick to work a small hole down through the fabric and foam.  I drilled a hole in the backing board  and using several pieces of florist wire pulled through with a large upholstery needle; pulled the strip and fabric down to create the indention I wanted.

Here you can see the holes that were drilled on the back and the florist wire that holds the strip in place.

Now that the velvet strips are secured and pulled into place it is time to make the huge center button.

A piece of 1/4" plywood is cut into a circle.

Two holes are drilled in the center and several pieces of heavy florist wire twisted together are put in place.

 A small piece of thin foam is cut to pad the button.

 A circle of the velvet is cut about 1" more in diameter than the wooden button circle.

Using a strong button thread a single stitch is sewn around the outside edge of the fabric circle.

The foam is placed under the fabric and the fabric and foam are put on top of the button form.  The edges of the fabric circle are gathered and secured.

The edges are pulled toward the center in a few places on the gathered button covering.  The button is now ready to be threaded through the pulled down center, through the two holes drilled in the plyboard backing and wired tight.

Done!!    iI know this may have limited uses, but some of the ideas I have illustrated could have other uses in headboards, ottoman and chair seats.  I hope you liked it.  Please let me know what you thought.
Bill Gantt

Moving Gantt's Decorating

UPDATE: I am still at my temporary site at 829 State street Lemoyne, suite 2004.  It has been difficult.  I have a work area and am making drapes for jobs that were started before the move.  After a number of broken promises and broken deadlines, things are finally on track for me to open in my  new space SUITE 3004, next door to the Plumb Bottom shoe outlet.  If all goes well I should be open in early October.  Hopefully by the end of next week (Aug 16) I will again have access to my wallpaper and fabric books.  That will allow me to take on new drapery and or upholstery work.   Thanks for your patience.   As you can imagine after 3 mos. with no incoming work I will be grateful for any new projects.

Bill Gantt

After 20 years at this location, high overhead and bad economic times have made it necessary to relocate.  While the process has been anything but smooth, the first step is finally complete.  I am out of this space and into a temporary space while the new one is being prepared.

Mid way, Boxing and boxing.  If you have a move in the future, notice the 30 dozen egg boxes.  If I had known how perfect they are for moving, I'd have been getting them from the Giant stores months ahead.  Not only is the size perfect, they have handles on the sides.  I also learned that it is much easier if your boxes are uniform is size.  It makes the stacking a lot faster and easier.   Of course I keep saying after this move, if anything gets boxed for a move from the next location: it will be MY cold dead body.                                                                                                                                  

My good friend Olga Bekelja who didn't want her picture taken, has been the steadying and inspiring influence for several years.  You really do find out who your friends are when you move.

My beautiful velvet and silk canopy bed packed in garbage bags

                                                            MY DREAM TEAM
My good friend Marshall (on my right) put together this great group of men from the Salvation
Army rehab unit.

Marshall is the friend I've written about before and is on my right.  On the far right my son Julian came down from NYC to help.  I appologyze I can't remember everyone 's name.  One I remember is Kelly in the back.  At the end of the night Kelly didn't move his foot quickly enough and got his big toe broken and his toe nail torn off under the lift.  He was a brave solder. Julian took him to the emergency room and stayed with him until I could get there.  These guys were great!  They worked hard, showed a great sense of comradery and did a fabulous job. I felt like I made 7 great new friends.

Since the Salvation army guys had to work until 3:30, Julian and I loaded most of the boxed stuff until they could start.

By 11:00PM Sat night everyone except Kelly was back to the Salvation Army facility.  I dropped Kelly back at 1:00AM.  Through all his emergency room trauma, Kelly could only have novocaine shots in his toe and "motran" for pain. Otherwise he would have been dropped from the rehab program.

Sunday morning I am looking at what still needs to be moved and the little space I have left at the temporary space.  Finally I decided I'd have to rent a storage locker for the rest.  I called Marshall.  Once again to the rescue, he was able to get Claude to help and the three of us finished loading the balance of stuff in the large stock room.  After some feverish searching and a false start, I was able to convince a woman to stay after 3:00 closing for Deb to get to and pay for storage space.  Claude and Marshall helped me decide what to throw away and what to move.  They worked especially hard.

If you need any sledge hammer work Claude is your man. Marshall, not so much.  These guys saved my butt again.  Of course Marshall has been the "wind beneath my wings" through the whole process. I have to say he is the best friend I have now and have had for a long time.

I spent Monday thru Thursday discarding and moving the balance of the small stuff and cleaning and vacuuming.  Finally Thursday afternoon I turned in the Keys.

Good bye Derry Street

                                                            HELLO NEW TEMPORARY SPACE

                                           829 STATE STREET, LEMOYNE
                                                     SUITE 2004    561-8166


Until the new space is ready I'll be here.  I can operate my work room fabricating drapes and reupholstering, Just no retail yet.   Grand Opening Coming Soon ETC ETC.

How to make a Gantt Roman shade

I call this a Gantt Roman shade because it is an idea I came up with at least 20 years ago.  The shade design was a result of two issues that I discovered about a traditional flat roman shade.  They didn't last very long on  a sunny window because the sun bleached the face fabric even though it was lined.  Also I discovered that the upper sides on a typical flat roman shade would often not fold smoothly when the shade was pulled up.   By adding heavy flannel inner lining not only did I almost eliminate fading I also made the shade very thermal.  In order to hold the flannel in place and improve the performance of the shade movement, I decided to stitch a quarter inch fold around every nine inches.

These shades have proven to be very effective at saving on heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter.  They are an all or nothing privacy treatment and I often add sheer gathered about 6x full tight on a rod top and bottom when daytime privacy is required.  The sheer of course needs the bottom rod so that it will not get caught up in the shade when it is pulled up.

