Saturday, 2 April 2011

Knife, Box, Inverted...

Any ideas?  Pleats, Gentle Readers, pleats.  This week at Upholstery School we learnt how to make a skirt for a piece of furniture (any piece, really, based on a little algebra [see, Mrs Imberger, you were right, I will use maths one day] - length of furniture (l), size of pleats (your choice, really), type of pleat [box pleats are calculated as size of front of pleat X 3] (s)divide l by s, bob's your uncle.  Got all that?  Good.

Actually, the technique is made easier if you make a template out of a piece of skinny cardboard which is usually used for backtacking (see previous post for description of backtacking, really, I don't want to actually bore you)... mark out the pattern for your pleat - for box pleats, the pattern is 'return, pleat, return', hence the calculation which forms (s).  Then you get your material, sit down with a suitable marking pen & the cardboard, and draw it up on the material.  Carefully.  A fine-point pen is ideal, because these lines have to be joined up with a pin when you come to sew it.

You also have to calculate how much material you'll actually need, and you can't do that until you start to mark it out, because the joins are not allowed to show in the front, they have to be hidden in a return.

This is a good example of box pleats, and you can see that they've gone to the trouble of making sure there isn't a pleat over the corner, which is not the case here:

So, you need to make sure your joins are all hidden, which sometimes means cutting the last bit of the fabric off before you might otherwise have, then sewing on your next piece before going on with the marking up.  It's a bit time-consuming.  Did I mention that?

Anyway, then when you've got it all marked up, you have to sew on the calico lining at the bottom, press it nice & flat, making sure all raw edges are even, then stitch it again at the top.  Then you get to pin it.  And pin it.  And pin it.  And pin it... then, when you're confident you've got it pinned right, you can try it on the piece of furniture to make sure it fits... then you go back & repin it until it does.

Then, finally, you sit down at the sewing machine, refill the bobbin which the last inconsiderate soul left almost empty (see, upholstery school differs not at all from the office, where the person who printed the 495 page document leaves you five pages in the  photocopier & you have to fill it up, not them), and very, very, very carefully, stitch it up.  Of course, if it's velvet, you won't get it right the first time.  Or the second...

Then, you try it on the piece of furniture again & see if it fits... and so on, ad nauseum.  I thought I'd get my second one (yes, we had to make two, one with instruction & one by ourselves) finished by lunchtime, but it actually took me until 3.00pm.  Phew.  Glad it's over.  

Next week we're going to do drop-in seats, which look like this:

You can bet your bottom dollar we won't be having nice Georgian chairs to work on, that's for sure... next week is our last week of term, and then we're apparently half way through.  Bloody hell.

In other news of paramount importance, I bought a new phone.  Don't tell Mr Golightly.  I got so tired of having my old one 'force close', which is mobile-phone speak for 'crash' that I splashed out on one independent of my provider, and spent a very frustrating few days learning how to get around the technical glitch which appears to have infected these phones worldwide... anyway, I did, it's working beautifully and I'm feeling very geeky again...

  I'm sure you get the hint.

Now it's the weekend, and I'm off to make doorstops for the lovely Belinda, but first... breakfast, possibly a shower :-) and maybe even out of my pyjamas.  Oh, the glamour.



  1. Hello!! I found your blog on Etsy!!! I love your blog. You do such great work!!!

  2. Thanks, welcome to my small corner of the world. Watch out for the pins!


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