Nina Murden - The Lewes Seamstress

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Goblet Pleat Pelmet

Making a set of goblet pleat headed pelmets for gentleman’s country house bedroom. He chose Markham’s Warwick Delft, and I suggested that we add an Ian Mankin cotton stripe, the ‘Ticking o1 Sky’, this being a good contemporary contrast to the formality of the Markham fabric.  Here are some photos of the different processes  of me sewing the goblets and inserting the buckram that keeps their shape. This customer also had the same fabrics for his dressing room curtains.

Reverse side of pelmet

Reverse side of pelmet

Reverse side  IMG_20190607_080554 IMG_20190607_080617

Machine Sewing Pinch Pleat Curtain Tops – tutorial

Whole House Curtains for 1930’s Friston House

Won a contract to supply material and make curtains for a whole house project in Friston on the Sussex Coast. The house built in 1930 had quirky eyebrow windows and very wide but shallow drops upstairs; for these my client wanted the look and the softness of  curtains. These were lined, and were loosely gathered, with narrow tape to keep them in proportion to the window depths.  Downstairs the lounge had one wide patio door, and 3 sill length windows. Client wanted to keep the length to the floor for all 4 window/patio areas, giving a more uniform look across the L shaped area.  A double pinch pleat was decided upon being less fussy , more modern option than a tripe pleat.  Fabric used is a cotton chenille from Villa Nova. This was a good weight. No insulation was required in addition as all windows had been replaced with double glazed units.  The whole house curtain install took 5 hours, and involved steaming all curtains, and dressing the pinch pleated curtains to help train them into their correct folds. These curtains were all made by hand, with interlocking stitching to layers, hand sewn hems, and hand sewn and finished pinch pleats. These are the top of the range type of curtain to have in your house and will last many many years.P1010375 P1010372

Dining Area curtains

Dining Area curtains

 

The Swiss Job…

The Swiss Job has started…. an ongoing large project , making all the curtains, blinds and other window treatments for a client living in a house in Küsnacht. Beautiful materials chosen for the first of three part project, and I have taken delivery of a Villa Nova fabric, @ £1042. It’s of a Chalky colour – always a dangerous thing to work with, so NO cups of tea in the workshop, NO chocolate until tea time, and god forbid that I should prick my finger. Tense times. There are not many curtains and so curtain makers in Switzerland apparently, and so she has come to me.

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Roman Blinds for Edwardian Bay

Completed set of Roman Blinds for this Lewes Edwardian home. For a 11 year old’s bedroom, so blackout deemed necessary! Also because these houses can be pretty chilly and draughty in the winter, this blackout was combined with a combination blackout insulated lining. The finish is akin to a three layer insulated blind, but at less cost.  The fabric is from the Ian Mankin range, being Oxford Stripe Navy, something that looks smart and can appeal to the young as well as being appropriate for a teenagers bedroom, so a good option to last the distance of changing tastes as children grown up.   They were the hand sewn, stab stitched option, this super smart option means that there are no visible lines of stitching at all on the fronts of the blinds.  The blinds are not fully up in this picture, to show the fabric better. Customer chose brass pulls, cleats and cord connectors.

Ian Mankin's Oxford Stripe Navy for 3 roman blinds

Ian Mankin’s Oxford Stripe Navy for 3 roman blinds

Roman Blinds

Deep Pencil Pleat Heading for Wool Interlined Door Curtains

Lovely quality Tinsmiths herringbone wool in Moss, used for a door curtain project in a lovely brick paved but draughty old farmhouse hallway in Kingston.  This  type of heading works well as it controls the fullness really neatly Fullness for a door that has limited opening space for a curtain to pull back to, such as this had,  should be in the region of 2x fullness. It was hung from the fabulous solid brass poles from Charles Rowley – an old British firm still manufacturing in Birmingham.  The thing about using these poles is that you can get away with a 19mm pole with no bowing or bending, as they are of superb quality and not just the usual ‘antique brass’ finish that so many other poles sold as ‘brass’ are – they are actually  made of tubular steel. Insulated door curtains can really help to stop draughts, and provide a level of insulation for a cold hallway. They are really good for houses that have a door from the street that enters straight into the living room, but every older style house could benefit from these door curtains. Even internal doors can have them – in which case a portiere rod would be the pole of choice as it rises up and lifts up the leading edge of the curtain when the door is opened Ingenious. My grandmother had some grand velvet curtains hung from portiere rods on all her living room doors. Good sound insulation too.20170112_172922

Me and the Team – Pre Christmas

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Janet Reger nightdress, post repairs

Some of what we have done….. as well as the silk curtains and the velvet curtains that is.

Two friends who have been coming to sewing workshops with me have nearly finished their retro 1940’s dresses-  and yes it was a very difficult pattern which has been trying but we have almost got there girls.