Depending on the fabric selection and style of the room a roman shade can be the only window treatment required or be part of a more elaborate plan.  The Gantt roman looks great in stripes or solids or solids with trims.  Some patterns do not lend themselves to the horizontal pleading of this shade.  In that case I use the horizontal stitches without the pleat.

Roman shades look best when mounted inside the thickness of the window.  If this is not possible or height is needed they can be mounted outside the window or against the ceiling.

Estimate the amount of fabric you need by:

Measure the dimensions of the window.  Be exact.
If you have a repeating pattern and you are doing more than one shade, divide the length of the window by the pattern repeat.   For example if the window measures 80" long and the repeat is 25"
                                                  80 divided by 25" = 3.2     round up to 4(repeats needed)                                
                                                   4 x 25= 100"     In order to have your pattern at the same place on each shade you need 100" for each one.  If you are doing 2 shades multiply by 2=200" divide by 36" = 5.56 yds

For a Gantt roman I make the pleats about 9" apart and allow 1/2" for each pleat.   In this case the Finish Length of my shade is 80".        80"(finish length) divided by 9"(space between pleats)=8.89                        
                                                 Round down to 8.     8 x1/2"  4"                                                                
                                                 80"+ 4"(pleats) +2"(seam allowances) =86"                                                          
INTERIOR DECORATOR INTERIOR DESIGNERSince this is less than the 100" needed for the repeat, you will need 100".   If it had amounted to more than the 100", you would have to add the length of one more repeat to each shade's total fabric requirement.        

Width is determined by adding 4" to the finish width, and dividing by the width the fabric comes in.              
                      For example:   If the Finished Width is 36"  add 4"=40" Cut Width
                                              assuming the fabric comes in 54" widths   54"divided by 40(Cut Width)=1.35
                                             You will need one width of fabric 100" long for each shade.
                                               If the Cut width is 58"!!    Bite the bullet, you need 2 pieces 100" and  plan on making some pillows.

 If the Cut Width (Finish Width +4") exceeds the width your fabric comes in, cut two pieces your "cut length."  Match the pattern if necessary.   Seam together.

Cut the "face" fabric to the "Cut Width" (Finish Width + 4")

Remove the "face" fabric and cut the lining and flannel to the "Cut Length"

Now, cut the heavy flannel and lining the Finish Width!   (not Cut Width-Finish Width!)

Put the "Face" fabric back on the table.  Put it face down.  Center the heavy flannel and lining on top.  The heavy flannel will be between the "face" fabric and the lining.

Fold over 2" border of "face" fabric and iron .

Open and press 1" of border, using the crease made by ironing as a guide.

Fold over the finished 1" border and pin.

Repeat the process on the other side.   Check the width as you go to be sure the width is correct.

Usually the sewing of the edges will cause them to pull up some, so turn the shade face up and using a framing square; mark the bottom and cut it square.

Cut a 5" wide strip of lining 6" longer than the Finish width of the shade. Cut it so that the grain runs the length of the strip.  Center the strip, pin and attach to the bottom of the shade as shown.  Use a 1/2" seam.

Lay the shade face down.   Fold and press over 1" on each edge of the newly attached strip.   Now place a 1" wide strip of fusible web on the strip next to the 1" edge just pressed.   Fold over again so that the edge of the lining strip is even with the finished edge of the shade.  With the fusible web between the fold, press the new fold.  Being careful not to scorch the fabric press the fold until the web glues the new fold.

Fold and press the strip over, forming a finished bottom edge.   Fold and press the top 1 1/2" edge under, leaving a 3" pocket on the bottom edge.

Pin and sew at the edge of the new pocket.

Drop down 1" from the last seam and stitch again.
This forms a pocket to hold a piece of curtain rod which will stabilize and ad weight to the bottom of the shade.

With the  shade still face down, measure up from the bottom edge 6" and mark with a pencil line across the width of the shade.  The bottom pleat must always measure more than 1/2 the width of the other pleat widths.  This assures an inch or more lip that will hang below where the rest of the pleats will stack.

Mark the rest of the pleats your predetermined lengths.  Usually around 9".  Press and pin as you go to keep the layers aligned.

At this point the safe thing to do is pin and put a stitch on top of each mark to prevent the face fabric from moving.

Sometimes I will skip this step depending on how slippery the face fabric might be.

Starting at the bottom fold the shade face to face with the edge of the first mark on the bottom.  Press and pin in place.
Pleats pressed and pinned into
place ready to be sewn.

When this process is completed your shade will look like the one picture.

Use the pressure foot of your sewing machine as a sew a quarter inch seam.  Remember we allowed 1/2" for each pleat which of course is 2x 1/4"

I hold the edge of the shade as I sew and stretch the fabric taunt, to help avoid it drawing up and making the shade narrower than it should be at the stitches.

Lay the shade face down again and determine where the vertical rows balloon shade
rings will be sewn. The rows should not be more than 9" apart.

The rings on the edge should be sewn just inside the edge of the face fabric    and the balance should be spaced evenly across the shade.

Mark the placement across the bottom pleat and across the uppermost pleat.  Lay a straight edge between and mark the pleats between.

Cut a 1"x 1" strip the Finish width of the shade.  If it is an "inside mount" cut it 1/4" less than the finish width.   Cover the strip with lining.

Now lay the shade out flat.  Measure from the bottom up and allowing 1 1/4" to attach to the top strip, cut the shade to the planned finish length + 1 1/4".   Finish the edge.  If you don't have an overlock, use a ziz zaz stitch.

Staple the shade to the top strip.

Cut a piece of curtain rod 1" shorter
than the finish width of the shade.

Slide the rod into the bottom pocket.  Put some "tacky glue" on each end.   This will hold the rod in place.
In the event it ever needs to be removed it can be broken loose.

