This week the DrapeStyle team had the pleasure of meeting acclaimed interior designer Candice Olson, at the Kravet showroom in Scottsdale, Arizona.
On a beautiful afternoon, during the design center’s “Desert Design Days”, Candice spoke to the group of designers and business owners for about an hour. She spoke about her education and how it led to her early days as a design apprentice working on commercial projects and then eventually starting her own business. After doing appearances on a local design show, she transition into the HGTV show Divine Design, we all loved.
She mentioned that her major influence right now is nature, as she creates new fabrics for “her look” due to come out next year. She also mentioned that she is working on designing the interior of a car for a major car company in hopes of attracting the number one buyers of this car, women.
Classic yet contemporary, sophisticated while accessible, these fabrics represent Candice’s love of everyday elegance. Interior Designer, Author and TV star, Candice is considered to be a pre-eminent design authority. DrapeStyle couldn’t be happier to add her collection of luxury fabrics to our designer collection.
Candice’s extraordinary technique, dynamic personality, and sophisticated style have made her a nationally acclaimed interior designer, author, and TV superstar. Candice’s signature style is one she describes as “a fusion of traditional form, scale and proportions, with the clean, crisp, simplistic beauty of modern design.”
DrapeStyle is proud to feature Candice Olson fabrics, available for your custom made window treatments projects. If you need a little advise about your window treatment project, we are here to help. DrapeStyle has won the best in Customer Satisfaction for five years in a row! Simply contact us and we would be happy to help you with your window treatment project!
The perk of buying curtains online has not always existed. For one thing, online shopping in general depended on the invention of the Internet. Prior to that, curtains were sold in department stores and boutique shops, made at home by the textile-fanciers, and completely non-existent in the way we know them today. Take a trip through curtain history to learn more.
A Timeline of Curtain History
31st Century B.C.
From the early 3100 B.C. to the 3rd Century B.C., the great Egyptians invented curtains and used them throughout their entire rule. The very first curtains were made of animal hides and hung in doorways with hooks. However, through the years the Egyptians spun textiles from flax and linen at first, followed by wool, silk, and cotton. These were very valuable because these materials were more flexible but still provided a similar layer of warmth as that from the hides.
Seventh to Sixth Centuries B.C.
According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, another discovery of curtain panels dates back to the 6th and 7th Centuries B.C. in ruins from Olynthus civilization in modern Greece and from Pompeii and Herculaneum civilizations in modern Italy. It is suspected these people used curtain panels to divide rooms, as opposed to our traditional window treatment use.
Early and Middle Ages
Since the Early to Middle Ages are also known as the Dark Ages, there is not much proof of curtain use at this time. However, during the 6th-15th centuries, we can suspect at least the more affluent people hung curtains in doorways and over windows to keep warm. Those large castles can be quite dark, dreary, and cold!
The Renaissance (14th-17th centuries) brought life, color, and light to the everyday people. Architecture started to embrace the use of glass panes as windows, which brought in the light but also the creepers. For the first time, people were able to see directly into another’s private space. Therefore, those who lived during the Renaissance used fabrics over the windows for privacy. It is worth noting, though, that although this use sounds just like how we use curtains today, the design was still vastly different.
18th to 19th Centuries
The eastern countries of Persia, India, and China excelled at weaving silks in beautiful patterns, and in the 18th and 19th centuries, these tricks of the trade expanded through Europe and the western worlds, especially in United Kingdom, France, Holland, and Italy. During the late 19th century, the development of machinery propelled the textile industry and made way for mass production and easy accessibility for individual homeowners. The designs were big, bold, and beautiful! At this time textile designers also made use of lace to create the first edition of the sheer curtains we know and love today.
20th Century to Present
The 20th century and 21st century have proved that anything is possible when it comes to curtains. With machinery and technology making incredible advancements, people are able to design and to create nearly any style or size of curtain. Curtain panels are hung over windows for privacy, warmth, and decoration, and they are hung in large rooms as dividers. The possibilities are endless!
Need a little more information on curtains? Do you have questions about replacing your current drapes? Contact DrapeStyle, we would be happy to help you with your window treatment project!
DrapeStyle is pleased to introduce the addition of Jeffrey Alan Marks fabrics. World renowned interior designer, TV star, and author, has made his way to DrapeStyle and we couldn’t be happier!
Jeffrey Alan Marks’ designs are infused with fresh inforality, good nature and playful charm. Internationally recognized as one of today’s most influential American designers, this California talent catures each client’s personality to create timeless and livable interiors.
