Once simply ornamental in nature, the button as a means to fasten clothes has been around since 13th century Germany. Since then, a wide variety of materials like wood, clay, shells, and plastic have been used to make buttons in every size, shape, and color. A button jar can morph into a great craft project, extra game tokens, or fashion embellishment. Sure, we have zippers and Velcro now, but buttons are just more fun, interesting, and whimsical. Buttons can even be works of art, so take time to appreciate those useful, pretty little things on National Button Day.
National Button Day – History
Buttoned up button
2014-A button that was once part of a Texas confederate navy uniform circa the Civil War sold for over $2,000.
Muscatine, Iowa became pearl button capital of the world
1900-Noting the abundance of pearl mussels in nearby waters, a German immigrant opened a button-making factory in small town Iowa, which soon grew to be the largest manufacturer of pearl buttons in the world.
Button-down collars invented
1896-Polo players were the first to button down their collars to stop them from getting in the way during a match; Brooks Brothers copied the look and created a lasting trend in 1896.
The church denounced buttons
1300-Europe was so button crazy, the church started calling them the “devil’s snare.” This was probably because most women’s clothing of the time buttoned up the front.
Button Makers Guild established
1250-The French established the first collective that designed artisan buttons, making buttons a status symbol.
National Button Day Activities
Upcycle with buttons-Have a shirt you don’t wear anymore? Change out the buttons and make it new again. Sew on some shiny metal buttons to give it an on-trend military look, or sew on kitschy novelty buttons to reflect your favorite hobby, animal, or even food. Be unique, original, and eco-friendly all at the same time.
Go on a treasure hunt-Hit a thrift shop, rummage, or garage sale. Be on the lookout for old clothing with unique buttons. Collectors love finding ones depicting mini works of art, that were worn by famous people, or reflect a certain era. Research to see if any of your finds are worth more than what you paid.
Start a button jar-Snip buttons from unused pieces of clothing, claim ones you find lying loose, buy novelty ones when it strikes your fancy, or pick ones up on the cheap when thrifting. Then, the next time you need a button, you’ll have a big variety of sizes, shapes and colors from which to choose.
3 Facts To Really Push Your Buttons
What side you button up on is gender-based-Women’s clothing traditionally buttons on the right (reportedly because it was easier for maids to dress the ladies they served that way) and men’s on the left (they dressed themselves).
Boutonnière means buttonhole in French-Boutonnieres go through a little slit in the lapel of men’s jackets that looks the same as a buttonhole, so we repurposed the French word for buttonhole to describe the flower in English.
Buttons on uniform sleeves were put there to stop soldiers from wiping their noses-Widely repeated but never satisfactorily confirmed, it is said that Napoleon ordered brass buttons be placed on the sleeves of all military uniforms so soldiers would be discouraged from wiping their noses on them.
One of DrapeStyle’s most popular designers is Sarah Richardson. We invite you to view her fabrics and read more about this talented designer.
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.
DrapeStyle can custom make Roman shades, pillows and draperies in your choice of Sarah Richardson fabrics. For more information contact us and we would be happy to help you design your dream drapes.
Did you know there is a training period when you purchase drapes? At DrapeStyle we make every effort to pack your drapes the same day they will be shipped out to minimize the time your custom draperies are in the shipping box. But once you receive them, here are a few tips when hanging your draperies.
If you can’t hang your draperies right away, we recommend taking them out of the box. Your drapes will be wrapped in clear plastic, will most likely be long and will be folded in order to fit them in a shipping box. We recommend that you take them out of the box and lay them flat on a large table or drape them over a chair to minimize the wrinkles.
Once you take your drapes out of the plastic bags, you will notice that the drapes have been fan folded. Not all companies do this, but by taking this extra step, the pleats are preserved. Your draperies will also have paper cuffs on them. You are welcome to keep these cuffs on them for a few days while the wrinkles work their way out.
Your draperies were also made with weights. Weighted bottoms will allow your draperies to hang beautifully. This is another additional step not all retailers take, but at DrapeStyle, weights are standard on all indoor and outdoor draperies.
If after you have allowed your draperies to hang for a couple of weeks and you still have stubborn wrinkles, you may iron your draperies on a low setting.
And if you can’t remember these tips once you receive your drapes, not to worry. A care card is included with every order to insure your draperies will look as good as they do in our catalog.
