28 May 2007

"Ralph Lauren" Panels

I am remodeling my den and want to get started on the painting. But, I wanted to finish the panels so that I can choose the right paint colour.

Why are they called "Ralph Lauren" panels? Well, don't ask Ralph. He may be a bit perturbed at the fact that I am using his name to describe the style of my panels. It's all outta love, Ralph...all outta love... When I thought of the idea to make the panels, I knew I wanted them to be two-toned. I wanted a chocolate brown on top and a cream on the bottom. To jazz it up a bit, I thought I would topstitch some ribbon to cover the seam joining the two colours. So, I went to Michaels and raided their dollar ribbon bin. In it, I found two spools of ribbon: one solid and one printed. When I held the solid ribbon up to the panel fabrics, the name Raph Lauren popped into my mind. To me, the solid ribbon accompanying the other fabrics suggested calm, relaxed sophistication. When I held the printed ribbon up to the panel fabrics, I immediately thought of Donna Karan and the words urban, hip chic. I mulled over the choices for a long time and settled with the RL look. I will probably use the other ribbon to accent pillows (or something) for the room.

The plan:

Four panels for windows approximately 32" wide with each panel having a finished size of about 25 x 90" (including tabs).

Material used: 5 yards of 54" chocolate-brown drapery fabric, 1 yard of 54" beige drapery fabric, 4 yards of rust/copper satin ribbon, 5 yards of lining fabric.

Construction:

I divided 2 yards of the 54" drapery fabric in half so that each panel measures 27 x 72". I did the same with the beige fabric with each piece measuring 27 x 18". I also cut four lining pieces measuring the finished size of a panel (~25 x 85"). All seam allowances are 1/2".

I then seamed the brown and beige together (beige at bottom) and covered the seam with a an eyeballed 26" strip of ribbon. To finish the raw edges, I folded and pressed the sides under 1/2" two times. Before completing the side edges, I inserted the lining piece by sandwiching it between the first and second fold of the edge of the fabric.

For the tabs, I cut strips of brown fabric measing 6 x 6". This way, I will have a finished size of 3" x 2.5." I started out with much longer tabs, but it was too dramatic for my taste. In fact, the first finished panel has the much longer tabs. To rectify this, I will just use some hem tape to shorten them. It is going to take muuuuch more effort to undo the sewing, shorten the tabs, and put them back. Besides, who's going to know except me and well whoever reads this. =)

Attaching the tabs took a bit of thought. I made panels before for my living room.
For those, I just topstithced the tabs to the top band For the RL panels, I did not want the bottom of the tabs to be seen on the outside. So, I lopped off 3 or 3.5" (I can't remember) from the top of the panel. Then, I sandwiched the finished tabs evenly across the top of the panel and serged all of the pieces together - including the newly cut strip. Afterwards, I pressed the seam down so that I could fold the strip to the back of the panel and topstitched it in place.




To finish the hem, I employed the same techniques used in finishing the side edges. I folded and pressed under 1" two times. I did not want a large hem because the bottom edge will be on the floor and no one will really notice it anyway.


The completed panels:
The paint job is 90% done (lower wood trim left to be painted). I still have to assemble and organize the furniture.

Updates:

The paint job is complete! One piece of furniture (TV stand) is almost assembled. I have to take the doors to the stand back to Ikea because the hardware doesn't quite fit as it should. Once I do that, all I have left to do is assemble the bookshelves, hang some artwork, and tidy the futon.

Some background history:

The room and colour that started it all: my kitchen. I wanted a bold colour for the kitchen so I chose a dark red/rust. It is this colour that I am picking up as accents in every other room. The accents in the kitchen are comprised of woods and colours from other rooms in the house.

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