Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Drapery "remodel"...

I love my dogs, but… I know....I’ve said that before.

Look at the photo above. Notice that the drapes on the window to the left are tucked up on the window sill. Whereas the drapes on the right side window hang down and actually “puddle” slightly on the floor. You can’t see the puddle because the bed is in the way, but they puddle. I wanted bulky puddling drapes in my bedroom. I like them to be billowy, wrinkly, blousing and with a minimal amount of hardware involved. Above photo: Angel in the Cathedral of St. Paul in London.

I like the drapery worn by many of the angels depicted in Italian art. Not like attire of the prim and proper angels like you see inside the cathedral of St. Paul in London---see photo above.

Photo above: The Ecstasy of St. Teresa by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (in Rome).

I prefer the tumbling, rumpled, unstructured drapery barely hanging onto the angels like the one that is happily thrusting a spear through the heart of St. Teresa in Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s sculpture of The Ecstasy of St. Teresa. St. Teresa, herself, has some good billowing drapery occurring with her robes, too.
The drapes shown in the photo above, of my garden breakfast room, terminate into St. Teresa-robe-like billowing puddles.

So the problem with the puddling drapes in the bedroom is that my dogs sometimes pull their beds on top of the puddles and lie down on them. The drapes get dirty and in the worst case, the drapes are being stretched by the dog's weight to the point of bending the curtain rod! So I decided to shorten my drapes.

I'm not crazy about short drapes nor am I fond of the effect of typical hemming techniques. My solution was to fold the drape bottoms up to the height of the window sill. I did not cut off the extra fabric. I still wanted a somewhat billowy effect, so I kept the extra 21 inches of length and instead of hemming the drapes in a conventional manner, I folded the width of the drapes in fourths and hand stitched a spot at each of these points---using a tacking stitch.
Above: Buttons covered in polished cotton with printed script pattern.
I liked the idea of turning up the bottom of the drapes and “buttoning” the folded up bottom to the rest of the drapes. I wanted to attach covered buttons in a different fabric. I made the button covers from a favorite chintz/polished cotton fabric that consists of a parchment-colored background printed with a graceful black French script. The piece of the script covering each button creates a fun random little squiggle. I haven't made button holes since high school home economics and wasn't feeling confident about my current ability to make them. I also had concern about laundering my drapes with the covered buttons attached. Though the covered button package indicates that the aluminum buttons are safe being laundered and dry cleaned, I didn’t know how my chosen fabric covering would hold up during these processes.
So I came up with a removable solution. I found wonderful little safety pins which are called button pins (for delicate/non-washable buttons). See photos above and diagram below.

I used the button pins to attach the covered buttons over the tacked hem spots. So it appears the drapes are turned up and buttoned.
I doubt Italian angels wear buttons, but I like the punctuation the buttons give to the blousing turned up drapes. (OK, maybe they are beginning to resemble the angel's robe in St. Paul's - London.) And I like the subtle contrast of the smooth parchment-colored chintz fabric with black squiggles against the raw canvas cream-colored drapes.

Sweet dreams, Harri-Berri, without a worry of collapsing curtain rods...

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