Earlier this year, Marketplace Events interviewed one of our favorite designers, Vern Yip. Here is a reply of the interview:
Iconic reality television star, architect, interior designer and author are just a few of the occupations Vern Yip has acquired through the years. Now, he’s taking over the Living IN KC Stage by IN Kansas City Magazine to show Kansas residents a trick or two about designing beautiful, functional and comfortable homes. If you want to know more about his time on TLC’s Trading Spaces or HGTV Design Star this is the perfect opportunity to see the legendary interior designer.
Q. What’s one thing we wouldn’t guess about you?
A. I am a huge tennis fan. I love watching the sport, playing the sport…really anything that involves the sport piques my interest. I once spent the year going to all the grand slam events around the world – it was remarkable!
Oh, and I also have a big passion for fine art photography. I know everything that is happening in that world!
Q. What’s are two common mistakes homeowners make when they take on a home improvement project themselves? A. First of all, homeowners often don’t take the time to plan out their project. From measuring their space to calculating their budget, I find that many homeowners tackle a project before they have done their research and due diligence. I understand and respect that it’s more fun to be impulsive or take advantage of a big sale, but if you don’t plan correctly, that sale really isn’t worth it. More times than not, I find that homeowners end up asking themselves if they really saved any money in the long run when the project wasn’t prepped accordingly.
Secondly, I often see homeowners tackling installation projects that require a great deal of knowledge and expertise. My advice to my clients is to have a realistic understanding of their skills and tools before setting out to fix a problem. The last thing you want to do is put yourself further behind on a project by making the issue worse.
Q. What’s a must-have at any party you’re throwing? A. I love filling a giant tub of ice with wine, beer, champagne, etc. and letting those drinks chill throughout the party. This is an easy way for your guests to serve themselves and the presentation is decorative yet sophisticated.
On that note, it is so important to have multiple party elements that allow your guests to relax and have fun while also making your life easier. When the host is scrambling and not having a good time, everyone can sense it and the vibe of the party could possibly be tainted. So, when hosting your next party, make sure to include elements that allow you to be both prepared and relaxed.
Q. What’s one thing you wish every homeowner knew? A. It’s ok to be yourself! So many people feel that they need to live up to someone else’s standards or that their home needs to reflect the latest trends in the market. That is simply not the case. In my opinion, the best designed homes reflect the homeowner’s nuances, quirks, passions and differences.
In order to make your space unique to your personality, budget and family dynamic, you must allow yourself the complete freedom to feel secure about the space in which you are living.
Q. What are your best small space living hacks?
A. My answer is two-fold:
1. From an aesthetic standpoint, buy the largest mirror you can possibly fit on the wall opposite your window wall. It makes a singular statement with double the view. The mirror adds space, makes the room feel bigger and takes all that natural light and bounces it back into the room.
2. From a functional perspective, find furniture that is multi-purpose. Open book shelves and end tables with long legs do not suit small spaces. Instead, look for drawers and doors. Small spaces can’t handle visual clutter, so it’s best to find furniture with tasteful, built-in storage.
What does it really mean to have something custom made? At DrapeStyle, everything we do is custom made to your specifications. Read on for more information.
Any length or width-really! We’ve made some of the largest drapes you’ve ever seen!
Custom means hand sewn. A real human being hand sews your drapes and Roman shades to order. No puckering, no bunching, no gaps.
Custom means that we can hide the seams. If you need a wide drape, we may have to sew a couple of pieces of fabrics together. But no worries, we will hide the seams within the pleats so you don’t even know they’re there!
No over looking mistakes. We give the drapes a once over before they are shipped out to make sure your drapes are just as you ordered them.
At DrapeStyle we have been making drapery by hand, right here in the USA since 2002. Nothing at DrapeStyle is “ready made”. All of our products are made from only the highest quality materials, and made by a team of talented seamstresses who an average, have 25 years of experience.
Need a little design advice? Not sure what size to order? Contact us and we would be happy to help! Because we are a small family owned business, you will talk to a real person when you call that can help you with the ordering process. We feel that the DrapeStyle way of making custom window treatments takes a little more time, cost a little more money but we think it’s worth it.
In India, Matka means “rough handloom silk fabric.” Matka comes from thick yarn spun from the silk worm and results in some irregularities in the fabric. Matka silk resembles the tweed fabric in texture. In spite of the irregularities of the Maka Silk texture, it is considered unique. The thickness of Matka Silk can vary as per the amount of yarn used. This results in a controlled thickness of the fabric which contributes to its varied uses in different industries of clothing, home furnishing, and textiles.