Directly above each vertical row of balloon shade rings drill a small pilot hole for screw eye screws. Drill your pilot holes on the opposite side of the 1" of fabric used to mount the shade to the strip

String the shade with a woven nylon cord.  While it is traditional to have the pull cord on the right, if it would be hard to get to on the right; string the shade to the left.  When the shade is laid out face down, if you want the cord on the left, you start stringing it on the left side as shown.  Start with the bottom ring and pull the cord through all the rings to the top.  then thread it through that screw eye and the others down the full width of the shade.  Then pull it down about half the length of the shade.   Cut the cord at the bottom and tie a double knot around the bottom ring.

Go to the next row of rings.  Start at the bottom, through all the rings to the top, through that screw eye and through the rest of the screw eyes on the top the end and half way down again.  Repeat the process until all rows of rings are strung.

When the shade is entirely threaded, pull the strings even and cut the ends on an angle as shown.

Wrap them in masking tape to keep in  position.

Cutting the ends of the cords on an angle and wrapping them in masking tape makes it easier to pull them through the weighted cord pull.   If you have a shade that is 6' or more wide, it may have too many cords to fit through the hole in the pull.  In that case, work the lead piece out of the plastic cover and drill the hole out bigger. Then reassemble, pull the cords through knot and trim off the excess.   I use a metal cleat to wrap the cord around when the shade is at the proper height.

Prior to installation I pull the shade completely up, attach the cleat to the mounting strip and wrap the cord around it to hold it in  a compact  manageable unit.   Using a steam iron steam each fold do not press-steam. 
This will train the shade without making creases.  Hope you enjoy your Gantt Stitched Roman Shade.

Bill Gantt

Redecorating a Client's Guestroom

Client's antique bed and crochet fringed coverlet

Wall unit ,Chinese Screen and antique  bar
create a diagonal line leading the eye to
the focus of the room, the bed.

Having joined two households my clients had a wealth of furniture, antiques and accessories.  Considering the idea that they may decide to sell the home and needing to simplify, I was called in.  I helped my clients decide which pieces of furniture to keep and where to use them as well as selecting carpet and colors that might help sell the house in the future.  Colors selected were chosen to be light and neutral enough to sell the house but warm enough to look good with the predominately dark furniture.   Naturally since this was a guest bedroom the bed  was the focus of the room.    My client had an antique crocheted coverlet she wanted to use on the bed.

Light textured carpet.  Fringe on the antique coverlet is reproduced on the pillow .

Light, but textured carpet was chosen for its soil camouflaging and wear ability. A cream and pale sage textured floral fabric was chosen for the windows and pillows.  In order to reproduce the fringe effect of the antique coverlet, I used cotton bullion cord.  I cut away 2 out of three bullion, cut and unraveled the remaining bullion.   (see blog "How to make a box pleated shaped valance" )

Box pleated welted shaped  valance with fringe

Throw pillows
Because the fabric was heavy the valances were welted with a medium sized stiff welt so they would not loose their shape.   The fringe was top sewn  just above the cord.

Throw pillows bring the fabric to the bed.  To add a little extra interest, I made a third pillow out of silk, appliqued a flower from the fabric and used a complimentary brush fringe.

Six framed prints from Turkey were arranged above the bed to bring focus to the bed area.   A glass top was added to an antique smoking cabinet so it could be used as a bedside table.

Bill Gantt

How to make a simple day bed cover

Completed day bed cover

A simple sketch is drawn.   Measurements are taken including top to floor, length and width of the mattress as well as how deep it is from top to bottom (9").

Because the coral stripe in the shade fabric was so strong we elected to use the more subdued stripe from the main fabric for trim.

First a piece is cut for the top.   It is cut 1" longer and 1" wider than the actual top of the mattress.  This provides 1'2" seam allowance on all sides. Since this fabric had no directional sheen or nap, the top piece was cut length wise on the fabric to avoid seams on the top.

Front panel is planned

The front panel is laid out.  As you can see,  there was 1/2" seam allowance at the top,26" finish length and a bottom hem allowance.

Aqua and green stripe with 1/4" coral edge will be applied to green body fabric
The aqua and green part of the fabric was chosen for trim.  It was cut out of the fabric with a 3/4" edge of coral.  This will allow for a 1/2" turn under and a 1/4" coral edge showing on each side of the trim stripe.  The trim is pinned where it belongs and sewn on both the top piece and front piece so that they will align.

Cover 1/4" welt cord in the main fabric and attach to the trimmed "top piece".   After the top piece is welted sew the 26" trimmed "front piece" to the welted top piece.   Make sure trims align.

Next the four pieces are laid out that will cover the sides of the mattress.  They are cut 9"+1"(1/2" seam allowance and 1/2" seam allowance bottom.  Two are cut the length of the mattress+1"   and two are cut the width of the mattress +1".   these pieces are then sewn together end to end- short to long to short.
A 1/4" welt cord is covered in the main fabric(see "how to make a tie on chair pad" for instructions on how to cover welt cord) and sewn on to the bottom of the 9" section.                                                      

Band for bottom is cut and hemmed.

The bottom piece, the part that will go under the bottom of the mattress and hold the cover in place; is hemmed.  It is then sewn to the bottom of the 9"  (side) pieces.

At each corner sew the "bottom pieces " together on a 45 degree angle.

finished cover.   See how the trim runs across the top matches and goes down the front
Now pin the assembled "side pieces" to the top piece and watching the welt cord stitches, sew the pieces together.  If you sew a little closer to the cord than the stitch holding it, no stitch will show when it is turned right side out.

