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Decorating Details

Decorating Details

My mother taught me how to sew when I was relatively young, and thus instilled in me an awe and appreciation for this craft that has stuck with me ever since. I practiced sewing straight lines on paper before moving on to real fabric. I still remember being so nervous when first using the machine, as it startled me whenever the needle grabbed my material. A justified fear as I did once stitch straight through my fingernail, but that's a story for another time... Later on, whenever we went clothes shopping, my mother would point out what to look for in a well-made garment: a high-quality lining, a hand-rolled seam, mother of pearl buttons, a collar reinforced with horsehair, a jacket edge weighted down with a chain in the lining so it would hang properly.... Some of these may sound old-fashioned, but - along with high-quality materials - they are what separates disposable fashion from well-constructed heirloom pieces that stand the test of time.

The very same thing can be said for upholstered pieces. When the French novelist Gustave Flaubert coined the phrase Le bon Dieu est dans le détail (the good God is in the detail) he hit the nail on the head. Though he may not have been talking about nailheads, it is interesting to note that the root of the word details is the old French verb détailler, meaning to cut into pieces by a tailor. It is indeed these couture decorating details that can elevate an upholstered item from ordinary to a truly personalized and perfectly finished piece, the epitome of timeless chic. Here are some examples and ideas:

A contrast welt is the perfect way to draw attention to the elegant lines of a piece. I especially love this technique when executed in masculine haberdashery fabrics such as herringbones, pinstripes, plaids or pied-de-poule.

When working with a small-scale pattern, the contrast welt can be executed in a different colorway of that same pattern.

Decorative pillows are prime candidates for couture detailing with welting, flat welting (shown), the addition of trims and tassels, mitering of fabrics etcetera.

Next-level decorating combines assorted fabrics, cording and fringe into perfectly detailed pieces with tufting, welting, tailored skirts, and a skillful application of trim. If this seems daunting, talk through options and choices with your Calico design consultant, in store or in the comfort of your own home.

I consider trim to be the jewelry of your home décor: it will give you that finishing touch, that crucial detail of color, texture and sparkle that will make all the difference.

Nailheads are another type of home jewelry. They can be used to outline the perimeter of a piece, camouflage/reinforce the fabric's edge, or create a purely decorative pattern that complements the style of your interior. Available in a variety of sizes, colors, finishes and styles, nailheads are having quite a moment right now. Pyramid nailheads are the newest kid on the block.

And here's what a custom piece can look like when it's put together perfectly: a bold fabric combo with perfectly straight contrast-color welting for a bespoke piece that is truly one-of-a-kind (extra points for the monogrammed bedding). Bravo!

Out of Africa

Out of Africa

Flower Power

Flower Power