Making silk is a delicate process and takes a number of steps. The first step is sericulture, which is the silk worm cultivation. Maintained in a controlled environment, the worms eventually form a cocoon. Farmers gather the cocoons and transport them to the factory for filature process, which is unwinding the strand from the cocoon to make a thread of raw silk. This raw silk is combined with approximately 10 other threads and wound onto a reel. The reels are sent to the mill, where the silk fabric is woven.
Matka Silk takes dye beautifully and is very versatile. It may be used for dresses, sarees, suits, draperies, pillows and more.
DrapeStyle’s Handwoven Matka Silk is woven in India. We offer 18 different shades of Handwoven Silk and invite you to view this luxurious fabric for yourself. If you have any questions about Handwoven Silk or any of our fabrics, please contact us.
Pillows are the quickest and one of least expensive ways to update your space. Available in any of our fabrics, DrapeStyle can make pillows in any size to fit your decor.
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
Handmade to order in the USA
Spring has sprung! What better way to welcome Spring than to refresh your home with bright Springtime hues! Pillows are an inexpensive way to quickly change your home or outdoor space. Please contact us for more ideas and inspiration and browse our luxurious fabrics here.
Curtains complete a room. They add warm, texture and color to any space. Here’s a few comments about this common question that we get often: Where Should I hang My Curtains? High and wide is usually the key. It gives the illusion that your room and window are larger than they are. The trend now is to hang your curtains about two inches from the ceiling. If you have very tall ceilings you may want to hang your curtains right at the ceiling or even consider purchasing a ceiling mounted traverse track.
If you are wanting the curtains to block out light, be sure that the curtain rod is high enough and wide enough to cover the window and then some. You don’t want the sunlight peaking through. Extend the curtain rod at least 4-6 inches past the window. Again, you will want to make sure that the entire window is covered, especially if you are wanting to block out the light. You may need to extend the curtain rod even further if you don’t wan t your curtains to block your view.
A few questions to ask yourself before you buy; Are they going to be decorative or functional-how wide do I really need my curtains? For decorative curtains, figure the curtain width to be 1/3 of the window width is a good rule of thumb. Will I draw these closed with my hands or should I purchase batons-oils from your hands can damage and dirty curtains fabric over time, consider purchasing batons to draw the curtains open and closed. How large is my curtain hardware-take into consideration the diameter of your curtain rod, this will affect the length of the curtains. Unless you are purchasing cafe curtains, the drape to reach the floor. If you want a more luxurious, formal look, and a few inches to a foot so that the curtains will puddle on the floor.
Most importantly, make sure your curtains are long enough, which might mean getting them custom made. Curtains are the finishing touch in any room and if they don’t look good it’s like wearing jewelry that doesn’t match your outfit. With so many different sized windows, many people are turning to custom made window treatments and they’re more affordable than you think. DrapeStyle can make any width or length curtain in any fabric you choose. We have been in business for over 15 years so we know a thing or two about custom made curtains. Everything is made here in the USA and shipped directly to you. For more information contact us.
When ordering custom made drapes there’s a few things that you should expect; premium fabrics and linings, weighted bottoms, returns and overlaps, and packaged carefully so all you have to do is remove the plastic wrap and hang them when your custom drapes are delivered.
DrapeStyle hits all of these points and you can expect your drapes to look great and ready to hang once they arrive at your door. Once your custom drapes are completed, they are fan folded. This means that two (or more!) people have worked together to carefully fold the drapes so that the creases line up with the pleats.
Then, paper cuffs are wrapped around the drape in a few places to help hold the folds.
The drapes are placed in long plastic bags and sealed to protect the fabric while in transit. They are then placed on long tables until shipping day. The drapes are then carefully placed in a box, and packaged tightly to limit the amount of movement while in transit. As soon as the order is shipped, the customer is emailed a note to let them know their order is on the way and tracking information is provided.
When your drapes arrive you will be able to hang them right away. We install silver metal drapery pins to the back of the header and they easily slide into carriers on a traverse track or onto drapery rings. If you can’t hang your drapes right way, we suggest laying them flat on a table or draping them over a chair to minimize wrinkling. A care card is included in your order should you need to touch up the drapes and work out some of the wrinkles. But most of our customers find that after the drapes hang for a week or so, the wrinkles will work their way out.
If you have any questions about custom drapes, please contact us. DrapeStyle has been in business for 17 years and we know draperies. Made right here in Phoenix, Arizona with the highest quality fabrics, linings and threads, we’re sure you’ll be pleased with your purchase.