Done             I hope this was helpful.    please let me know what you think of the blog

Bill Gantt

Guest Bedroom

The striped fabric of the balloon shades set the theme of this soft calming guest room
My client loved this coral stripe fabric that I had on hand.  Starting as I often do with the stripe, the room was done in a soft pallet of grey greens.   Because the daybed contains two twin beds , my client wanted a cover that was easy to remove in the event both beds were needed.  The cover is made to fit snugly over the mattress of the bed.   A softer stripe taken from the main stripe is used to trim the cover and aligned on the two back pillows to give a sofa appearance.

Unusual balloon shade can be dropped for total
room darkening ,privacy and darkening.

The unusual balloon shade is the main decorative feature in the room.  While it requires some assistance in going up and down, it does function is thermal with it's flannel inner lining and room darkening.

The picture below shows the back pillows and throw pillows reversed for a different look.


Pillows are reversed here for a different look.

With the exception of the small planter on the chest of
drawers the clients own spider web back chairs, antique
chest of drawers and accessories were reused.
The telephone lamp is turned off by hanging up the phone.

I hope you enjoyed this.   Bill Gantt

How to build and slip cover an ottoman/bench

Ottomans or benches are very useful and versatile pieces of furniture.  They can be used as coffee tables
and can add extra seating when needed.

Slip covered ottoman features 100,000 double rub
velvet on the top and my custom made stripe of velvet and
3 colors of silk on the sides.
After building an ottoman or two that did not sell with the furniture I made it to go with, I decided it would be better for me to build the ottoman and slip cover it.  This would make it easier to change it to go with a different piece of furniture.  It then occurred to me that slip covered ottomans made more sense any way.
They are more likely to get soiled by their very nature.  Cleaning would be easier if the cover could be removed and taken to a dry cleaner.  Now all my ottomans are slip covered.

Lumber is cut to build the frame.

Once you determine the dimensions of the ottoman, it is necessary to cut the lumber to size.

Don't forget to deduct the thickness of the foam that will go on top of the frame.  For example if the ottoman is to be 21" high, it will probably have a top of 6" thick medium density foam.  Your wood frame will be 21"-6"foam=15" tall.  If you are using what is called 1"  lumber for the frame(1" lumber is actually 3/4"  thick), You will cut the cross pieces 1 1/2" shorter than the finished width
to allow for the thickness of the front and back board.

Pre drill all screw holes to prevent splitting

Always use hardwood for your framing lumber.
Oak and poplar are readily available at home improvement stores.  While oak is probably stronger, I prefer to work with poplar.  It is less expensive and not as heavy.

For legs, I use 1 1/2"  x  1 1/2"  clear pine.
If your ottoman is to only be 2 1/2 feet to 3 feet long four legs should be fine.  Longer would probably require a set in the center.  I always incorporate the leg pieces into the frame.

End piece  ready to be screwed
Always pre drill the screw holes to prevent splitting.
To start I pre drill one in each front and back board.  While these first screws provide almost no strength they hold the frame pieces in place until the leg can be added. Placing the end board between the front and back board, Screw through the front board and into the end of the side pieces.

Working on a stable flat surface makes it easier to get the frame pieces properly aligned.

End piece being screwed to front piece.

I use 1 1/2" flat   phillips head screws.

Leg pieces are added.

Once the two rectangular frame pieces are screwed together, it is time to add the leg pieces.  The leg pieces eliminate the need for corner bracing.  Drill two holes in the front frame board and two holes in the end board.  Be careful to align them to hit the leg piece, but also for the screws to not hit each other.  After the holes are drilled use a good quality wood glue where the pieces will be joined.  Hold the leg piece flush with the top and tight against the side pieces and screw into place.  If a gap develops as you screw into the side pieces, back the screw out and hold the leg closer to the frame piece.

Legs are marked to receive the bottom frame piece.

If the legs are not pulled tight against both front and end frame pieces, the glue will not hold them tightly and the joint will not be strong.

Once the corner leg pieces are attached, determine where the second frame piece will be attached and measure and mark.  This will be the bottom edge of the ottoman.

With the exception of two more cross braces not shown
on the top, the frame is complete.

Repeat the process on the bottom part of the frame.  At this point any additional legs needed are glued and screwed into position.  This 5' ottoman required a set of legs in the center and a cross brace.  Two cross braces (not shown) were added in addition to the center one, dividing the top "squares" in half again.  This was done to keep the top frame from pulling in when the webbing is added.

Webbing is begun

Now that the wooden frame is constructed it is time to add the jute webbing.  I use an electric stapler with 3/8" staples.  Even with the electric stapler I usually hammer the staples in tight.  If you are using a regular staple gun, you will almost certainly have to hammer the staples in after using the gun.  Both sides and tops need to be webbed.  The fastest way to web this kind of frame is to start at the bottom, put in several staples, hammer them without cutting the webbing go to the outside edge of the top frame.  Stretch the webbing tight.   There is a special tool for doing this.  It has a bent handle and sharp teeth that punch into the webbing and allow you to wedge against the frame to pull the webbing tight.  While the tool is great, before I got one I used a regular pair of pliers.  When the side is pulled tight, put several staples through the webbing. Now pull the webbing across the top of the frame, stretch and staple tight; then pull the webbing to the bottom of the other side of the frame and stretch and staple tight again.

Webbing attached up side,across the top and down other side.

By attaching the webbing securely at each point and using one continuous piece you save time and webbing.

Webbing is attached in the opposite direction

Now starting at the end, repeat the process in the opposite direction.  Weave the webbing in and out across the top as shown.  Don't forget to secure it on the top edge going this direction as well.

Electric carving knife is used to cut 6" medium density foam

After the frame is fully webbed, measure and mark the foam for the top.  Cut the foam about 1" longer and 1" wider than the actual frame.

Staple the foam bottom edge about every 10" to the top
edge of the frame

Using the measurements of the frame and the foam I make a cover out of heavy flannel inner lining.
It is pulled over the frame and stapled to the bottom part of the frame.

