Sue’s KLC School of Design talks by Laura Campbell
For over 15 years Sue has been giving talks about professional curtain-making and soft furnishings to interior design students at KLC School of Design, based in Chelsea Harbour. As blinds, curtains and cushions are key, if not crucial, elements to creating a comfortable and appealing interior, this has become a popular part of the KLC design curriculum.
During her informal 21/2 hour lecture, Sue covers every aspect concerning curtain-making. Having run her own business for over 25 years, she knows exactly what is involved in the process – the perks and the pitfalls. You could be forgiven for thinking that choosing curtains or blinds is a straightforward decision however there are many details which the client or buyer might overlook or not take into account without an insider’s advice.
KLC students learn about the different lining and interlining and how this can affect the weight, drape and overall impact of the finished look. Understandably, Sue can “spot lined and interlined curtains a mile away.” Choosing the fabric is also a priority as this not only has to work with the general colour scheme of a room but it will change the way the curtains hang or how much light seeps through or warmth is kept in. Linen, for example, will crease or stretch when steamed unless it’s mixed with a synthetic fabric.
There is a whole section on pelmets and pleats. Samples are passed round the students so they can identify the difference between an eyelet, goblet, cartridge, pencil, gathered, euro or inverted pleat. All these decisions affect the overall cost and look of the finished curtain.
Other important factors are poles, tracks and also blinds – whether blackout, decorative or simply to provide privacy. Sue explains how the window frame itself will inform what style of blind will work – roller or Roman. Wardrobes close by, awkward window styles (ie bow or apex) and openings, skirting boards, AC floor ducts, radiators, recesses, uneven walls and ceilings are all factors that need to be taken into consideration when measuring and fitting a blind or curtains.
Sue highlights exactly what needs to be carefully planned so there are no expensive mistakes – even pointing out how it’s worth noting if the track, poles or a headboard will be easy to get upstairs to reach its destination in a building. Access needs to be kept in mind for smooth installation.
A self-confessed “trim fanatic,” Sue discusses braids, fire retardant fabrics, ties and holdbacks, swags and tails and even altering and cleaning curtains. To a newcomer, it could be a potential minefield but no stone is left unturned and students come away with a great deal more knowledge under their belts and because of Sue’s easy manner, this clearly enhances the course.