But that’s ok, we can deal with seams beautifully and make it so you don’t even know they’re there and still create beautiful custom drapes.
Most of our fabrics start out at 54″. Then once you start sewing the pleats and side hems, the solid colored fabric will measure 26″ wide at the top of the drape when completed. This is 1 “width” of fabric. This is fine if your custom drapes are going to be decorative, meaning that they will be stationary and you don’t plan on opening and closing them. But what if you have a wide window or your need to close your drapes? Then we start to sew together “widths” of fabric to meet your specifications. If you need a drape that is 80″ wide, you would order a 3 width drape. And our seamstresses are so talented, that they will hide the seams in the back of the pleats so that you don’t see them. This goes for patterns and striped fabrics too. Check out our measuring guide for more information.
Seams for Roman shades will be a little more obvious, but we have a solution for that too. We order enough fabric so that we can match up the pattern on all of your Roman shades. Does everyone do that? Not really, which is why you should do your homework before purchasing custom window treatments.
Seams can’t really be avoided but they can look good. Your custom made drapes should have details like bottom weights, drapery pins, double bottom hems and headers and premium linings.
The DrapeStyle way of making custom drapery takes a little more time and costs a little more money but we think it’s worth it. All of our products are made from the highest quality materials right here in the USA. For more information or questions, please contact us.
Stack Back is a term most designers know and use when I am helping them with a window project. But it is important for our retail customers to know about this term as well.
Stack Back is essentially the amount of space that a drape will take up when it is pushed opened. To make it easy, we usually calculate Stack Back as 25% of the width of the drape for French, Flat Panels and Parisian pleated drapes. For Inverted and Cartridge pleated drapes, figure 28%.
This can be important if you are limited on wall space on the sides of your window or if you would like your drapes to completely “stack off the glass”. Meaning, that if you do not want to obstruct your view when your drapes are drawn open, you want the drapes to stack off the glass. This may also be important if your drapes are covering a door that you will need to open and close. You will want to make sure the drapes completely stack off the glass.
Stack Back will also help you determine how long your drapery rod should be. If you would like your drapes to stack off the glass, you will want to make sure that the drapery rod is long enough to accomodate the drape’s Stack Back. Stack Back can also give your windows the illusion that they are taller and wider than they really are, which makes your room look larger.
Remember to think about the whole design. And if you have questions, we’re here to help, just contact us and we would be happy to help you with your window treatment project.
This professional was rated at the highest level for client satisfaction by the Houzz community.
DrapeStyle is proud to announce that we have been awarded the Best of Houzz award for customer service for the sixth year in a row! We are so thankful for our customers like you that made this possible.
Houzz, Inc., the home renovation and design platform, recently announced its community’s picks for Best of Houzz 2019.
“Best of Houzz is a true badge of honor as it is awarded by our community of homeowners, those who are hiring design, remodeling and other home improvement professionals for their projects,” says Liza Hausman, vice president of industry marketing for Houzz. “We are excited to celebrate the 2019 winners chosen by our community as their favorites for home design and customer experience, and to highlight those winners on the Houzz website and app.”
The badge is awarded in three categories: design, customer service and photography. Design awards honor professionals whose work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users of Houzz.
Service awards are based on several factors, including a pro’s overall rating on Houzz and client reviews submitted in 2018. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the photography award.
The winners’ profiles will feature the 2019 badge to help homeowners identify top-rated professionals on Houzz.
For more information or to read our reviews please visit our Houzz page.
At DrapeStyle, we have been passionate about designing and manufacturing the highest quality custom draperies, curtains, pillows and Roman shades available anywhere since 2002. Value that comes from purchasing a premium product directly from the manufacturer. After all, DrapeStyle is where professional ASID designers in the US and Canada have been buying their drapery, valances and Roman shades for over a decade. Please join us in the DrapeStyle experience, you will be pleased.
One of the most common questions I am asked about custom made drapery is “What is the best fabric for my drapery?”. The simple answer is that it “depends”. Linen is becoming more and more popular for our customers in the US and Canada. It seems like we have been seeing linen drapery in more and more catalogs and large retail locations which may have added to its spike in popularity. Linen has been used for drapery for literally thousands of years. In fact, linen drapes have been found in the tombs of ancient Egyptian Pharaohs.
