Category: Uncategorized

Keep Cool with Blackout Curtains and Blinds

If you want to keep cool in a heatwave then black out window treatments are one of the best ways to maintain the temperature in the room.   They will help to keep the room cooler in summer and warmer in winter.  They  are generally white not black and come in all colours.   The most popular blackout colours are white and ivory as lighter colours help to reflect the sun.

They’re ideal for blocking out sunlight and heat from very sunny windows and they are easily opened at cooler times to allow ventilation.

In summer, be sure to close the curtains, blinds and the actual window/door before the sun starts to stream in.  Don’t let the room heat up first as you will trap the heat in.  Fitting a good quality window treatment will not only keep the room cooler but block out harmless rays and help protect carpets and furniture from fading and bleaching.

Black out curtains can help to muffle exterior noises which is great if you live near a busy road.

They are also a good idea if you want to darken a room in order to sleep longer or if you want to create a media room and watch your favourite TV programme on a sunny day.

So with soaring energy bills one of the simplest and easiest solutions is black out window treatments.  If you would like any advice please give me a call on 07747611160 or use the contact form on my website.  Thank you for reading this curtains and blinds blog.

Hope you keep cool this summer,

Sarah x

Photographs by kind permission of  The Ashley Wilde Group

 

 

Why Buy Soft Furnishings from a Small Business?

I have been in the soft furnishings industry now for 15 years and one thing I have learnt is that people buy from people.  I’m a small business and I love to deliver a bespoke personal service.  My best service can really only be achieved by spending some time with customers in their homes.

It’s so much better to actually meet your customers in their homes and get a feel for their surroundings.  Also by seeing the windows and rooms can help you decide what solution would work.

Although I worked for a big high street store and visited customers in their homes it wasn’t the same as working for myself.  As a small business I have more control over the finished product. After all its just me that creates and makes the chosen product, not a large corporate machine.  Being a bespoke service I can also remember important little details like:

The window opens inwards and may cause a problem.

The curtains and blinds all need to be made from the top so the pattern looks the same on all windows in the room.

It’s a difficult bay window so needs special attention.

Bay window lathe and fascia

Over the years I have been lucky to get to know some of my customers and have repeat business.   Both sides have invested a lot of time choosing, sourcing and discarding ideas to get to the finished product.   What is a huge compliment for me is when some customers have become close friends.

For me, one of the most rewarding parts of the job is when you visit a customer who is happy for me to introduce ideas.  I take along some of my samples  so they can be seen with existing features in the room.  The customer makes a final choice, and is delighted when the finished article is a huge success.

In this current fast moving social media world I do love it when people contact me through my website.  After the initial contact I am always keen to speak on the phone as I feel that this is more customer focused.   I want to make the experience of buying curtains and blinds as easy and enjoyable as possible.

Please do get in touch if you would like some advice on 07747611160 and I shall be happy to help.

Enjoy the sunshine,

Sarah x

 

 

Which Curtain Heading to Choose?

When you have spent a long time deciding which fabric to buy for your new curtains, it can also be hard to choose the right curtain heading.  Your choice will depend on the curtain track or pole you have.  No curtain heading is right or wrong, but choosing the right heading can make a difference.  You want your curtains to drape well, stack back neatly and work effortlessly.

For some tips on what to choose, here are some of the most commonly used headings:

Pencil Pleat – The most popular curtain heading.  Pencil tape headings have adjustable cord strings that are are pulled up to the required width.  The Pencil tape comes in a 3” depth (most commonly used on ready made curtains) or a 6” deeper tape heading (often used for extra long curtain drops). These tapes are adjustable, but a 2.5 to 3 times fullness is suggested.  They are often used in bedrooms and under a pelmet.   Great for hiding a track but they do not stack in neat folds very easily.

 

Pencil pleat curtains

Pinch pleat are hand sewn headings and can be made into single, double or triple pleats depending on choice, budget, track or pole.

Double Pleat  (also known as tulip pleat) Minimal, curtains stack back well.  Suitable for track and pole.  This heading needs slightly less fullness than the triple pleat heading.

Double pleat heading

Single Pleat  Popular because of it’s simplicity. Stacks back away from the window into a small space.

Single Pleat heading

Triple pleat (also known as the french pleat) is smart, classic and formal.  Suitable for elegant drawing and reception rooms.

Triple pleat heading

Cartridge Pleat  The Cartridge Pleat is similar to the Pinch pleat and is useful if a Wave style is desired and your budget is limited. The Cartridge Pleat doesn’t need the Wave mechanism track/pole so can be installed onto an existing track/pole.  Requires less fullness in the fabric and can stack back into a small space.

