Question - How many of us does it take to make a roman blind?

Answer: as many of us as it takes to get it as near to perfection as we can.  


The above picture shows one of two bespoke roman blinds under construction this morning, with a bottom edge feather border caught in a secret hem.  We had a rather enjoyable brainstorming session working out the best way to tackle this - I could think of far worse scenarios for such a session - but we are blessed to live in a world of pattern, colour and fabric - Heavenly!    

Try as I might with these unusual designs our amazing team of makers are never thwarted!!

It's not finished yet, but it is well on the way!  Destined for a panelled study in a country manor house on the fringes of Dartmoor - can't wait to see this one up.  

If you have something you would like us to make, curtains, roman blinds, swags and tails, no matter how simple or ornate we are here to create it for you.

5 Smart ways to use designer fabric without busting your budget

Day 4, Take 4 - Costume drama

Imperial Garden by Thibaut

Imperial Garden by Thibaut

With just a few metres of a great fabric you can transform a tired uninspiring bed into something sensational by adding a stunning headboard like this one, which is upholstered in Thibaut's Imperial Garden design.   Large bold designs such as this are particularly effective as the flatness allows you to see a dramatic design in more detail.  Be bold don't be boring with your shape and have fun choosing the fabric,  pick something that works with the design, this one is really quite theatrical and takes on a 'costume-esque' look.

Thibaut have some phenomenal fabrics which would be perfect for a snazzy headboard, you will be spoilt for choice.  Add in some well chosen cushions for the bed and take a 'less is more' approach with your window treatments so they don't compete for attention with the headboard.  

You will need a great upholsterer to turn it into something this special - guess what? - we have an amazing fella -who can do just that!

5 Smart ways to use designer fabric without busting your budget

Day 3, Take 3 - Lights, camera, action

Harlequin Callista Collection by Clarissa Hulse

A playful twist and a super economic way to use a small amount of your designer fabric with maximum Wow, is the simple lampshade - undergoing another Renaissance sparked by so many amazing fabrics this season.  

Gone are the days when lampshades, were made in some ghastly paper backed sludge brown hessian, with the sole purpose of shielding the glare of your light bulb. They have leapt into the limelight shaking up interiors adding a clever twist and packing a powerful decorative punch.

A well-chosen fabric lampshade looks stunning slung low over a dining table - unashamedly stealing the show - positioning them low means they spill a glorious pool of light on any surface beneath them,  more importantly, their glory is perfectly positioned within your site line for maximum impact.  As dining tables generally are found in the centre of a room - your heavenly fabric shade is slap bang where it rightly should be.  Win, Win Win!

Create an edgy unconventional look by hanging sensational shades low over your bedside tables - position the bottom of the shades at around shoulder height when sat in bed.  Choose the size to work with your fabric, don't be afraid to go larger if your fabric demands it.  Team it with an equally amazing coloured cable Urban Cottage Industries do an amazing range you would be sure to find a funky companion to your shade.

Sharpen up the acts of your existing table and floor lamps with an amazing new snazzy fabric.   Ooow!  I have got goosebumps just thinking about the possibilities!! 

Harlequin, Callista collection.

Harlequin, Callista collection.

A stunning lampshade is an exciting way to put energy back into your interior without costing the earth, giving you that joyous 'Pinch Me' moment every time you see it.  

At Merchants and Makers we have 1000s of fabrics that would light up and put the drama into your interior and if making a lampshade is a bit out of your comfort zone we can sort that for you too!!

The Lampshade is a hard act to follow - but try we will!!

5 Smart ways to use designer fabric without busting your budget

Day 2, Take 2 - 'The Leading Lady'

Our client fell in love with this stunning fabric from Harlequin, perfect for the curtains in her new home - nothing else came close.   A pair of floor length curtains meant that a fair few metres of fabric would be needed - her face grew pale!!  

'Don't worry' we said we have a solution - 'leave it with us'.............................................................................

Heirloom from Harlequins Artisan Embroidery collection

Heirloom from Harlequins Artisan Embroidery collection

We matched up a divine Jade coloured fabric, from the Scion Plains 5, wide width collection - it packed a dramatic punch, without eclipsing the main fabric.  A fraction of the price and wide width, meant a seamless curtain with a single join!   Oh Happy Days! - these tiny details rock our world.  