From London townhouses to Malibu beach compounds, Jeffrey’s work resonates. His thoughtful spaces are purposeful and authentic, begging to be lived in. For over two decades, his firm’s relaxed yet tailored interiors have stood apart. Named one of “the town’s most-wanted designers” by The Hollywood Reporter, Jeffrey Alan Marks believes the design process should be fun and creative like his designs and personal style. Jeffrey studied design at the prestigious Inchbald School of Design in England and lived in Paris and Milan for many years allowing his work to draw cues from Italian and French methods.
His colorful, comfortable design style translates to the atmosphere at his firm, JAM, Inc. Based in Santa Monica, the firm designs and develops luxury homes in America and the United Kingdom and develops commercial projects including restaurants and retail stores. New projects includes a chain of restaurants in Korea and exclusive eateries in New York, Montecito, and West Hollywood.
Jeffrey is included in House Beautiful’s list of the most influential decorators in American History and is on Elle Decor magazine’s A-List. His work is regularly published by major shelter magazines including Elle Decor, German Architectural Digest, and the British In Style Home. Often invited to share his design philosophy and laid-back personality, Jeffrey is a favorite among worldwide television viewers and design industry forums.
Here is a little information about Labor Day, courtesy of Wikipedia:
Labor Day in the United States is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend and it is considered the unofficial end of summer.
Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor. “Labor Day” was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, which organized the first parade in New York City. In 1887, Oregon was the first state of the United States to make it an official public holiday. By the time it became an official federal holiday in 1894, thirty U.S. states officially celebrated this holiday.
DrapeStyle will be closed Monday, September 3rd. We will be back on Tuesday to help you with your window treatment needs! In the meantime, please browse our website for inspiration and information about the most beautiful custom drapes available today! We can make any width or length drape in over 600 fabrics. And with a team of talented seamstress, you are sure to receive the highest quality drapery, pillows and Roman shades.
Decorating with indoor plants, borrowed from www.bioadvanced.com:
When you embellish interior spaces with houseplants, you’re not just adding greenery. These living organisms interact with your body, mind and home in ways that enhance the quality of life.
When you breathe, your body takes in oxygen and releases carbon dioxide. During photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. This opposite pattern of gas use makes plants and people natural partners. Adding plants to interior spaces can increase oxygen levels.At night, photosynthesis ceases, and plants typically respire like humans, absorbing oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. A few plants –orchids, succulents and epiphytic bromeliads –do just the opposite, taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Place these plants in bedrooms to refresh air during the night.
As part of the photosynthetic and respiratory processes, plants release moisture vapor, which increases humidity of the air around them. Plants release roughly 97% of the water they take in. Place several plants together, and you can increase the humidity of a room, which helps keeps respiratory distresses at bay. Studies at the Agricultural University of Norway document that using plants in interior spaces decreases the incidence of dry skin, colds, sore throats and dry coughs.
Plants remove toxins from air –up to 87% of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) every 24 hours, according to NASA research. VOCs include substances like formaldehyde (present in rugs, vinyl, cigarette smoke and grocery bags), benzene and trichloroethylene (both found in man-made fibers, inks, solvents and paint). Benzene is commonly found in high concentrations in study settings, where books and printed papers abound.
Modern climate-controlled, air-tight buildings trap VOCs inside. The NASA research discovered that plants purify that trapped air by pulling contaminants into soil, where root zone microorganisms convert VOCs into food for the plant.
Adding plants to hospital rooms speeds recovery rates of surgical patients, according to researchers at Kansas State University. Compared to patients in rooms without plants, patients in rooms with plants request less pain medication, have lower heart rates and blood pressure, experience less fatigue and anxiety, and are released from the hospital sooner.
The Dutch Product Board for Horticulture commissioned a workplace study that discovered that adding plants to office settings decreases fatigue, colds, headaches, coughs, sore throats and flu-like symptoms. In another study by the AgriculturalUniversity of Norway, sickness rates fell by more than 60 percent in offices with plants.
A study at The Royal College of Agriculture in Circencester, England, found that students demonstrate 70% greater attentiveness when they’re taughtin rooms containing plants. In the same study, attendance was also higher for lectures given in classrooms with plants.
How Many Plants?
The recommendations vary based on your goals.
To improve health and reduce fatigue and stress, place one large plant (8-inch diameter pot or larger) every 129 square feet. In office or classroom settings, position plants so each person has greenery in view.
To purify air, use 15-18 plants in 6-8-inch diameter pots for an 1,800-square-foot house. That’s roughly one largerplant every 100 square feet. Achieve similar results with two smaller plants (4-5-inch pots).
DrapeStyle had a customer walk in today asking about solutions for keeping the heat out. Here in Phoenix we are experiencing 110 degree temperatures so this can really be an issue for us especially this time of year.
I walked him through a few scenarios and thought this is good information that should be shared.
A drapery lining fabric helps protect your curtains from sun and moisture damage, increasing the life of your curtains. The sun can fade and damage fabric over time, so a lining provides a protective layer from harmful UV light, not only for the face fabric, but also for your furnishings. Blackout lining provides the most protection from the sun.