Looking inside the frame after
foam and first flannel cover is attached.

 Polyester furniture batting is added
Batting is added to sides

Polyester furniture batting is added over the first flannel covering.  Once again to economize on batting, it was attached to the bottom of the frame at one end pulled across the top and attached at the bottom of the frame on the other end.   The sides were then filled in and stapled in place on the frame.

A line is established where the foam stops and the
frame begins.
If this ottoman were going to be upholstered, the finish fabric would be stapled in place now.  But because I am going to slip cover it, another cover of flannel is stretched and stapled over it.  Feeling through the batting, find the top edge of the top of the frame.  measure down 1/2" and place a mark on the flannel.  Measure from that mark to the bottom edge of the frame.  Using that measurement, measure up the side of the ottoman and mark in several places around.  Use a straight edge and join the marks to form a guide line all around the side of the ottoman.  Using the (plasticy) or "hook" side of velcro, staple the velcro under the line.

Next turn the ottoman on its side and staple the "hook" velcro on the bottom of the bottom frame board all the way around the ottoman.

Now it is time to make the slip cover!!

Top part of cover is checked for fit.

With this ottoman my plan was to cover the foam part with a hard wearing velvet and skirt the balance to the floor.  In cases where you only want an 8 or 10 inch skirt at the bottom, you have to use a wider board for the bottom frame so you have a place to staple where the top of your skirt will be.

Checking top of slip cover for fit
Cut the top fabric 1"  wider and 1" longer than the top of the ottoman.  This gives you a 1/2" seam allowance .   Cut bias strips and cover the welt cords(see how to make a tie on chair pad for instructions on how to make welt cord).  When the "pillow" portion of the cover is satisfactorily fitted, sew the loop (fuzzy) velcro to the back side of the selvedge edge of the welt cord.  Next prepare the skirt for the bottom.
Seam is pressed open on skirt and lining
Determine what kind of skirt you want.  Without going into the many skirting options, I will explain how to do the one I selected.  Because the stripe used had more gold stripes than we wanted, my clients and I opted to pleat the skirt so that gold stripes would be inside the pleats and not show.  I determined how much fabric width I needed based on how much fabric was used to pleat in the gold stripes.  To determine how long to cut each piece top to bottom, I measured from the top of the velcro that holds the "pillow part in place to the floor.                                        I want the skirt to be 1/2" above the floor-deduct 1/2" from the measurement.  Next add to that measurement 1" for seam allowance top and bottom.  I decided on this project to do (for lack of a better name) a "pull up hem"  on the skirt.  To get that add 2 more inches to the skirt length.       example:                Top of the velcro for the pillow top to the floor is 21 1/2"
                                                                     Skirt is to be 1/2" off floor       -1/2"=   21"
                                             Add 1/2" seam allowance top and bottom        + 1"  +  22"
                                              Add  2"     for "pull up"                                    +2"  =  24"  cut length

To determine the lengths of lining to cut:

                                           Top of "pillow" velcro to floor                                   21 1/2"
                                                                    Skirt is to be 1/2" off floor-     1/2" = 21"
                                            Add 1/2" seam allowance  top and bottom     + 1   = 22"
                                                            Subtract 2"   for "pull up"                - 2"  = 20"  cut length

Match seams and sew skirt pieces together.  Press open seams.   Place the bottom of the skirt fabric on top of the bottom of lining fabric (face to face) sew together with a 1'2" seam.   Press open bottom seam.   Fold back to back with top edges together and press bottom.  Overlock or ziz zag top edges together.

Skirt is sewn, turned with "pull up hem
The skirt should look like the one pictured.

Next the skirt is pleated.   The right side of the
picture shows the gold stripe inside the pleats,

The left side shows that the gold stripe has not yet been pleated in.

After pleats are pressed and pinned into place, it may be easier to sew them into place stitching about 1/4" in from the edge.      Place the "pillow top cover" face up and the pleated skirt face down on top of the "pillow top cover".   Determine where you want pleats to be.  Line up the edge of the velcroed "pillow top cover" with the edge of the skirt.   Spot pin .   Put the skirt part down  so that the back of the "pillow top cover" is up.  Watching the seam that attached the welt cord, sew both pieces together.   Sew in a little tighter than the seam you are watching to be sure no seam will show when turned.

Next  Measure again from the top of the "pillow top velcro to the bottom edge of the frame.  Add to that 1"( 1/2" seam allowance for the top and 1/2" turn under for the bottom edge).   Cut this fabric the proper lengths.  Cut the widths 1" longer and wider than the front-back measurements and the end measurements.  Seam the four pieces together.   Being careful to align the corners with the corners of the "pillow " top of the cover pin the face of the new fabric to the back of the skirt fabric.  Align tops and once again placing the fabric on the sewing machine
so that you are watching the back of the "pillow" top welt cord sew the  pieces together.  Once again sew on top of the welt cord seam so that no seams show when the skirt is put down.

Next overlock or zig-zag the bottom wedge of the ottoman cover fabric.  Now sew the loop (or fuzzy) velcro on the back of the bottom edge of the ottoman cover.  Turn the entire cover.

First pull the "pillow top" part of the cover into position.  Align the corners and pull the cover down and align and press the velcro together.  When the "pillow top" is securely in place, pull the lower "ottoman cover" part over the body of the ottoman.  Align corners and turn the edge under so that the velcro attaches to the "hook " velcro attached to the boddtom edge.  Pull the skirt down into place.

DONE!   Enjoy your new ottoman


How to make a pleated Shaped Valance

Welted and Fringed Shaped Valance

Sketch for Trimmed Welted Shaped Valance

In this bedroom, my client has an antique throw with fringed edges.  This fringe effect will be replicated in the shaped valances at the two windows and throw pillows.   Because the valance fabric is heavy a stiff welt was put on the edges under the fringe trim.  This will help keep the heavy fabric from hanging flat.