Cartridge pleat heading

Wave   This heading style will need a Wave mechanism track/pole to operate which can be added only to certain tracks/poles at present. The wave mechanism spaces the curtain equally between each ‘Wave’ (folds). This heading is smart and contemporary and great for bi-fold doors or wide windows.  Curtain does not overlap unless an overlap arm is added to the wave mechanism.

Wave heading

Eyelet  (or ring top) This heading is only suitable for poles.  The metal eyelet is in the fabric which is threaded onto a pole.  Eyelets come in different sizes and colours to match your pole or fabric.  The fullness should be twice the pole length and there needs to be space above the pole for the curtains to open and close effortlessly. The eyelet heading  is very low maintenance and suitable for rental properties.  There can be gaps on the leading edges as this style does not overlap.  Not ideal for bedrooms, as there is too much light seepage.

Eyelet heading

Cottage Pleats ( or 1″ gathered) An informal soft gathered look.  The 1 ” tape is sewn a couple of inches down from the top of the fabric to give a ruched gathered flop!  Great for curtain poles and tracks and suitable for small windows.

Cottage pleat heading

There are lots of other styles of curtain headings but the ones listed below are ones I use very infrequently.

Ruched onto pole

Euro pleat

Tab Top

Tied

Box pleat

Inverted pleat

Dropped Goblet

Many thanks for taking the time to read my curtain headings blog.  If you still have a dilemma deciding which heading to choose please contact me through this website or give me a call on 07747611160.  Best wishes, Sarah

 

 

Curtain Call – Show Stealing Curtains

Windows are a natural focal point and define the mood and style of your room. With lots of great curtain fabrics around it can be hard to choose the right one.  The first step is to decide which window treatment is right for your window.  Is the room sunny or dark, cold or warm.  How much privacy and light do you want?

Windows can be dressed according to the season.  Do you want summer sun or winter warmth?

For summer, these window treatments tend to be more casual and breezy.

You can create some drama by adding light fabrics like cottons, linens and voiles that soften the window but let in plenty of daylight. Add crisp whites, natural greens and pastel colours to keep your rooms feeling fresh and airy.

In winter, with shorter days and howling gales you may want curtains that insulate in the evenings but stack back away from the windows when the light is low.

Winter dressings tend to be more formal and heavier than summer ones.  Damask, velvet and wool are traditional fabric choices.

Take your time when choosing fabric and get a swatch sample to hold up at your window.

Choosing the right hardware is also important and it can be hard to decide what curtain pole or track to use.

Choose hardware that compliments the colour of your curtains and remember that your curtains need to open and close effortlessly.

Double curtain poles allow you to layer two types of curtains. The outer layer can be easily changed with the seasons.

The right curtains give a room polish, so if you need help and advice please telephone: 07747611160  or fill in the contact form.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The benefits of Bespoke Curtains and Blinds

The benefits of Bespoke Curtains and Blinds
 We have all been spending much more time in our homes recently and some of us have no doubt been thinking about redecorating, or perhaps introducing new window dressings into our homes. You’ve probably got an idea of what you want, but finding it is not that easy.  So you head to the high Street after scouring the internet to hunt for the perfect colour, pattern and texture. But have you really thought about the fit?

When you finally do find something that you like. Guess what? They don’t fit your window! They are either too long, short or not wide enough.

One option to consider is the bespoke made-to-measure market. It may cost more but in the long term it can be worth the investment.

Measuring Up

If you contact a local curtain maker / soft furnisher they usually offer a no obligation measuring service. Someone will come to your home, measure your windows and offer you advice.

Fabric Choice

Most soft furnishers also offer a really good selection of fabrics that cover all styles and budgets. They have the less mainstream fabrics so you can be more individual and unique. If you need a helping hand when it comes to difficult windows the curtain maker is up to date on new products that are available.

Roman Blinds and Dress Curtains

Hand sewn not factory made

You get your blinds and curtains made especially for your windows in a style and fabric that you want. They are very well made and have good quality linings.  Also it’s the little details that make all the difference like pattern positioning and weighted hems.  They are made by hand and not in a factory. You can have different curtain headings to suit the window and also choose co-ordinating complimentary fabrics for cushions.

Pleated to pattern with recess bracket

It really is taking your soft furnishings to the next level.

Hopefully this blog has convinced you that it’s worth spending a little more on your window dressings. I’m sure that once you have chosen the bespoke made to measure option you will never go back to ready-mades.

If you would like some help with your window dressings please call on 07747611160 or fill in the website form.

Sarah x

Chinoiserie decor

During lockdown many of us have taken pleasure from nature in our gardens and the countryside. If you want to know how to add nature into your home decoration then take inspiration from chinoiserie with sumptious wallpapers, fabrics and ceramics.

Chinoiserie drew inspiration from flowers, birds, animals and elaborate garden scenes.

The definition of chinoiserie, which comes from the French word chinois, or “Chinese,” is a style of art, furniture, decoration, etc. that has Chinese or East Asian influences. The style developed in the 17th century during Europe’s flourishing trade with East Asia.

