|Mixed Toile cushions, all sold.|
|Dainty linen tea napkins made these £20 ea.|
Making cushions: Use curled duck feathers - chicken feathers have an unpleasant smell and soon go flat if much used. When you put them into the inner pad (it really is worth buying proper feather-proof cotton as feathers always work themselves through ordinary untreated cotton or linen) push a handful of feathers right into each corner, because they take a long time to find their way there. I like to have my cushion 'plump' but not rigid with stuffing. If you have family who are allergic to feathers, be sure to buy the best foam, otherwise it can look and feel quite lumpy with use.
If the top material is rather old, flimsy, or worn, back it with plain white cotton (old sheet material is fine). Tack the two materials together round the edges and use as one bit of cloth, when stitching and piping. If you can manage to put matching zips neatly under the piping, this will make cleaning or washing much easier
Remember that scatter cushions are not much use for supporting your back, and cushions in one suitable colour or pattern are far more effective than oddments, unless you are lucky to have good old tapestry or embroidered fronts which usually blend happily.
Curtains For most decorating experts, curtains must hang down to the carpet or floor, exactly! For cottages and small windows , of course, there is not much point in having long trailing curtains. But I would say there are exceptions, for instance, where you have a vinyl or lino floor in a kitchen or bathroom, that is mopped, the hem will soon become stained with the dirty water and I would cut them off a bit higher. The same could apply for flag-stoned rooms which are cleaned with water.. Some people like the effect of over-long curtains which 'puddle' in a train of extra material on the carpet, but I think this is mostly suitable for a rather grand room and can be a bit of a 'show off', though sometimes necessary in a very cold, draughty room or to hide uneven skirting boards.
There are plenty of books to tell you how to make curtains and they are really not very difficult as long as you have peace and quiet and double check all measurement before cutting. Allow generous hems, they will hang much better! Do not machine down the front and back hems, hand stitching is essential for the right look. You will need plenty of long sharp pins, a tape measure in inches and/or mm, sharp cutting out scissors, and a good big surface to lay the different layers, using bulldog clips to hold the layers together. A ping-pong table is perfect and some people use market stall tarpaulin clips which are very strong and heavy enough to keep the materials taut. You can do it on the floor but that is tiring on the back and can get in the way of passing family traffic! When you buy material for big curtains, make sure that you can join widths together, with pattern repeats exactly matching - this takes time and extra material, but 1/2 a bouquet of roses does not look very professional if the basket is 4 or 5 inches above or below! Also remember that the pattern runs one way and I remember seeing one curtain maker weep because her sewing lady had reversed one panel so that all the little birds in the bamboos were upside down and all the bamboo leaves were drooping in the wrong direction, and there was no more material to put it right! The client was not amused!