Lining is sewn together for shaped valance

As always with a shaped valance I cut lining for the longest and highest points.   The fullness called for two pieces cut 60" long and a 27" wide piece in the center to fit the highest point.

Shape of Valance is drawn on lining

Seams are pressed flat.    The lining is folded double and the shape of the Valance is drawn on the lining.

Of course by folding double both sides are the same.

The shape is cut out of the lining
and it becomes the pattern for each additional valance.

Face fabric hooked together

Next face fabric is cut in the same lengths as the lining, matching pattern at seams when it exists.   Seams are pressed flat .  The lining "pattern" is lined up on top of the face fabric.

Lining laid out as pattern

Face and lining fabrics are lined up face to face and the fabric is cut to shape.

If this valance were not getting a welt, it could be pinned and sewn together as soon as it is cut out.

Valance  with welt and lining pinned ready to sew.

Welt cord is sewn to main fabric.  Lining is pinned face to face over main fabric.   Pieces are sewn together with zipper foot.

Put lining side down and sew watching cording stitch.   Sew a little closer to the cord than first stitch  so that no stitches show when valance is

Hot glue is used to stabilize bullion fringe

In order to replicate the fringe on the antique throw, two out of three bullion fringe ropes will be cut off.  Hot glue is used to stabilize  the trim.

Bullion  fringe is now top sewn  against the welt cord.

Completed valances is pleated.

Valance is pleated .   A 5" facing strip is sewn to hold pleat in place and to be stapled to the mounting board.


Two out of three bullion are cut off and now the end of the bullion left are cut and unraveled.

 The fringe is steamed  and straightened by brushing with a plastic toothed brush.

Later I will post a picture of the valance when  installed.



How to make an English Tudor inspired Upholstered Cornice

   I was brought in to not only redecorate, but also make the home more saleable possibly in a few years.
We came to the conclusion that her dining room would be the biggest problem when it came to resale.  The wallpaper was busy and very dated.  The large window in the room had, in my opinion a window treatment that was made up of two types of treatments that did not belong on one window.  Eventually my client agreed we should change it.   I learned that when the house was built she had wanted it to have an English
Tudor theme.  Unable to find an appropriate tapestry fabric, we settled on a chenille stripe fabric.

Design for a Tudor Window 
My research for appropriate treatments showed windows either with
no coverings, tapestry or simple drapes on poles and rings.  I also
found this design for a window.  Using it as inspiration I presented
My client with two designs to choose from.

Design for a Tudor styled window treatment
This is the design selected.  It included an upholstered cornice styled like the window design and pinch pleated silk drapes with trim from the cornice fabric.

On the pattern paper, I first establish the perimeters of the design.

Cording spools 

Once I know the upper and lower limits,  I fold
the paper in half and start to draw the design.  It is necessary of course to decide how many elements
will be in the design and determine their size.  The combination of elements must end up being the width I need.  Then using cording spool edges as circle guides I create the first pattern element.

The bottom line of one element is cut and the paper is folded and the first is traced and the next element is cut.
The elements on each outside end are modified to make the cornice have a more graceful overall shape.

Once the bottom of the pattern is cut the cutout parts must be measured and marked.  Straight pins were inserted ever 1/4 inch or so to establish the line of the cut out.  Only the left half was done.

After the left half is cut out it is folded over the right side, traced and the balance cut out.

This was then used as the pattern for the balance of the cut outs.

The paper pattern completed, it was taped onto plyboard, and traced with a medium width marker.

Using the marker is faster and cleaner than pencils.
When cutting you just have to remember to cut on the inside edge of the line (in other words, when you cut the part you are going to use will not have any black marker on it.)

Strategically drilled holes allow the sabre saw to make clean turns on sharp angles.

Top of end pieces are cut to accommodate crown molding

 End pieces anr glued and screwed to the front

Top board is glued and screwed low
enough to clear the bottom of the crown molding 

As you can see from the progressive construction pictures in almost all cases I like my window treatment tops to cover crown moldings.  It makes the room look taller to interrupt the horizontal lines of the crown.

Because I try to make each design unique, when I present the sketch I do not know how it will be made.  After the client makes his/her selection I must then figure out how to make it.   This design incorporated  several cut out patterns.  The shape the cut out would prevent me from stapling welt, stripping and fabric on the edges as is normally done.   My solution was to staple pieces of flannel over the thickness, stretching it into the inaccessible corners.  Silk was then stapled over the flannel.

Flannel pads inside of cut outs 
Silk strips are cut on the bias to cover
inside of cut outs 

 Silk is stapled over flannel
Each plain is covered with a separate
strip of fabric.  Ends are turned under
and pulled tight into corners
All inside cut outs  covered.

 Batting is cut away from cut outs

Batting is stapled  about 1/4 from the
edge of the cut outs

cornice covered with furniture bat 

 Fabric is stapled and stretched horizontally
over the cornice.  It is then cut roughly
into shape.  The top was stapled, bottom drawn taunt
and stapled into the thickness of the ply board.
Relief cuts are are made so that
the fabric can be stretched
evenly around edges.

Using a razor blade, start at each inside
edge of the cut out in to the center

Fabric is stapled as close to
the edges of cut outs as possible

Cut about 1/2" of cord out of the
ends of the double welt.  Fold the
ends of the welt over for a clean start.
Start on inside corner  and carefully
glue on covering staples.

Changing blades often, closely  trim
the fabric being careful not to cut
the silk.

Cord being cut for start. 
Double welt ready to be finished 

 cording ready to be finished

With cut outs complete and the bottom stapled, the single welt is stapled along the edge.  Excess fabric is cut off around the bottom.