A common reason to use drapery lining is to block light. Blackout drapery lining is specifically designed to block most or all light. Does the morning light wake you up too early? Do you work late shifts and have to sleep during the day? Do you have a child that takes naps during the day? Blackout lining is the answer.
Blackout lining is made by sandwiching a black opaque membrane between two white fabrics. It is surprisingly thin and very flexible. This is a high end fabric unlike the stiff lining you might find in a hotel room. DrapeStyle only uses Hanes linings and our blackout lining will block out 95% off the light.
Insulating drapery lining helps regulate temperature and can dampen sound. All drapery lining will give some degree of insulation, but certain linings are specifically designed for it. They can help save on heating costs by reducing drafts and heat loss during the winter, and can keep things cooler in the summer by blocking heat from the sun. Insulated drapery lining also dampens sound and can help block outside noises.
Bump drapery interlining is particularly effective at thermal and noise insulation. Because it’s thick, bump is often used to create fuller, heavier looking draperies that have a luxurious feel. It’s commonly used with silks and taffetas. Bump is an interlining, meaning it should be sandwiched between the face fabric and another drapery lining.
If you have any questions about lining your draperies, please contact us. DrapeStyle has been in business for over 15 years and we continue to make high quality custom made draperies right here in the USA.
The warmer weather draws us outdoors to dine, entertain and play. Sunbrella fabrics can create an outdoor space you can be proud of. View our collection of sweet and strong Sunbrella fabrics.
Taken from the Sunbrella website:
Sunbrella is founded on the belief that fabrics should be both beautiful and functional. We began in the 1960s with the challenge of creating an awning canvas with a substantially longer lifespan than cotton. Sunbrella has become widely adopted for shade structures, marine canvas and upholstery fabric for both outdoor and indoor applications.
Our textiles are made with close attention to design detail, and engineered with robust performance characteristics that provide resistance to fading and degradation from sunlight and chemical exposure. The fabric is tactile yet durable, has industry-leading environmental characteristics, is easy to care for and offers long life – wherever it’s used.
Each yard of Sunbrella performance fabric is a product of a global support team committed to producing only the most exceptional performance textiles you can buy.
Sunbrella fabrics are manufactured in facilities around the globe. Our main manufacturing location is a one million square foot facility in South Carolina, USA. This Anderson, South Carolina plant features a completely vertical ISO 9001 and 14001 certified manufacturing operation, R&D center and testing lab. This facility established the blueprint for our plants in Lille, France and Suzhou, China, manufacturing locations that enable us to best serve our customers in those regions. Sunbrella is always manufactured to the same standards and is delivered when you need it, anywhere in the world.
Research and Development
Our R&D department is continually pushing the envelope for what is possible with Sunbrella textiles. R&D spearheads our efforts to continually improve and refine the durability characteristics of Sunbrella fabrics. R&D also develops solutions for new textile designs, constructions and applications to fit needs in the marketplace for superior performance textiles.
The Sunbrella design team operates in the United States and Europe. This group of experienced textile designers brings diverse industry experience and is actively involved in stock line design, collaborative collections and custom line development. Sunbrella designers travel extensively to gather trend intelligence, design analysis and color forecasts – knowledge they share with our manufacturing partners to bring to market the latest in home décor, shade innovation and marine styling.
How to Clean
All Sunbrella® fabrics are engineered to combine the highest level of design and performance. For easy day-to-day maintenance of your Sunbrella fabric:
Brush off loose dirt.
Spray on a cleaning solution of water and mild soap.
Use a soft bristle brush to clean.
Allow cleaning solution to soak into the fabric.
Rinse thoroughly until all soap residue is removed.
When you’re ready to decorate your outdoor space, view our sweet and strong Sunbrella fabrics and design your own custom draperies. Need a little help? We’re here for you! Just contact us for more information or if you need a little help ordering your custom outdoor draperies and pillows. DrapeStyle has been in business for over 15 years and everything is still made right here in the USA.
We live in a disposable world where we purchase things only to dispose of them when they wear out or are damaged. By investing in quality products, you will be able to enjoy your purchase for years to come and give the environment a break. Everything at DrapeStyle is custom made. Nothing is ready made. Our seamstresses have an average of 25 years experience in making custom window treatments. We make each item as if it was going into our own home.
Once you place your order, the process begins! Most of our fabrics will need to be ordered from our suppliers. We have a large workroom, but not large enough to keep over 500 fabrics in stock! Once we have received your fabric, we meticulously view every inch of the fabric with back lighting to detect any flaws or imperfections. This includes rolling out the fabric and inspecting on back lit apparatus:
If the fabric meets our high standards, we then cut the fabric in our own, Phoenix, AZ workroom, the lining and interlining. We take time to match up the pattern, print or banding to each drape for a custom look.