Our nifty fingered curtain maker set to work creating this stunning pair of Eyelet Curtains, seen here on a Satin Nickel Lunar Pole with matching Eyelets. 

Leading edge in  Harlequin Heirloom Embroidery ,  Scion  plain, eyelet heading on a Lunar curtain pole.

Leading edge in Harlequin Heirloom Embroidery, Scion plain, eyelet heading on a Lunar curtain pole.

If this were a Broadway Musical production - the Heirloom would be the Leading Lady - a bit of a Diva to be honest and the plain fabric the humble hard-working Chorus Line - together they work in harmony to create a stunning performance with a very happy ending as the curtains close!

5 smart ways to use designer fabrics without busting your budget

Have you ever fallen in love with some glorious fabric that quickens your heart rate as you realise - 'that's it, that's the one'.  Excited, you ask the price, whilst resolutely saying to yourself 'this time I don't care - whatever it costs, I am having it - it's perfect - how can I possibly resist'!! 

You get the price - your heart pounds and you begin to sweat, as it dawns on you that it is WAY WAY outside the budget you have set yourself for your curtains,  it has torpedoed it right out of the ocean, where it had been happily bobbing about in the sea breeze without a care in the world. 

Take heart we have a cunning plan or two - we have ways of working in;  your Lust-Have Linwood, Heavenly Harlequin, Snazzy Scion,  or Ravishing Romo.

Over 5 days and 5 posts we show you different takes on making a statement in your home without breaking the bank but still stealing the show all the same.

Day 1, Take 1 - 'The supporting role'

Scion's Levande Collection

Scion's Levande Collection

The Humble Cushion - Scion Levande collection

A simple well made cushion in your favourite fabric can transform a bland spot into a great focal point.  Take the chair above, as lovely as it is, it's undeniably the cushion that is the centre of attention, remove it and it's all a tad wishy washy and bland.  

Cushions are much undervalued when it comes to home decor, often an after thought in an uninspiring fabric, but we dare you to be bold with your bolsters.

It takes just 1 metre of fabric to make 2 cushions in your favourite fabric, 'more bang for your buck'.  The trick is to select the size carefully, place the fabric for maximum drama and don't skimp on your stuffing!!  A skinny cushion is an unhappy cushion.  Oh and of course cherish them they are a worthy accessory!

We have a showroom packed with thousands of fabrics all desperate to leap into the limelight and if sewing is not your thing - don't despair we have a cushion creator extraordinaire - who makes the best cushions ever.

If the cushion just doesn't pass muster and heaven knows why it wouldn't, but, if it definitely doesn't, then our next post maybe the solution for you!  Intrigued?  Stay tuned.



The Light Fab'tastic


Fabrics come alive with great lighting, transforming reactions from 'Oh that's nice' to  'Wow - that looks jaw-droppingly gorgeous'!  Why? because we need light to see colour, texture and relief - fabric has all of these characteristics and some.

It's about giving fabric the attention it deserves, after all, it is a 3 dimensional beast, created by weaving thousands of yarns together, in various patterns, colours and textures.  In this digital print age we have the most amazing colourful fabrics that look like works of art.    When you think of it like that, it is without a shadow of a doubt (excuse the pun), absolute no brainer to neglect light.

We recently created some silk and velvet curtains edged with Swarovski crystals, our canny client had down lighters positioned to light the fabrics and mirrors to reflect the effect.  The result was stunning the fabrics danced in the light.

There is a great company in Exeter who would be only too happy to illuminate your fabrics with cool lighting - they are Amos Lighting who have just opened a new showroom in Topsham (opposite Darts Farm Village) full of the most stunning lighting.  If you are after some help and advice on lights and lighting design then these are definitely the people to see, creative and lovely, they would be able to steer you in the right direction to overcome this terrible travesty of neglecting your fabrics and they are pretty dam good at lighting other areas of your home too!

Enough said - I am off to relocate my Anglepoise in front of my beloved Harlequin curtains.

Photograph courtesy of Harlequin Fabrics - Callista range of fabrics and wallpapers

Photograph courtesy of Harlequin Fabrics - Callista range of fabrics and wallpapers