Next bias cut silk is ( face side toward the face of the cornice) stapled on top of the cording selvage.   Now cardboard stripping is stapled tight against the inside edge of the cording.
Pleat in about 1"  extra silk at each sharp angle.

Now pull the silk over the stripping and down to the other side of the cornice.  Before stapling check to be sure the edge created by the striping is neat and out far enough.  If it is not it is not necessary to remove the striping.  Just staple a piece on top of the problem area correcting it..   Pull the silk down so it is smooth on the thickness of the ply board and staple it.  It will be necessary to make many relief cuts to get a smooth finish as you go.

Cut off any excess silk that interferes with the cut outs.

To line the cornice board, measure the total width and length(including cut outs).   Add about 4" to each and cut.   Staple the lining on one end of the board, stretching it tight staple it on the other end.  Be sure to leave a couple extra inches at the top and bottom as shown.  When this is done, hold the extra lining at the top on the top board and staple it tight into the corner.  The staple will go into the "top" board.

Now pull the lining tight as you staple it every few inches about 1/4" from the bottom edge.
Start in the middle and work toward each end.

Using a pencil and your sense of feel mark the outermost edge of the bottom and cut outs as shown.  Staple about 1/4" from the edge around all the cut outs. Like we did with the face fabric, it is necessary to do relief cuts with your single edge razor.   Cut the lining at the bottom about every inch along the edge.  Cut relief cuts from the inside of each angle of the cut outs to the middle.

With the single edge razor carefully cut the lining neatly to the edge as shown.

Cut pieces of lining 2 or 3" wider and longer than the end and top boards.  Now fold edges down and staple as close into the corners as possible and around all outside edges.  On the top board outside edge pull the lining around the edge and staple it on the top.

DONE!!!!          .  I hope you found this useful and will tell your friends.  Please leave a message about your feelings.   For a little social commentary and humor visit my other blogg   Uncle Billy Thinks

How to re-glue old wood furniture

Partially assembled chair

When your old wooden furniture begins to creak and sway, it is time to re-glue it.  Do not try temporary fixes.    Do not put finish nails into joints-they won't hold and make a proper repair harder.
            Do not try to force some glue into a loose joint-it won't hurt but it also won't hold.

It's a little scary the first time, mainly because you are afraid you might break something or be unable to put it back together again.  If reassembly is a big concern, you can take several pictures before you knock it apart.

Disassembled chair
Using a rubber mallet one by one knock each joint apart.  The rubber mallet prevents damage to the furniture a normal hammer would do.  Joints that are tight and don't loosen with some hammering and twisting may be left together.  I like to dissemble as much as possible, but joints that withstand efforts to loosen them will most likely hold.   On this particular chair the seat had been upholstered so I worked around it.
Nails that had to be removed from joints
As you work check each joint closely to see if someone before you attempted a finish nail repair.  The nails must be removed carefully.

Tool I made to sand the inside of joints

Once all the joints are taken apart, it is essential that you sand the old glue off.  Using a medium grit sand paper sand both the male and female joints.
Because I always have sore fingers trying to clean out the female joints, this time I made a tool to help.  I whittled a square piece of wood a little smaller than the hole.  I then, wrapped it with a strip of sand paper and stapled the paper in place on the end of the stick.  The sand paper had to be replaced every few joints but it certainly saved on the finger ware.

Slotted back sections
For the slotted back sections I used a file and sand paper to clean out the glue.

Main Back parts are fitted back together
After all the joints are cleaned it is time to reassemble the parts.  Before applying any glue, put the parts together and be certain how they fit.
If they don't fit together easily you need to sand more of the old glue off.  Once you know everything will fit back together coat all the joints thoroughly with wood glue and with as little time as possible reassemble.  Be prepared to clean any excess glue off the surface as it appears.  I use water based glue and wipe it off with a damp cloth.

Wood glue applied to joint
You can see here the excess glue

Glued section is clamped tightly with furniture clamps
You must reassemble in logical sections.  That is why it is important to reassemble sections without glue first.  The way they fit together will lead you to know what parts to glue when.  If gluing a section will not allow another piece to be attached, you will either have to glue fewer or more pieces in the first assembly.   Wood clamps are available at any home improvement store and are worth the investment.  I buy the sizes I need for a particular piece.  Eventually you will have the clamps you need on hand.  On a few early gluing projects I did use a rope tied tightly around the pieces, wound a stick in the middle to tighten the ropes and blocked the stick in place to maintain the pressure.  Trust me the clamps are worth
the investment.  Leave the section clamped for six or
eight hours for the glue to set up.
Another part of the back is glued and clamped

If, after you glue a section, you find it won't fit into the next section as planed; use your rubber mallet and knock enough joints apart to allow you to fit the next section.  It's frustrating, but necessary.
Re-clean the parts of glue and re-glue them at the same time as the part that prevented reassembly.
Re-clamp and wait for the glue to set up.  I probably have this happen once on almost every project.  The only way to prevent it is careful planning and experience.
Back section of chair completed

The back section is glued and attached to the seat section.  Sometimes it is hard to keep the clamps in place on two pieces coming together on an angle.
I use a small clamp on each angled part to prevent the larger clamp from sliding down and coming loose.

Back section is glued and clamped to the seat

Chair arm is glued and clamped
When gluing the arm to the back and the seat
it is necessary to clamp it in both directions.
One clamp holds the vertical section tight into the seat and the joint under the arm piece.
The other clamp holds the arm piece tight into the back fitting.

Male end broken

Earlier I said, if a joint won't loosen after tapping and twisting. It is tight leave it as is.   That advice is a result of my determination to take a tight joint apart on this chair.  You can see what happened.  To my knowledge there are only two ways to fix this.  One is to have an entirely new piece made.  The other is to drill both pieces and glue and insert a dowel to join them together.

