Monday, March 26, 2012

How to figure fabric repeat for the mathematically challenged!

Gate in charcoal from Dwell Studio Robert Allen

Math was never my strongest subject (not even close) so this is for any of my mathematically challenged designer and decorator friends and any home owner that is planning a drapery or curtain project to do themselves.

You've found the perfect fabric for your drapery panels but now you need to know how much to order. Use these handy instructions for figuring fabric that has a repeated pattern (don't worry if using stripes or plain fabric, that'll be the next blog post)

I keep these instructions handy, you never know when you might need to figure this stuff out! :)

1. Determine your cut length. (this is the finished length you want the drapery panel plus at least 12" for hemming top and bottom)
Cut length ______ divided by the repeat (take the vertical repeat that the fabric has) ______ = ______
2. Take the amount from Step 1 and round up the # of repeats. This is the number of repeats that will be in each cut ______
3. Multiply your new number ______ by the amount of the repeat ______ = ______ new cut length.
4. New cut length ______ x number of panels needed ______ = ______ total fabric in inches.
5. Add one additional repeat to the total fabric in inches. (this is needed because part of the first repeat will be wasted depending on where the pattern starts)
Total fabric in inches (from above) ______ + ______ one repeat = ______ your total fabric in inches.
6. Divide this number ______ by 36 = ______ the total number of yards.

Here's an example so you can see actual numbers and follow along with yours.

Example: Your finished length is 102" and you'll add 12" for hemming top and bottom (16" if you wish) The pattern repeat is 4.5" vertically and you want 1 width of fabric for each side of your window, so 2 panels in total.

Step 1: Your cut length is 114" divided by 4.5 = 25.33.... so round this up (step 2) to 26. You will need 26 repeats in your cut length. Take 26 and (step 3) multiply by 4.5 = 117" This is your new cut length. (step 4) 117" x 2 panels = 234" add 4.5" (step 5) = 238.5" divided by 36 (step 6) = 6.625 yards.... you can round this up to 6 3/4 or 7 yards.

Remember if you want 1 and 1/2 widths of fabric on each side of the window, this means 3 widths in total and you'll want to multiply (step 4) by 3 instead of 2.

I found the above information from Lydiablogg an eHow member on but can no longer locate the original source, the above is my version.

You could also use this handy calculator I found at Wesco Fabrics but sometimes you like to do your own calculations. My math teachers would be so proud I'm sure!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring cleaning....what to do with your gently used items!

Most of us in Ottawa have thought about what to do with our homes since having a few nice weather days. Finishing the basement, renovating the kitchen, updating the living room all require a bit of planning and clean up. What are you doing with your perfectly good furniture and household items that don't match your new decor? Looking for a good home for your stuff?

Think about HWF! That's Helping With Furniture, a volunteer-run charitable group that provides gently used furniture and household goods to refugee claimant families struggling to start a new life in the Ottawa area.

I recently spoke with Natalie Maione, one of the co-founders of this incredibly generous and necessary charity. She gave me some great information about what's needed and how people can get involved.

What can you do for Helping with Furniture?

Give gently used household items: Currently the biggest needs are lamps, blankets, sheets, kitchen items, small appliances and window coverings. If you have furniture that's in sets or matching, this is great, as it allows Helping With Furniture to give a family items that work well together in a room. The volunteers are concerned with helping new Canadians feel at home and inspired.

I was surprised to learn that lamps and window coverings are desperately in need and go a long way in providing a safe and secure feeling for these refugees. Many of the people come from unsafe surroundings and feel vulnerable in a new country. If they're able to turn a light on at night or close their blinds, this makes for a peaceful feeling at home. 

According to Helping With Furniture, the people that are helped have often fled from conflict and life-threatening situations and arrive in Canada with little more than hope to sustain them. Those who can find housing often spend months with little or no furniture.

Give monetary donations: There is no paid staff at Helping With Furniture. To transport, store, deliver and insure the furniture, costs money. Occasionally they buy items that they're short on. There is a cost to this and any donation you make can go a long way.

Attend the annual gala: April 20, 2012 is the 6th annual Helping with Furniture Gala. This is their yearly fund raiser, silent auction.  

What will Helping with Furniture do for you?

Pick up: If you live within these Ottawa boundaries, Helping With Furniture will arrange to pick up your items. Check here to see if you live with in the mapped area. If you don't, they do have a drop off facility also.

Recycle: No one likes to see household items and furniture that are in perfectly good shape go to a land fill site. By sending your gently used items to Helping With Furniture you are contributing to the greening of Ottawa. That's for all my friends who don't see themselves as being green! You can be!

Provide Volunteer Opportunities: If you've been saying to yourself, you'd like to get involved in the Ottawa community, now is a great time. Helping With Furniture is in need of movers, volunteer-coordinating team members, drivers, drop-off volunteers, fund-raisers, data bank organizers and donor contacts.

Students looking to do their volunteer hours may also be able to do so through Helping With Furniture.

On top of these great benefits, you'll know that the simple act of giving something you have little use for now, will have great value for someone else.

We were recently able to help a refugee family ourselves, in a small way. They weren't looking for hand outs, they appreciated everything and are actively looking to better themselves and their kids here in Canada. 

When you're cleaning out your closest.... think about HWF!

Visit Helping With Furniture, their Facebook page and follow them on twitter @HWF2005