Then the sewing begins! We includes details such as sewing 1 1/2″ double side hms, 5″ double bottom hems, 5″ double headers with buckram, 3 1/2″ overlaps, 3 1/2″ returns and bottom weights. You can be sure that your draperies will be hand made with no detail overlooked.
Details such as pleats, trim, banding, and drapery pins are added. Once everything has been completed, the drapes are fan folded. This ensures that the drapes will keep their crisp shape:
The drapes are then banded with paper cuffs, wrapped in plastic and are ready to be boxed for shipping:
Once they are ready to ship, we carfully package the draperies into long boxes, We include care instructions and fabric information inside the box:
For more information contact us. DrapeStyle has been in business for over 15 years. We continue to custom make quality drapes, shades and pillows by hand. Nothing is ready made. DrapeStyle’s way of making custom products takes a little more time and cost a little more but we think it’s worth it. We think you’ll be pleased.
Drapery can be lush and beautiful but may not always fit the space. If there is furniture or a radiator below the window, or if the window is in an awkward space on the wall, you may want to consider a Roman shade. Roman shades can be made in any fabric, they can provide much needed privacy, and look great especially when paired with draperies in the same room. If you have room for both, no problem! Many people will use a shade or shutters for privacy and use drapes to add color and texture to the wall. You can have both!
You get what you pay for.
You can certainly purchase window treatments from most retailers, but made to measure can make all of the difference. Custom made window treatments will ensure that the correct size and fabric are ordered for your application. High quality window treatments can be a big investment, but they are worth it.
Hang your window treatments high and wide.
The trend right now is to hang your draperies and Roman shades close to the ceiling and slightly wider that your window. This creates the illusion that your window (and room) is larger than it is. And it seems that there are no longer “typical sized windows” anymore. Often times ready made window treatments are not sold in the size you need. This is another reason to order custom made draperies and Roman shades. Having the right sized window treatment will make all the difference.
Don’t forget about the drapery hardware.
Like jewelry to an outfit, hardware can really make or break the window. If you are having window treatments made, don’t skimp on the hardware. Custom hardware can be ordered in the appropriate size, style and color to compliment your draperies.
Consult a professional.
Probably the most important tip. I’ve said it before, purchasing window treatments can be a huge task! And that’s why we’re here. DrapeStyle can help you every step of the way from sending you fabric swatches to helping you determine the right lining for your application. Simply contact us and we would be happy to help!
Window treatments can be the first thing you notice when you enter a room. They can really make the difference in the look and feel of the room, provide much needed privacy and add interest to your windows and walls. Don’t over look your windows, they need love too!
DrapeStyle carriers an excellent selection of high end, luxury designer fabrics. Here is a little information about one of our top designers, Sarah Richardson.
Sarah Richardson has been a key fixture of the Canadian design world since starting out in 1995, working behind the scenes as a prop stylist and set decorator. By the late 90’s, Sarah realized that she could carve a niche in the emerging world of design TV by sharing her practical, endearing and inspiring approach to décor and design with viewers. She launched her first TV series for HGTV in 2000, Room Service. 17 years later, she is the host, co-creator and co-producer of over 250 episodes of design television that span seven hit HGTV series targeted directly to the needs of a contemporary audience. Room Service, Design Inc., Sarah’s House, Sarah’s Cottage, Sarah’s Rental Cottage, Sarah 101, and Real Potential are a collection of lifestyle television series dedicated to tackling the demands and design challenges of modern living.
Known for her upbeat and easygoing approach to creating elegant and timeless designs for every room in the home, Sarah inspires and empowers viewers by effortlessly sharing her winning style formula. Sarah’s enthusiasm for all aspects of design is infectious, and her ability to engage and inspire viewers has earned her a loyal and dedicated fan base across North America and around the world. Sarah’s programs are seen in over 100 countries worldwide.
Want more inspiration? Check out Sarah’s show, Off The Grid, on HGTV USA. And when you’re ready, view her fabrics here and design your own custom draperies. Need a little help? We’re here for you! Just contact us for more information or if you need a little help ordering your custom window treatments. DrapeStyle has been in business for over 15 years and everything is still made right here in the USA.
This week our workroom will be closed so that our employees can take a much needed break from making all of the beautiful items our customers enjoy so much! We wish you, your family, and friends a fun and safe holiday as we celebrate America’s Independence Day!
I’m reposting this article I found on www.onetoughjob.org.
Independence Day (or Fourth of July) is a great time to teach your children about American history while also relaxing and enjoying the weather. Here are some ways to incorporate education into your celebration.
teach some history
Use these kid-friendly resources to teach your kids about the importance of the holiday.