End of chair rail is drilled
to accept dowel
Dowel is inserted, glued and clamped

Female is drilled out to same size as
Leg assembly is glued and clamped
to chair bottom 
On this particular chair, after I carefully assembled and attached the leg assembly;  it did not sit squarely on the floor.  I had to knock the leg assembly loose, clean the joints, re-glue and sit the chair on the floor.  I pushed it tight toward the floor to be sure it was square with the floor and let it dry.

In this case I was unable to clamp the leg assembly.  It just shows how you have to be ready to roll with the punches.    The last picture shows how a small clamp is used to keep the larger one from sliding down the leg and coming loose.

I hope this is helpful.  For more "How to " blogs go to

Bill Gantt


How to make a tie on Chair Pad

Because I want to be as clear as possible, this process may seem complicated.   If you follow the instructions carefully, I think you'll not have any problems.

1.  Make an exact pattern of the chair seat.   Don't forget to fold it double to be sure both sides are the same.

2.   Pin the pattern to 3" medium density foam.   Use a magic marker to mark the pattern onto the foam.

3.  Using an electric carving knife,  cut the foam into the outlined shape.

4.   Since this will be a knife edge pad, mark the foam with a line
1" in from the edge on both top and bottom.   Then put a line on the
side 1" in from the top and bottom edge.

5.   Watching both lines cut the 45 degree angle around both
the top and bottom.

6.  Measure the foam across the top and half way down each side.
Do this from side to side and front to back.   This gives you the
measurement for your next pattern.

7.   Using your first pattern as a guide,  add the additional width.   For example
if your new measurement is 3" more, add 1  1/2"  on each side of the first pattern.
.   Do the same front to back.  Since you want the cover to
be tight it is not necessary to add for seam allowances.

8.   Cut a square of fabric a few inches larger  than  your new
pattern.  In this case I am using the fabric from the "How to
mitre a Stripe" blog.   Center the fabric and pin it down.
Using a pencil or fine tipped marker, mark the pattern on the
fabric.  This is more exacting than trying to cut the fabric while
the pattern is in place.

9.   Welting the edge is not essential but it gives you a more
professional looking pad.   Use a welt cord of no more than
1/4"  in diameter.   To find how wide to cut the welt cord
fabric, wrap the cord tight with a piece of fabric.   Mark both
sides tight against the cord.   Lay the fabric flat-add 1" and
that is your width.   You want the fabric to go around the cord
and have 1/2"  seam allowance .   For example if the circum-
ference of the cord  is 5/8",  you will cut your welt fabric 1 5/8"
wide.   In the past I would sometimes cut the fabric a little
wider thinking  the extra width would give me a little wiggle
room.   DON'T DO IT.   It will throw off your other measurements.

10.   Cut the cord fabric on the bias or diagonal across the fabric.
Use a yard stick to mark your first diagonal line.   Measure and
mark 1 5/8"  or  whatever your cord measurement is and draw
another line.   Mark off and cut several diagonal strips.   If you
lay the strips face to face at a 45 degree angle and match the
pattern;  The joined strip should lay out flat. {see Picture)
Don't forget to use a very small stitch.   If the two pieces don't
lay out straight you did something wrong.   Cut them apart and
turn one of them end to end.   Match the pattern and on a 45degree
angle sew the new end to the old end.   It's tricky but be patient
you'll figure it out.

11.   Using the zipper foot on the right side of the needle,  wrap
the cord.   Put both edges together and sew tight next to the cord.

12.   Once the cord is covered,  put it on the top edge of pad cover.   Align the edge of the cord
with the edge of your pad cover.   Sewing tight against the cord, attach it to the pad cover.
Never start on a corner! 

When you come to a corner put a relief cut in the selvage up to the cord

Sew all the way around the cover until you get to where you started.

When you get to the starting point,  cut the cord 1" beyond where
you started.   {see picture}

Open the seam about 1" from where you cut it.
                      {see picture}

Now cut off the extra 1" of cord where you opened the seam.
Fold the 1"  under 1/2".   Put the start point cord end next to
the piece you just cut.   Wrap the 1/2" lip around the start point
and sew through both.
                                        {see Picture}

13   Make the ties to hold your chair pad in place.   Depending on the chair,  they should  around 12" long.   It is much better to have ties that are a little long than to realize when you are done that they are too short.   Cut fabric strips 2" wide.   You must cut the 
strips with the grain of the fabric(top to bottom).    Otherwise
they will stretch.  

Fold 1/2" in to the middle and press.
Fold 1/2"on the other side
to the middle and press.   Fold  one half over the other half press and sew.   At the ends fold about 1/2" up refold and sew.

14.   Pin the ties where you want them on the pad cover so that the tie lays on the face of the cover.
The tie should lay over the cord just enough that the end is caught in the stitch.  If you want you can
sew the ties in place now.

15.   Lay the cover side with the cord and ties face down on the other side of the cover.   Remember the fabrics go face to face.
Pin strategically.   Start  sewing at a back corner.   Sew on top
of the stitch of the cording around to the other back corner.
INTERIOR DECORATOR INTERIOR DESIGNERSewing on top of the cord stitching assures that no stitching will
show when the cover  is turned right side out.   Be sure to use a small stitch and back stitch at both back corners.   They will get a lot of stress when you put the foam in.

16.  Using polyester furniture batting , cut to the shape of your
cushion and using a bag stapler,  staple the edges all around.
This will disguise any miscuts on the foam and give a rich smooth
finish to your chair pad.

17.   Turn your cover right side out.   Put the foam in and
sew the back closed by hand.


I hope you find this useful.   Please tell your friends about my web site and blog.
Let me know what you think so far.
When you can, stop into the studio and see me.                                       3319 Derry St.
                                                                                                                 Harrisburg, Pa.  717-561-8166

Bill  Gantt