Chinoiserie decorating styles have been around for centuries and there has been a resurgence in recent times. The classic chinoiserie was very bold and ornate. Today’s modern interpretation is much more toned down but can still add a touch of elegance and drama to a space. There are lots of pretty wallpapers with birds and blossom available that also work well in a bedroom.

The Europeans began using their own interpretations of Asia’s art and culture. Birds feature heavily in chinoiserie so you could add a modern print bird cushion to your decor.

Traders began importing tea from Asia which grew in popularity and the demand for elaborate tea tables, tea chests, tea sets encouraged the demand for chinoiserie.

Tea caddy 21st century



Chinoiserie is much more than just the delft blue and white china we have come to know. If you want to inject a little chinoiserie in your home try a few decorative ginger jars, vases or lamps

If you would like advice on fabrics for soft furnishings then please contact me on mobile 07747611160.

Enjoy the summer flora and fauna.

Sarah x

How to darken your bedroom and sleep for longer.

Want to darken your room and sleep longer? If you’ve been waking up early with the sun streaming in your room then it’s probably a good time to think about getting black out curtains, blinds or both. Of course we all want to sleep longer on sunny mornings especially at weekends or perhaps we just want to watch a favourite TV programme more effectively on a sunny day.

Parents of young infants want black out solutions for their bedrooms especially when they have infants needing afternoon naps or when it’s bedtime during the light evenings.

Here are a few of my suggestions to darken a bright window for a dreamy nights sleep

Buy a black out roller blind to fit in the recess. There will be more light seepage if fitted outside, so it’s more effective to fit this inside the recess. The brackets are 1.5cm from the edge of the fabric at each side so there will still be gaps of light.

If choosing curtains, a curtain track fits much closer to the wall or ceiling than a curtain pole. A pole sticks out more and will let in more light as you can see in the picture below.

If you don’t like tracks then try the Silent Gliss Metropole which is a track that has been rounded to look like a pole. The Metropole is good solution for bay windows. A popular choice is to have a white blackout roller in the recess and then have curtains or a roman blind with black out lining on the outside of the recess. If you have existing curtains that let the light shine through, you can buy pre-made black out linings which simply attach to your curtains. These are available in different sizes and widths.

You can also fit curtains under a pelmet or a covered lathe and fascia. This blocks off light at the top of the curtains.

Wooden pelmet

Roman blinds with a black out lining are more effective for eliminating light if fitted outside the recess. However there will be light seepage around the edges of the blind and possibly through the stitching.

Shutters are diffusers of light rather than blackout. There is light seepage where the louvre/slats meet and where the opening frame meets. The level of light seepage may very across the shutter.

Pleated blinds sit closer to the sides of the window if they are fitted in the recess. Opt for the honeycomb/duette blinds which have the cord holes in the fabric at the back of the blind. There will still be light seepage around the edges of the blind which is greatly reduced if fitted within a frame or side channel like Perfect Fit blinds.

No blind, curtain or shutter can give you 100% blackout but it will considerably dim the amount of sunshine flooding into your room.

If you would like further advice on darkening your room please get in touch on Mobile 07747611160 or fill in the contact form.

I hope you have a restful summer.

Sarah x

Bay Windows – Choosing the right pole or track.

Bay Windows – Choosing the right pole or track. If you want curtains then choosing the right track or pole for a bay window can be a bit tricky if you have never had to do this before, it can also be quite expensive. Bay windows can be the focal point of a room especially those which let in lots of natural light. When it comes to bay windows it is far better to have a bespoke product made to measure with the correct angles and curves than a do it yourself product off the shelf. Tracks and poles that you can bend yourself are generally not very durable. It’s all down to personal choice but here are some tips to help you decide.

Poles are more decorative. If you choose a pole with rings you will need several brackets to support this round the bay. The brackets are known as passing brackets. These need passing rings ( also known as C rings) which pass over the brackets. These are a compromise in my opinion as I have found that in order to get the rings over the brackets you have to do a lot of tugging on the curtains. This can stretch and distort of the fabric over time. Eyelet curtains are not suitable for bay poles unless you have a curtain in each section of the bay between the brackets.

Tracks are great for bays and can be corded or uncorded. Tracks can be top fixed or face fixed and are more practical than decorative. Electric tracks are also available but this depends on how many bends you have in your bay. Tracks are also available in a choice of colours. If you decide to choose a white track it can blend in with a white ceiling which is great if you want the curtains to be the feature and not the track. Some tracks can be bent on-site by a track fitter.

Pelmets are great if you need the curtains to clear the window sill. There is usually enough space to have roller blinds or sheers as well as curtains depending on the depth of the sill.