Linen is relatively inexpensive and widely available in a large variety of weights and weaves. Linen absorbs color dies very well which results in deep rich color. When it comes to drapery there are a few features of linen that are important to consider.
Linen can hold some pretty stubborn wrinkles. Over time, when used as drapery, the wrinkles will relax but you may want to use a steamer to expedite the process. DrapeStyle uses great care in folding, packing and shipping our drapery to minimize the wrinkles before our clients receive them.
Linen is a natural fabric and is prone to fading over time, especially when exposed to direct sunlight. Be sure to use a high-quality lining to protect your custom linen drapes from fading prematurely. It is for this reason that DrapeStyle’s linen drapes include Hanes high-quality white sateen lining at no extra cost.
Linen comes from the flax plant and because of this, it is sustainable. Every part of the flax plant is used, it is resilient, it can grow in poor soil conditions, and it needs less water than cotton to grow.
At DrapeStyle we offer a wide variety of linen drapery to choose from. If you are concerned about wrinkles you may want to consider our Manhattan Linen Collection which features a blend of linen and polyester fabric. The polyester component helps with the colorfastness, reduces fading and reduces wrinkles. Vern Yip’s Napa fabric is also an excellent choice for a linen blended fabric. Both blended linens are a great value.
The DrapeStyle way of making custom drapery takes a little more time, costs a little more money but we think it’s worth it. All of our drapes are made from the highest quality materials and handmade to your specifications. If you need any assistance in selecting the perfect custom linen drapery for your home, please contact us and we can walk you through all of the options available.
Charm and character. Achieving the farmhouse look is combining old and new. And everything shouldn’t match. Here are a few ideas on how to add a little Farmhouse Charm to your home.
There are probably many places near you that sell reclaimed wood. Even Home Depot sells it, it is now so popular. Reclaimed wood can be used to accent a wall, a ceiling, a backsplash, use them as shelving, or trim out something entirely. With its rustic look, reclaimed wood adds a rustic feel to modern homes. And because you’ve decreased the demand for newly sourced lumber, you’ll be helping with deforestation!
Wicker furniture is an indispensable part of rustic, cottage and farmhouse interiors, not only for outdoor spaces. Go for some cool pieces for your kitchen and dining area. These can be wicker stools for the breakfast space and comfy chairs for the dining space. You can paint the furniture with grey or creamy paint to fit a neutral interior, and even neutral wicker furniture will add a texture to the space. There’s much modern wicker furniture of eye-catchy shapes, for example, armchairs, side tables and benches, they will look cool and cozy yet very chic and modern.
Shutters can be used for various decor and functional DIYs in your home, they are great to add a vintage feel while keeping the interior farmhouse-like. Shutters can be attached to the wall and become cool farmhouse-inspired decorations or even a headboard for your bed – sand them a bit to give them a worn look. Shutters can be also turned into benches, chairs, shelving units, even a kitchen island. Paint them pastels or cream, add shelves or a countertop. This is a creative way to add a farmhouse feel to the space while making it eye-catchy and interesting.
There are many ways to decorate with shiplap. Whole rooms, accent walls, fireplaces, ceilings, cabinets and powder rooms (as an alternative to wainscoting or bead board), even kitchen backsplashes. You may choose to leave it in its natural warm tone or paint it. Either way it will add interest and character to any room.
White walls, countertops, dishes and more. White makes everything look fresh and it’s easy to add a little color as the seasons change.
Like jewelry to an outfit, draperies are to a room. The finishing touch for any room is adding decorative or function draperies. Choose a natural fabric such as linen, in a neutral color. Unstructured and relaxed, these drapes will finish off your charming farmhouse home. Visit DrapeStyle for more ideas on Farmhouse Charm. Linen and linen looking fabrics are available in a variety of colors.
If you are interested in adding a bit of Farmhouse Charm to your home, contact us. We can provide you with fabric samples for draperies that will finish of your room. Your first ten dollars in samples are free. View the samples here and pick your favorites.
What is a Width? This is how we measure the width of your draperies. Here’s more information on how to figure out what width you need.
You are online, ordering drapes and you hit a snag. What is a “width”? This is the question I am asked most often. A width refers to the width of the fabric used to make a drape or curtain. Usually, when you roll the fabric off a bolt, it is about 54″ wide. 1 width starts out at 54″ wide. The sewing begins by gathering and tacking the pleat. Then we create 1 1/2″ side hems with blind stitching. Then we sew 3 1/2″ overlaps-you want the drapes to overlap in the center, so light does not shine through.