And lovely Donna, another student. Well done, who has now completed her lined spot dress, and is maybe going to wear it on Christmas day!

Lots of the usual mending, and hemming and altering , so some Jeans’ hems , and the slimming of the legline of, for tall lady who has much trouble finding the right fit.

Taking in sides to stretch skirt, for my smartest most elegant retired customer; Anna you’re fab!

Further repairs to several pairs of much loved jeans, thanks Justin you are saving the planet single handed here. Medal on the way.

Repairs to some professional cycling gear (returning customer, Ross, thank you), from ‘Proper Cycling’, of Hassocks.

Hems to several pairs of lovely soft new cord trousers, for a beloved husband currently in a hospice.

Repairs and alterations to a lovely Janet Reger silk nightgown, what a beautiful gift to Sue, Michael.

Removal of hated epaulettes to a birthday gifted leather jacket.. and hoping the husband doesn’t notice they’re gone.

Hems to pyjamas for lady who is NOT 6ft 6”  tall – manufacturers what are you doing, who is that tall? Lizzie you did so well to remember where I am up here, walk all the way up here and get home again to your husband Alec.

Fixing up of a  young lad’s ‘find’… a faux suede 70’s coat, Mum paying for her son’s Christmas present. Good for you Rachel, and maybe he’s just fine with it, it’s trendy and no he won’t look like ‘car salesman from the 70’’s to anyone of his own age group, that’s just our association!

A new zip for a really well made wool jacket, for her husband, – why bother shopping for a new one which will probably be vastly inferior in quality anyway.

The curtains,  and dining room chair cover ups and piano stool cushion for Jan.

Curtains for Angela, glad you found the right fabric at at last – yes these things can take time – although a year and a half is quite a long time!

And lovely cushions for Lara.  Louise Body fabric left over from the blinds made a few years ago, just about squeezed in the three out of that.  Collecting tomorrow, just in time for Christmas.

And a now curtains for happy Bob, retired early from being a stressed out overworked Paramedic, who told me he was so overworked he couldn’t eat his lunch AND go to the toilet.  One day he thought ‘ I know , I’ll do both together, eat my sandwich and sit on the loo’, and then that was when he decided , enough’s enough, this is MAD. He retired and now is attending to curtains and being creative in his home. Lucky you Helen.

So to all my customers, thank you for your work, for your stories. Hope you have a good Christmas.

X Nina

 

 

SILK CURTAINS

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Curtain under construction, interlined, awaiting lining.

I have been making some 3m high beautiful silk interlined curtains for a Victorian house in Lewes.  Sumptuous and fab to work with if a little scary @ !!$$££ per metre fabric. (These– James Hare silks, can be bought via me and the sample books are to be found at Foam and Fabrics Seaford – I have a good deal with them so if you’re interested please contact me.

Silk curtains look particularly wonderful in a bedroom setting  There is nothing like silk, and all the synthetic copies in the world will not look like silk, feel like silk or behave like silk. AND are petroleum based so personally I am not in favour; if there is a choice to be made I would always choose a natural fabric.
These are quite theatrical in their look being salmon pink  and compliment the blue velvets of another guest bedroom for this client who works  in the music business.

The only downside to silk curtains is that they are really susceptible to ‘sun rot’ so it is essential to line and interline and to bring the lining as far over to cover as much as the silk as possible.  The windows for these curtains face north, north-east, so not too much of an issue, but in time though the leading edges -where the curtains meet in the middle and are exposed to the light- will rot and fray.  These can however be taken back to the undamaged silk relatively easily when the curtain is completely hand made like this one.

The header we used on these is one particularly suited to silk, a 1” cotton loose gathering tape, this gives a really casual but soft gather to the top of the curtain.

Brass poles and fittings from the long established Charles Rowley company complete the look, and are well made enough to the take the weight of these heavier curtains.

BOAT CUSHIONS

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Recovering of some long wide boat cushions. (Only one half in the pic) Fabric bought from new-ish cut price curtain fabric shop called ‘Expectations’, on A22 at Holmes hill. The man who runs it used to be with Crowson’s out at Buxted, which closed a couple of years ago. Bases were made using waterproof rubberised material.

Roman Blinds for Bay Window

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Roman blinds in an light aqua/duck egg coloured Italian linen fabric for this light and airy bedroom. These replaced some others that came with the house buy, but they were stained, the cords were broken and the cleats were incorrectly placed and interfered with the blinds pulling up.  My replacement blinds, were lined, but not blackout lined, so the natural daylight looked lovely coming through  into the room in the mornings.  This fabric is  a very reasonable buy  @ £18 per metre and comes in 36 shades.

 

 

 

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