Teach your kids about our government by staging your own kid-friendly mini-democracy. Make ballot boxes and have the kids vote on things throughout the celebration such as hamburgers vs. hot dogs or chocolate ice cream vs. vanilla.
make a tasty and patriotic treat
Patriotic popcorn balls are both fun and easy snacks to make with your young ones!
15 cups of salted popcorn
½ cup of butter
4 cups mini marshmallows
1 tsp. vanilla
Red & blue M&M’s (either original or pretzel!)
1. Remove kernels from popcorn and place in large mixing bowl
2. Melt butter and mini marshmallows over medium heat until mixture is completely smooth
3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, then generously cover popcorn
4. Mix in your M&M’s, then with wet hands make popcorn balls and set aside on wax paper to cool
Drapes and curtains never go out of style! The fabric might but not the style.
From the beginning, window coverings were used for protection from the elements, for privacy, and to help keep the cold or warmth inside the home. The same holds true for today. Window coverings can help insulate your windows and help lower heating or cooling bills. Window coverings can provide much needed privacy-unless you don’t mind that your neighbors know what you’re up to! And window coverings can provide much needed color, texture and interest to your walls.
In the medieval times the more clothes people wore, the richer they were. The same rule applied to their homes and window treatments, the more fabrics and colors the window had the richer the family was. That’s how valances, cornices and curtains with trim were designed, to show the wealth of the family.
When I tell people that I design custom window treatments for a living they often ask, “Do people still buy curtains?”. And the answer is yes. Now, not everyone wants a beautifully textured silk drape with heavy lining, but we have a variety of styles and fabrics to choose from. Whether your taste is modern or classic, contemporary or industrial, we have something for everyone.
The benefit of purchasing draperies hasn’t always existed. At one time, window treatments were only available for purchase at stores. But now you can enjoy shopping from your home with the ease and convenience of online shopping. Looking for hard to find sizes? Let us make a custom sized drape or Roman shade for you. All shipped for free, directly to you.
DrapeStyle has been in business for over 15 years. We continue to custom make quality drapes, shades and pillows by hand. Nothing is ready made. Well made draperies will last 10-20 years or more. DrapeStyle’s way of making custom products takes a little more time and cost a little more but we think it’s worth it. We think you’ll be pleased.
“Can I use outdoor fabrics indoors?” I get this question a lot. The answer is simply, yes.
Today’s outdoor fabrics are durable, fade resistant, stain resistant and drape beautifully. They are perfect for high traffic areas, kids rooms, and places where pets reside. You wouldn’t know that the fabrics were made for outdoors; they are of such high quality, and excellent hand that you can really use them anywhere. Pillows, sofas, draperies, dining room chairs, ottomans, you name it. I have personally sold our outdoor fabric for all of these uses and they turned out beautiful.
There are so many colors and patterns to choose from that you are sure to find something to compliment your decor. If you don’t see it on our website, let us know and we will order it for you.
Clean up is a breeze. Simply remove any debris before cleaning. Then wash area with soap and water. Usually this will do this trick but you may also try laundering the upholstery covers. For mold and mildew, you may need to wash with a water and bleach solution.
Please contact for more information on using outdoors fabrics, or view our collection of fabrics here. DrapeStyle has been in business for over 15 years. We continue to custom make quality drapes, shades and pillows by hand. Nothing is ready made. DrapeStyle’s way of making custom products takes a little more time and cost a little more but we think it’s worth it. We think you’ll be pleased.
As people today move through life, they adopt and blend other cultures with their own. The result is a design direction that celebrates mixed influences and cross cultural fertilization. Increasingly nomadic, our urban centers already considered cultural melting pots, are becoming progressively more diverse.
Years of globalization and the movement of people as well as product has brought about a globalized color palette and design aesthetic devoid of premeditation that we call the Celebration of Multicultural. A mash-up of influences and impossible to pin down to any one starting point, the aesthetic of Celebration of Multicultural is the epitome of a celebration of diversity. Ad-hoc curation wins, preoccupations of provenance are abandoned and designs are indiscriminately playful. The outcome is a montage of influences: old and new, traditional and experimental, synthetic and organic.
Excerpted with permission from VIEWPOINT COLOUR Issue 03 – The Play Issue.
If you desire something bold and beautiful, DrapeStyle’s Custom Silk Drapes are available in dozens of colors to choose from. You choose your fabric, pleat style, width and length and we’ll make the most beautiful high quality draperies available. For more information or to speak to one of our in house designers, please contact us. At DrapeStyle, we have been making custom draperies, pillows and Roman shades for over 15 years. Our seamstresses have an average of 25 years of experience. Please join us in the DrapeStyle experience, you will be pleased.
