I’ve had the pleasure of working with many different fabrics so far this year including a very glamorous Designers Guild Dupion. It’s incredible to believe that the source of this stunning natural silk thread was kept a secret for over a thousand years.  For soft furnishers Dupion silk is one of the most popular silk materials as its great to sew & drapes beautifully.  Its thread is stronger than cotton & rougher than other silk with lots of slubs as part of its texture & unique charm.

These lustrous curtains with pelmets were made for a bedroom, in a stunning historic home, which had been designed around a vibrant rug in warm shades of orange from North Africa.

I used an interlining recommended especially for use with silk & a thermal lining with good drape qualities.  The pelmets have a small piped edge for definition.  The silk changes shade depending on the light due to the structure of the silk fibres which makes it difficult to capture & do justice to it’s beautiful ‘Ginger’ colour in photos.

I’m looking forward to working with more silk fabrics especially as I can offer such a gorgeous array of colours, textures & patterns…

jh silk portfolio

Just ask me for more details or to see more gorgeous silks ‘in the flesh’…..

e:    t: 01371 872697



Case study; curtains & blinds for an orangery


PicMonkey MP fallonI recently had the pleasure of making a large number of blinds & a pair of eyelet curtains for a beautiful orangery style dining room/family room which had been expertly built by its owner as an extension to a stunning kitchen. The room, which has lovely countryside views is fully glazed on two sides & also has a huge lantern roof.

My client loves colour but after some consideration chose a neutral but nevertheless stunning fabric which doesn’t detract from the views.

The fabric chosen was from the Voyage natural living collection; Fallon in Birch colourway. A stylish curtain pole, Shepherd’s crook finials with matching window & door hardware in a pewter finish were supplied by ‘From the Anvil’.  To complement the pewter hardware & silver tree branch pattern in the fabric we supplied ‘Antique Silver’ roman blind chains which are of course fully compliant with child safety regulations.





Rest your weary feet

PicMonkey velvet footstoolMy DH has taught me how to make an upholstered footstool…somewhere to rest my weary feet…I wanted one that would be large enough to share, just the right height & which could also be used as a tea tray table.  I chose a soft antique gold jacquard fabric which picks up beautifully on the shading in the fireplace & is super soft under foot. This fabric has an almost crushed velvet appearance & changes shade depending on the lighting in the room.  I used modern upholstery techniques & for definition a contemporary ‘Jazz’ flanged cord in brown/linen tones which compliments the fabric perfectly.  I’m off to put my feet up now…

How to clean your lampshades

How to clean your lampshades
Pic mrs steed lampshades

Fabric lampshades can pose cleaning challenges depending on their shape & construction but there are tried & tested ways to clean most…

Drum shades can be cleaned using a lint roller or a microfiber cloth.  The lining can be easily vacuumed & wiped with a cloth if necessary.

Fabric lampshades can be carefully vacuumed using the upholstery brush attachment or by covering the crevice tool with tights (to prevent threads being pulled loose).   Alternatively a hairdryer on cool setting can be used.   For fragile lampshades an artists brush can be used; starting at the top, working your way down the shade in long sweeping motions to remove any dust.

For silk shades a ‘Dry magic’ lampshade cleaning sponge can be used. These are reusable & easily found on-line.

Extraordinary candlelit visit

PicMonkey Dennis Severs house

This time last year we had an extraordinary candlelit treat; a visit to a ‘hidden London’ location…18 Folgate Street in Spitalfields, also known as Dennis Severs House.

This extraordinary house which dates back to 1724 has been transformed into a living museum of 18th century life as experienced by a family of Huguenot silk weavers. It amazes me that Dennis Severs lived here for twenty years just as his imaginary family of French silk weavers would have with absolutely no modern conveniences. As a visitor you experience ‘a still-life’ drama lovingly recreated, complete with sounds, smells & the atmosphere of a perfectly restored Georgian house. From the moment you arrive & are greeted on the doorstep you sense something unusual is about to unfold.  A visit in silence is essential if you are to experience this historic gem as the creator intended; in silence & with an open mind. The motto of the house is Aut visum aut non!  You either see it or you don’t!   This is all too true but I was completely entranced by the sights & atmosphere & the sensation that I had just missed the occupants who may be in another room & that if you’re quick enough you may catch a glimpse of them…it really does feel as though you are having a snoop around the house while the family are there!

Of course being a soft furnisher I had to know more about the lavish period curtains & blinds!  I also knew that the house had been in a very run down state when the eccentric artist,Dennis Severs, bought it & I was intrigued so after our visit I contacted the curator to find out more…he very kindly sent me this reply:

“Thank you for your kind words, im so pleased you enjoyed your visit and journey into the past. I shall do my very best to answer your questions regarding the textiles. The Red silk damask in the dining chamber is late 17th century, I think they were once part of a bed and its curtains, the bed being the most expensive item in the house due to the quantity of silk needed. I purchased these some years ago to replace the  rotting  cut silk velvet that now lives in the dickens room along with its bed curtains which are all 19th century silk velvet. The curtains at the landing window, are most likely 19th century damask, they were originally placed there by Dennis, hung in place with nails a static display. Over the years ive re hung virtually all the curtain dressings around the windows so they can be removed for cleaning etc thus prolonging their life.The raw silk on the drawing room is about 30 years old now and its an ongoing project of mine to slowly re hang them as they are but with hooks and not nailed and pinned as they mostly still are. Dennis bedchamber, again his creation but one that ive repaired, sewing the curtain hems and braids by hand and placing the curtains on runners so we can create drama within the chamber by closing and opening the bed curtains. The window blinds are very good, professionally made, the window dressing is 19th century silk Damask. Bought many years ago when fabrics of this nature were still easily found”.

