Taking the next steps in soft furnishings...
Tea break
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Tea break - tips and tricks

There are lots of situations in soft furnishings when we need to use or make a template - here are some top tips.

Bay windows — several track manufacturers have free measuring devices for checking the size of the angles in splayed bay windows. These help when ordering custom poles or tracks. If you’re needing to fit roman blind tracks in a bay, then use offcuts of the actual track profile (if you have them) held inside the window frame to make sure the blinds are the right width to sit neatly next to each other. If you don’t have track offcuts, make some heading buckram strips the same depth as the track you use and take them on site instead.

Cushions — you can buy heavy duty plastic templates with markings for multiple sizes printed on them, Merrick & Day supply on trade and retail terms. You place these on the fabric and can still see the design through them for pattern placement, there are small holes to allow you to use a pencil or fabric pen to mark the corners which you then join up as cutting lines. They are also available with shaped corners which some makers prefer.

Tiebacks — if you make a lot of shaped curtain tiebacks then it’s worth buying sturdy acrylic templates to quickly mark the shapes on buckram and/or on the fabric to speed up the process.

Window seats — wallpaper lining paper is great for making templates for window seats which are often uneven shapes. For large seats cut a hole in the middle of the paper and put a length of tape across it to anchor the paper while you’re dealing with the edges and corners. For shaped cushions, seat backs or window seats, you might want to buy some spot and cross paper which has a grid of marks printed on it to speed up measuring and drawing straight lines. It’s around 90cm wide so is great for larger projects, you can find it online.

Pelmets — wallpaper lining is also great for mocking-up pelmets to check the drop is suitable, and for making a template for shaped lower edges.

Shaped hems — the sticky-back plastic sold for making tiebacks and pelmets has various hem shaping options printed on it. These are useful to copy when making your own pelmet boards or shaped hems on a blind.

Curtain eyelet spacing — if you make your eyelet headings to a set size, for instance 16cm centre-to-centre, then you can quickly mark them out with a piece of card or buckram marked at 8cm and 16cm intervals. Then use a tagging gun to mark the eyelet positions with plastic tags before taking to the press. Over wide panels this can be more accurate than the spacer set on to the press itself. If you use plastic eyelets and cut the holes by hand, then keep a piece of eyelet tape as your template to mark the positions. If you need to make curtains with custom spacing then you can use curtain heading buckram to make your own template.

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