Custom Pillows are the perfect complement to any drapery. Beautifully crafted, we make each pillow to order right here in our Arizona studio. When you order custom pillows with your custom drapes, curtains or roman shades, our seamstresses will cut the pillow fabric along with the drape fabric for a perfect match.
Choose from genuine Schumacher, Kravet, Robert Allen or any of DrapeStyle’s hundreds of fabrics. Not everything needs to match. Mix it up! Choose a coordinating solid with your printed roman shades. Add a band of your pillow fabric to your custom drapes or curtains. The possibilities are endless!
DrapeStyle’s custom pillows include:
22″ x 22″
Available in any DrapeStyle fabric
Optional matching cording detail
Your choice of 100% down or down/poly blend insert
Inside seams are finished to prevent the fabric from fraying
Handmade to order in the USA
It is little touches like these that have given DrapeStyle the reputation of producing luxurious, quality custom products right here in the USA.
For more information contact us or view our pillow page. DrapeStyle has been in business for over 15 years. We continue to custom make quality drapes, shades and pillows by hand. Nothing is ready made. DrapeStyle’s way of making custom products takes a little more time and cost a little more but we think it’s worth it. We think you’ll be pleased.
Here is an interesting story I found on Atlas Obscura: https://goo.gl/VjBSPE
The problems began with a new variety of mulberry and ended with lumpy thread.
Rolls of dressed fiber, South Manchester, Connecticut, 1914. NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY/ PUBLIC DOMAIN
In October 1789, during a trip to Connecticut, U.S. President George Washington described some “exceeding good” silk lustring and “very fine” silk thread that were part of a growing domestic industry. In fact, by the time Washington wrote those words in his journal, the area that became the state of Connecticut in 1788 had been practicing raw silk production, known as sericulture, for over half a century—and silk was on the rise.
By 1826, three out of every four households in Mansfield, Connecticut, were raising silkworms, and by 1826, Congress commissioned a report on the potential for a U.S. silk industry. By 1840, Connecticut outpaced other states in raw silk production by a factor of three. Within the next two decades, however, the industry would collapse, leaving the country to wonder what went wrong.
The unlikely development of Connecticut’s silk industry came about thanks Ezra Stiles, the seventh president of Yale University. Stiles was a sericulture enthusiast who experimented with cultivating mulberry trees, silkworms’ primary food source, and even wore gowns made from Connecticut silk to ceremonies. He also sent mulberry seeds and silkworm eggs across the state, and advocated for state-sponsored bounties to encourage farmers to plant mulberry trees.
One of the biggest triumphs for the early industry was figuring out how to adapt sericulture to cold weather. Such tactics included keeping silkworms warm by raising them in attics, and figuring out how to feed them in cold weather. Michael Cook, a modern sericulturist, describes the intense care and feeding schedule silkworms require.
“Rise early, feed the worms before work; feed them again at lunch, feed them again in the evening and clean a dozen or so big trays, feed them again before bed. I was feeding a garbage bag full of [mulberry] leaves and small branches daily. Cocooning was a nightmare,” says Cook. In Connecticut with deciduous mulberry trees, that intensive feeding schedule was a problem in years with early frost. One innovation to extend the feeding season was to dry mulberry leaves, then mix them with water and flour to feed to silkworms.
Inspired by Connecticut’s raw silk production, local entrepreneurs invested in machinery to manufacture silk thread and fabric from reeled silk filaments. In 1810, the Hanks brothers opened the United States’ first silk-mill in Mansfield, Connecticut, and in 1838, the Cheney brothers opened a mill which would eventually expand to 38,000 spindles, and become the largest silk manufacturer in the U.S. The future looked bright for silk.
The problems began with a new variety of mulberry and ended with lumpy thread. Beginning with Stiles, Connecticut sericulturists had always used an Italian variety of white mulberry, Morus alba, to feed their silkworms. However, in the 1830s, as the industry pushed to expand quickly, farmers and investors latched onto a Chinese variety, Morus multicaulis, a subspecies of black mulberry which produced larger leaves and more of them per tree (today M. multicaulis refers to a different plant, a subspecies of M. alba). It could also be harvested more often. The price of M. multicaulis skyrocketed as speculators sought to profit from selling cuttings from these fast-growing trees.
Samuel Whitmarsh, a “charismatic and unreliable businessman” who owned a silkworm cocoonery in Massachusetts, stoked the M. multicaulis craze with pamphletstrumpeting the benefits of this new type of tree, and letters to various silk trade publications. Daniel Stebbins, Whitmarsh’s business associate during the craze, later recounted the story of one tree that a speculator bought in Massachusetts for $25 and sold in Connecticut to a farmer named Elder Sharp for $50. Sharp then declined an offer for $450 for a quarter share of the tree; within a year the tree was worthless. The bubble had popped.