Wooden pelmet

The track sits discreetly under a covered pelmet and board which is cut to shape around the bay. The pelmet board is usually padded to give an opulent look and the board has many hidden fixings which can cope with heavy fabrics. The curtains are attached to gliders and sit under the track making them stack back well. This is good option if you have a bay window in your bedroom and you don’t want too much light seepage.

Covered lath and fascia.
This is like a mini pelmet however if you look at it from a distance it gives the illusion that the track is covered in fabric. The fabric is generally the same fabric as the curtains but you can choose a plain or contrast colour. The lath and fascia are curved around the bay and like the pelmet can deal with heavier curtains. Instead of covering the fascia in fabric it can be painted the colour of the walls. The curtain is attached to the gliders that slide along the bottom of the track and can be adjusted to hang below or above the fascia. A track fitter will do all this for you on site.

Bay window lathe and fascia

A popular choice for bay windows is the Silent Gliss Metropole, for me this product has been a great solution for many difficult bay windows. The metropole is a pole which has a track built in it, so instead of traditional rings this has gliders. The curtains sit underneath like a normal pole. It is minimal and modern and is available in a choice of contemporary colours and sizes. It can be top or face fixed, corded or uncorded. You can add finials to this at extra cost.

Whatever you choose, opening and closing your curtains should be reasonably effortless. I hope I’ve given you some extra knowledge on what might work for you. Sorting out the correct hardware can be expensive but it should last a long time. If you still need help deciding what pole or track system will be suitable for your particular bay window please feel free to call me on 01423 325301 for further advice.

Why we should all love wool

Campaign for wool week celebrated it’s 10th anniversary in October and held lots of events to promote the benefits of wool. Launched in 2010 by Prince Charles, the Campaign for Wool aims to educate and raise the profile of wool as the natural sustainable fibre for fashion and interiors.

Wool mostly comes from sheep but it also comes from goats and alpacas.

Each year a sheep produces a fleece which is 100% natural. The sheep is given a haircut to remove its fleece. The fleece grows back which then makes it renewable.

Wool is also biodegradable. It decomposes in the soil and takes a short time to break down releasing valuable nutrients into the ground. It is also very hard wearing.

Because of the structure of wool it is able to absorb and release moisture. This makes wool a natural insulator, reacting to changes in body temperature and helping to maintain comfort in both cold and warm weather. Wool is also used as insulation in the building industry.


Wool is easy to care for and can repel stains and dirt. It does not generate much static electricity so attracts less dust. It doesn’t need to be washed as often as man-made fibres and it is washed at a lower temperature than most textiles. When wool is washed any fibres that are released are biodegradable, unlike synthetic fibres that release harmful micro-plastics into the environment.

Wool is very versatile


Wool can be fun too!

Make a difference and choose wool.

Dressing bi-fold doors

If you have glazed external bi-fold doors you may have found that due to the size of them they are sometimes a bit tricky to dress. More and more homeowners are having them fitted and they are becoming a popular choice.

Over 4 metres

Bi-fold doors can take up the whole space of an external wall and are generally very wide and tall. There is sometimes very little space above the door or to the sides, so it is important to choose a dressing that does not hinder the movement of the door.

You may want to add curtains or blinds for the following reasons :
For privacy if your window is overlooked.
You don’t want to live in a gold fish bowl especially at night!
For shade if your window gets the midday sun.
If you want to watch the TV and are worried about the glare of the sun.
If you want to close off another room (internal bi-fold doors) and make a room feel cosy.

So which to choose, curtains or blinds?

It all depends on your windows, some companies have bi-fold doors with built in blinds.
If not, is there enough space at the top to fix blinds?
Do the doors open outwards or inwards? Will blinds, if attached to the frames of the bi-folds prevent the doors from folding back neatly?

If you are thinking of fitting curtains, your hardware needs to be up to the task as you are going to need a lot of fabric to cover all that glass. Lots of curtain fabric can be heavy and thin flimsy poles or tracks will bend in the middle.

50mm stainless steel pole with recess brackets


If the door opens outwards you can fit a track in the recess. You will lose some light as the curtains will stack into the glass at either side when open. However if you fit a track or pole outside the recess the curtains will fold into the room and can make it feel smaller.

White 1280 track top fixed in the recess. This is a discreet heavy duty track that can cope with the weight

The left curtain above is unhooked at the end so that the curtain can be moved over to right side if the door is in use.

Single curtain on a pole with passing brackets and C rings

If you decide to choose a pole be careful when choosing off the peg pole kits. They generally only have 3 brackets which may not be adequate if the pole is over 4 metres.

How about having some light linen, sheer or voile curtains, these can soften dark grey window frames. When the doors are open they will gently blow in the breeze. Linen and Voiles come in a variety of colours with white being the popular choice – very Scandinavian.

If you would like some advice on dressing bi-fold doors, please get in touch and I would be happy to help. Sarah.