Saturday, May 31, 2014


I have been working with designer Cara Clancy here on Coronado for the last 6 weeks.  She has multiple jobs going at the same time, and because of this, I am making roman shades, slipcovers and pillows for 5 different houses, all at the same time.  The pictures below are of some of the 52 (!) pillows I've made so far.  This is basically the staging area for them before they get put in the appropriate house.  Once everything is in place, I'll be able to shoot pictures of the finished products where they belong.

Friday, May 23, 2014


When my client called and said she had four chairs, office-style, but used in her dining room, that had separate seat and back cushions, I told her I'd have to come and look at them.  Clearly, this is a reupholstery job, but I thought I could do the back cushion with a slipcover.  Ha!

I knew the seat, though rounded and curved in a way that isn't obvious in these pictures, would be challenging, but, basically, it was just a wrapped seat with welting along the bottom edge.  No problem.

I had to remove the old fabric, which just means a lot of pulling the old staples out with needle-nose pliers.  It also gives me a pattern for the new fabric.  Even after I took the fabric off the backs, I still thought I could slipcover it and then staple it on at the bottom.  Again, ha!  I tried doing it that way, but it simply did not work.  So, I went to UFO to get the metal spiky pieces (don't even know what they are called since I do NOT do upholstery!) and while there I inquired as to the cost of having 4 chairs, with seat and back cushions done, just in case.

What also isn't completely obvious in the pictures is how curved the backs actually were.  I tried and tried to do them.  I spent so much time and effort, and in the end, I had to take the backs down to UFO to be done by professionals.  No matter how I tried, I could not get them to work.  It's not like I didn't already know this, but, truly, I am able to do the very simplest of upholstery.  Anything more, I do not have the ability to do.  I did lose money on the job, and I learned a valuable lesson...leave the reupholstering to those who actually do reupholstering!

Friday, May 16, 2014


I have been sewing since I was a little girl.  My mother would not buy me doll clothes (she said the quality was bad and that they were too expensive,) so if I didn't want naked dolls, I had to learn to sew.  The photo is of a doll dress I made sometime in 1967.  I am still amazed at the quality, even though I knew nothing at the time of finishing seams.  I guess I was always a bit of a perfectionist when it came to sewing.  I have it on my bulletin board,  just to remind me that if I do a good job, it will last through the years.   And I still think it is the coolest dress my Francie doll ever had!

I made my first dress for myself when I was 8 years old.  I can still remember it like it was yesterday:  it was a wrap-a-round dress with 3 armholes, made with yellow kettle cloth (Is this fabric even still around?) and orange bias tape that went on all the raw edges.  Oh, how I wish I still had that dress!    

I sewed all through high school and college, sometimes for others but mostly just for me.   With very few exceptions, I sewed only clothing, even having a clothing business in the early 80's.  When I returned to the States in 1990 from living and working in Europe for 3 years, I turned to sewing for the home.  I had a successful custom home furnishings business in Chicago for 10 years before moving to California in early 2001.  I reestablished my business in Coronado and have been happily doing custom work here ever since.  

Friday, May 9, 2014


I made these drapery panels for a client in Rancho Santa Fe.  When we hung them up (on the already installed rods--if I were ever to install a rod, your house would probably fall down,) they definitely looked like they needed a little help.  They just did not seem to want to hang properly.  Luckily, the designer I was working with is really good at training them to look the way they are meant to look.  It involves folding, pleating and then tying them in place.  You usually leave them this way for a week or so.

To add interest on the very plain cream-colored chenille, I put banding on either side of each panel.  These panels were decorative.

In the end, you have beautifully, well-trained drapery panels.  I do not have a picture of the 'after' since I was there the day we put them up and not a week later when the ties came off.

Friday, May 2, 2014


There was just a scrap of this fabric left, not even enough to do both the front and back, just enough for the front of the pillow.  And not enough of the solid linen I used on the back to do welting.  

And because I dislike installing invisible zippers (well, that WAS true until I got an invisible zipper foot for my machine, now they aren't so bad,) I did buttons.  I chose the abalone buttons from my vast collection. My client was happy and her love seat was happy.