Monday, March 7, 2011

“It’s Passementerie, My Dear Watson!”

Are you as amazed as I am by the fine details which seem to continually grace the pages of high-end home design magazines and decorating books?
For example, the piping or welting around the structure of a chair or cushion, the silk tassels which tie back the loop fringed window dressings or, my personal favorite, rope trim at the foot of a living room sofa. This type of ornamentation or embellishment is called passementerie. I call it “the icing on the cake.” It’s the art of layering.

Unless you attended school for design, one would normally turn to an interior decorator or designer to achieve this well-appointed look. However, if you have studied design books as closely as I have, you can eliminate the need for an interior decorator (especially helpful if you have a tight budget). You don’t have to purchase your fabrics and passementerie through a professional; it’s as easy as going to your local fabric store. Where there is fabric, there is passementerie! Take measurements and go shopping! If neither you nor friends or family members sew, you can always look in the phone book under “seamstress or upholstery."

Another trade secret is hot glue. Oh yes, I have made instant table linen hems and trimmed them for last minute parties using a hot glue gun. When I was a teenager, I had a business of hand sewn pillows made from my Grandmother’s old lace doilies and unsoiled lace and hand embroidered handkerchiefs. What I didn’t feel necessary to sew, I glued! The truth is the only one who will notice is you. If it’s for decorative purposes only I say, “Go for it!” but if it’s intended to be sat on or rested upon, don’t even consider it.

It just takes a little imagination. You don’t have to be wealthy to achieve a Park Avenue look. My mottos have always been, “where there’s a will, there’s a way” and “If you want something done, do it yourself.”

Whether I am tying tassels to the back of my kitchen chairs or adding red rope trim to a leopard sofa, “It’s Passementerie, My Dear Watson!”

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