DrapeStyle has this easy formula we use to determine width:
Length of drapery rod (in inches) + 16″ = X
X divided by the # of drapes = how many inches wide each drape should be.
Ask yourself how wide is your window? Or better yet, how wide is the drapery rod you are going to hang your drapes on? If your window is 48″ wide, you will probably want to extend the drapery rod at least 4″ on both sides of the window. So your finish width is 56″.
Take the finished width, 56″, and add 16″ to account for hems and overlaps. 56″ plus 16″ equals 72″.
Take this number, 72″, and divide it by the number of drapes you would like. Usually the number of drapes is 2. So 72″ divided by 2 equals 36″. You want each drape to be at least 36″ wide.
This will ensure that the drapes will have adequate coverage and it will be 2 times fullness. Fullness refers to the additional fabric needed to make the pleats full and rich looking. At DrapeStyle, we think that 2 times fullness looks great. You want your drapes to look, full, luxurious, and rich looking. Not wimpy, and you certainly want to be sure that the drapes are made wide enough to close. After all, you paid for the drapes to block out light and add a little privacy, right?
We are here to help you figure out all of the details so that we can create your dream drapes! Contact us and tell us your window measurements and we’ll do the rest. DrapeStyle has been awarded the Best of Houzz Customer Satisfaction award, three years in a row. We LOVE to help our customers create the perfect window treatments for their home. We want you to be completely satisfied with your purchase. DrapeStyle has been making custom drapes, roman shades and pillows for over a decade, by women with an average of 25 years experience. We think you’ll be pleased with the results.
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.
If you go online and search for hammocks or garden swings there are literally thousands to choose from. Don’t have a couple of trees to hang your hammock? Not a problem, stands are available for most of them. Every color, style, shape and material is available. What a great way to enjoy these warmer days!
Even the traditional porch swing has been updated. What a comfy way to enjoy a visit with friends, read a book or take a nap!
Claims that sleeping in a hammock can lead to faster, deeper sleep and there’s no pressure points. Sleeping outdoors can expose you to fresher air, it can reduce stress and with a reduction in blue lights or florescent lights, your melatonin levels may increase.
If you’re thinking of adding some fun to your outdoor space, consider DrapeStyle. We can make outdoor pillows and outdoor curtains to match your hammock or swing. We only use quality outdoor fabrics from Sunbrella and Schumacher. For more information about our custom outdoor items, please visit our website or contact us here. We have been making quality custom draperies, Roman shades and pillows for over 15 years. We would love to help you design your dream drapes!
It’s Spring! And here in Phoenix our temperatures have already reached the nineties! Which means most people have started using their ceiling fans (and probably air conditioners!). Here are a few tips and ideas for cooling your home with ceiling fans.
One way to maximize the energy-saving benefits of ceiling fans is to alternate the rotation direction of the fans during different times of the year. By alternating the rotation direction, you can maintain a comfortable temperature in your home and reduce your energy costs in the process.
The direction of your ceiling fan’s blade rotation will cause the air to either be forced downward toward the floor or upward toward the ceiling. Knowing this difference helps you determine which direction is best given the season.
The forward rotation direction where the blades move counterclockwise (where the leading blade is pointing upward), is used in the summertime. This setting cools the room via the wind-chill effect, as the air is forced down on you. With a ceiling fan running in this direction, the temperature will feel about eight degrees cooler than it actually is.
The reverse setting, where the blades move clockwise (and the leading blade is pointing downward), pulls cool air upward, forcing the warmer air near the ceiling downward to heat the room. The fan should be set at a low speed in this direction.
By manipulating the rotation direction you can affect the room temperature without having to adjust your thermostat. Not having to use your home heating and cooling systems as much will reduce your energy costs and help you to be more environmentally conservative.
An energy-efficient home will allow you to lower your home’s heating and cooling bills. One of the most effective ways to enhance your ceiling fans’ cooling and heating effects is to insulate your home through window coverings.
The harder your home’s heating and cooling systems have to work to maintain a comfortable temperature, the more expensive your heating and cooling costs will be. By taking steps to warm your home in the winter and cool it in the summer, especially through insulated draperies, you will reduce your home’s energy demands, resulting in lower bills.
If you need more information on insulated window treatments, contact us here at DrapeStyle. We have been making custom window treatments for over 15 years and we would be happy to help you find a solution to your heating and cooling costs. And with over 600 fabrics to choose from, your windows will be efficient and look great!