In the bubble’s aftermath in the early 1840’s, companies along the East Coast went bankrupt, as did Whitmarsh, and angry farmers tore out their orchards. Joshua Grant, a silk producer in Baltimore, calledthe collapse a “dire disaster that has overspread the land like a funeral pall.” Then a series of harsh winters, followed by a blight in 1843-44, killed many of the remaining mulberry trees.
Despite everything, in 1847, Stebbins remained hopeful about the “sequel of the silk industry.” But the region’s sericulture had one insurmountable flaw that prevented this revival: Stiles’ gowns aside, Connecticut’s silk was not industrial grade, so silk-mills could not use it to manufacture fabric. According to cultural anthropologist Dr. Janice Stockard, who has interviewed silk reelers in South China, reeling—the practice of unwinding the filaments of silk from their cocoons—requires observation, training, and practice. In 19th-century Connecticut households, women were expected to learn the skill from pamphlets.
“In pamphlets, the term ‘spinning’ described the critical technique of reeling silk from cocoons,” Stockard says. “Women in farming households improvised, based on their experience spinning wool and using technology found in the home, including the wool wheel.”
The product they ended up with was adequate for sewing thread, but not strong enough for the industrial-silk-manufacturing infrastructure that Connecticut had begun to build. According to one scathing assessment, “Connecticut women in 70 years have not improved their knowledge of reeling.” Another issue, Stockard says, was the expectation that women could reel silk “whenever leisure from other duties permitted.” In other words, women were supposed to wedge a high-skill, time-intensive task into their already full workloads, and the result was sub-par silk.
“Simultaneously unwinding several cocoons from a basin of near-boiling water while twisting these filaments into one even thread and reeling it onto a wheel was hard,” Stockard says. “If reeling was interrupted to tend to a child or chore, the silk would gum up and lump.” Faced with this weak, lumpy thread, Connecticut manufacturers began to import raw silk from China, Japan, and Italy.
By 1881, sericulture in Connecticut had been entirely abandoned. The now much older Elder Sharp, who had valued his mulberry tree so highly, said, “Our silk was good, bright and strong, needing only patience to better understand the reeling… let us do what we can at this late day to repair our error.” Instead, silk-mills continued to import from Asia and continued to manufacture silk fabric through the mid-20th century. Today, the legacy of Connecticut’s silk industry can be seen in the white mulberry trees which have spread everywhere and are now considered an invasive species.
DrapeStyle has been manufacturing custom draperies, pillows and Roman shades for over 15 years. If you have questions or need a little advice, we’re here to help. Contact us for more information or pricing on your custom window treatments.
Toile, pronounced “twal”, is a fabric, from the French word meaning “linen cloth” or “canvas”, particularly cloth or canvas for painting on. It can refer to the fabric itself, a test garment (generally) sewn from the same material, or a type of repeated surface decoration (traditionally) printed on the same fabric. The term entered the English language around the 12th century.
It’s covering everything from beds to walls in a variety of decor styles, including French country, eclectic and even modern. Here is a little information about toile:
The name is from a French term meaning “linen cloth” or “canvas”
Toile is used as an abbreviation of the term toile de Jouy (twäl-də-ˈzhwē), a term that translates to “cloth of Jouy”
Toile de Jouy is named after Jouy-en-Josas, France where, in 1760, the factory Oberkampf was founded. Up until that time in France, printing on cotton was done with wooden blocks. Oberkampf was the first company to bring copperplate printing, popular in England and Ireland, to France. The finer lines on the copperplates allowed for greater variation in light and shade. It also allowed for larger repeat patterns; thus enabling artists to be much more creative with the designs. The pastoral scenes depicted on toile de Jouy told a story and included many major events of the time. The scenes were done in a single color on a white or off-white background.
Today toile has come to refer to any type of similar printed fabric.
DrapeStyle has been making drapes right here in the USA for over a decade. Our seamstresses make each drapery panel to order with quality details you won’t find everywhere. Details like double side-hems, hand-sewn corners, bottom weights and 5 inch buckram headings. At DrapeStyle, we don’t cut-corners. We use the highest quality fabrics, linings and components possible. Maybe that’s why when House and Garden reviewed online drapery retailers they called our draperies “Beautifully Made to Order”.
Please contact us for more information or for a custom quote. Let us help you design your dream drapes, you will be pleased.
Whether you have your drapes custom made or purchase them ready made, the way you hang your curtains or drapes will make all the difference. So below for few tips on what not to do.
Don’t hang the drapery rod too low. And in fact, the trend now is to hang curtains and drapes high, close to the ceiling. This will give the illusion that the window is taller than it really is. A good rule of thumb is at least 4″-6″ above the window molding.