The history & ideas behind the restoration of this unique house are truly remarkable. We visited during a ‘Silent Night’ tour but I’d love to go back during daylight hours for a different experience.


Dennis Sever’s House,18 Folgate StreetSpitalfields, London E1










Unique & Personalised Gifts

Ribbon notice boards have been popular gifts with my customers this year.  Customers who have ordered bespoke or customised ribbon notice boards as gifts always get back in touch with happy stories of how much their gift was appreciated. Not many people can guess what is in the wrapping and they are doubly delighted to discover the consideration that went into choosing the perfect fabric, colours and, sometimes, personalisation.

I make these ribbon notice boards out of any gorgeous fabric of your choice or plain fabric with an embroidered initial or monogram & coordinating ribbon so that they are suitable for bedrooms or boardrooms, period or contemporary settings!

If you love the idea of giving an unusual gift to a creative person, why not book a 3-hour craft course? Or, if it’s logistically easier for you, send a voucher for a lampshade making session or towards the cost of a ribbon notice board so that they can choose their own fabrics from the beautiful selection that I have in my fabric library.

These ribbon notice boards are suitable for map pins or simply secure your invitations, notes, mementos or photos by tucking them under the ribbon.  The photographs show the range of unusual fabrics used for my clients, from dogs, horses, game birds to maps, scooters, traditional linen prints & plain fabrics with embroidered personalisation.  I have a gorgeous selection of embroidery thread shades & ribbons, you can even chose the upholstery pins to be used.

Your ribbon board will be smartly wrapped in cello & I can even provide gift wrapping with tissue paper & ribbon if required for a modest additional cost.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch by email or phone.  Postage or delivery can be arranged. If you need your gift in the next 2-3 weeks, contact me NOW!

PicMonkey Ribbon board

Through the window

IMG_6733IMG_6737I have to say Lloydwaters have an exceptionally nice window display at the moment! Lloydwaters is the jewel in Great Dunmow’s crown; a unique & stylish department store which they rightly claim is packed full of “things they love & things you will need”…& currently sporting a gorgeous petrol blue Cademuir roman blind.

This is one of a pair of roman blinds made for the shop display, the reverse colourway will also feature in the  window.


If you’d like your own beautiful Cademuir roman blind or curtains do give me a call;
T: 01371 872697

Square bay window

Mrs Steed

Square bay windows always pose a challenge & this lovely window was no exception.  Our busy client had disliked this room since moving in & was more than ready to make changes. The brief was to replace the old curtains & valance with a smarter upholstered box pelmet & 216 cm sill length curtains. We also needed improve the thermal efficiency & provide some privacy.  There was little space to fit the pelmet & track between the window architrave & ornate coving which meant that the track had to be mounted under the pelmet.  We selected a Silent Gliss double corded track & had it bent to a tighter angle than usual to allow the curtains to sit on the window sill. The curtains were interlined & thermal lining was also used. A neat single pleat heading was suggested to allow the curtains to stack back well at the side…

View original post 138 more words

Case study: Bi-fold doors

Mrs Steed

Bi-fold doors are everywhere at the moment & understandably desirable as they have a lot to offer…but how to dress them?  Even with the most up to date triple glazed units, glass is cold & in winter most of us crave cosiness.   In this instance my clients had installed bi-fold doors accross the back of their extension to give them a wonderful view of the fields beyond their property with the added benefit of being able to open them up completely to the garden deck in summer.  Having lived with their revamped home for a while they realised that they would like their lovely new room to be cosy in winter & chose curtains to achieve this.

The brief was to create a contemporary curtain treatment which could be swept to one side when the bi-fold doors are open.  My client liked the minimal look of eyelet curtains on…

View original post 174 more words

Roman blind safety

I am delighted to be able to continue to offer roman blinds on a traditional wooden batten.  All our blinds are fully compliant with the new child safety regulations (BSEN16434:2014).  Blinds on tradtitional fabric covered wooden battens are perfect for heritage homes or for where a slimmer profile batten is required.   I aim to give as much choice as possible & continue to offer blinds on metal headrails with chain mechanism also made using products which comply fully with the standard.

Depending on your preference your roman blinds can be made up using traditional brass or clear rings on the back. Brass or clear cord safety cleats will be fitted & regardless of your choice of wooden fabric covered batten or metal headrail your blind will of course continue to be made using traditional handsewing techniques with no unsightly machine stitching on the front.