Select a rod that is wider than the width your window. This will allow enough room for the panels to hang on either side of your window and allow a small amount of the panels to cover the window at all times. It also tricks your eye into thinking the window is much larger than it actually is. The rule of thumb is go 8″-12″ wider than your window.
Don’t purchase drapes that are too short. Don’t skimp of the length of the drapes. Most retailers only offer set sizes. Have your curtains custom made if needed. It doesn’t cost much more than ready made drapes and it will make all the difference. And for a romantic look, go a little longer and allow the curtains to puddle on the floor. Afraid of the curtains getting dirty? Hang them right at floor for a more tailored look.
Don’t skimp of the width. You want your curtains to feel full, not skimpy. If you actually plan to close your curtains on occasion, the curtains should be about two times the width of the actual window. Use DrapeStyle’s measuring guide for more information and tips.
Make sure the drapery hooks are placed at the correct height. This is called the “pin set”. DrapeStyle’s standard pin set is 3/8″. We insure that all of the drapery hooks are spaced properly so that all you have to do is place the drapery hooks through the drapery rings. Installation is very easy.
For more information please visit our website or contact us. We are happy to help. DrapeStyle has been in business for over 15 years and we know draperies. We would be happy to help you design your dream drapes.
Did you know that DrapeStyle offers discounts to our Trade Customers?
If you are a designer, architect or commercial group, we invite you to apply. It’s fast and free. Once approved, you’ll be eligible for deep discounts on the highest quality custom made Drapes, Roman Shades, Pillows and Drapery Hardware.
DrapeStyle’s Trade Program highlights include:
Generous trade discount on Drapes, Roman Shades, Pillows and Hardware.
DrapeStyle is your single wholesale source for luxurious fully lined and interlined Custom Drapery, Roman Shades, and Custom Drapery Hardware.
Our designers can consult with you to determine correct specifications for your projects.
Each member of DrapeStyle’s talented production team has at least 25 years of experience in fabricating draperies for the trade.
Enjoy access to over 2000 fabrics including Schumacher, Kravet, Robert Allen, Sunbrella, Celerie Kemble, Trina Turk, Vern Yip, as well as DrapeStyle’s own branded silk and linen.
We accept COM orders for trim and banding with prompt return of excess material.
DrapeStyle Features Hanes ® linings and interlinings.
DrapeStyle also offers a Trade Package which includes over 500 samples of fabrics, linings, trims and ribbons. Once your company is registered as a DrapeStyle Trade Customer, you can order DrapeStyle’s Trade Package for only $99.
When you order a Trade Package from DrapeStyle you will receive the following:
Over 500 samples of fabrics, linings, ribbons and trims.
Samples are approximately 5″x 5″ on heavy card stock, labeled with fabric name and fiber content.
A dedicated support representative.
Your $99 purchase price is refundable with your first order of $999 or more.
After placing an order with DrapeStyle, your client will receive their custom made window treatments within 4-6 weeks (if the fabric is on back order, we will contact you with an estimated in stock date). Expedited orders are excepted, additional charges may apply. To make payment easy, DrapeStyle excepts American Express, Discover, Visa, Master Card, PayPal and PayPal Credit. Ordering is easy, simply give us a call and one of our design representatives will be happy to assist you. For more information, take some time and read through our To The Trade page.
At DrapeStyle we are committed to helping our trade partners be as successful as possible. We are more than a drapery workroom or supplier, we are your marketing partner. Our goal is to provide our designers and trade partners with the very best marketing resources available, while providing the highest quality custom drapery. Made in the USA since 2002, you can be assured that you clients will receive the highest quality window treatments on the market today.
April 6th is National Tartan Day! Here is a little info I found online that I thought I would share. What is a tartan? It is defined as: a woolen cloth woven in one of several patterns of plaid, especially of a design associated with a particular Scottish clan. Probably thoughts of a kilt come to mind, however a tartan can be in any form. Let’s celebrate this fabric!
National Tartan Day is a US observance on April 6 each year. It commemorates the Scottish Declaration of Independence, from which the American Declaration of Independence was modeled on. It also recognizes achievements of Americans of Scottish descent.
What Do People Do?
National Tartan Day parades occur in major cities such as New York on or around April 6. These parades often feature bag-pipe bands playing Scottish music and people dressed in kilts with tartan patterns that represent their Scottish clans. Special award events are also held on Tartan Day, often organized by groups such as the American Scottish Foundation.
The Scottish Declaration of Independence was signed on April 6, 1320. The American Declaration of Independence was, in fact, modelled on this particular document. Almost half of the signers of the American Declaration of Independence were of Scottish descent.
The US Senate Resolution on National Tartan Day was passed on March 20, 1998. From that point onward, National Tartan Day was designated as a day for all Americans, particularly those of Scottish descent, on April 6 each year.
Here is a fun video I found, take a look and maybe you’ll learn a little something!