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Photo by Tony Palmieri of Avon Lake Photography

About Ann K. Johnson

  Drapery & Soft Goods Workroom Owner  
     
  Speaker  
     
  Author & Inventor  
     
  Instructor  
     
  Testimonials  

 

 

 

 

 

I am the owner of Sew Easy Windows, a decorative soft goods workroom established in1992. We are well-known for the quality, consistency and accuracy of our work. We specialize in difficult and challenging treatments, yet no job is too small. We draft all of our own patterns and can sew swags, cascades, cornices (soft and hard), panels and draperies, valances (box pleat, arched, gathered, etc), kingstons, empires, bedding (shams, duvets, coverlets, comforters, dust skirts, etc), cushions and pillows, tablecloths and napkins, etc.

Feel free to peruse our extensive portfolio of work. Contact us any time for a quote. We have also shipped to areas of the continental U.S.

I am also an industry speaker, instructor and author. I love to work with other workrooms to increase their knowledge, skills and profitability in the industry.

At the time I opened my workroom in 1992, the internet was not available. There were very limited resources for professional patterns. I had to learn early to draft patterns on my own.

From 2006-2007, I was the manager of a larger custom workroom.  During that time, I did all the cutting for seven full-time sewers.  I developed efficient cutting techniques, managed projects for multiple employees, developed written standards and cutting and fabrication instructions and built a reference library of pictures of work done in the workroom.  It was a dynamic job and I learned to approach the workroom business from a larger point of view.  

Over the years, I have made enough mistakes to qualify me to teach you how to draw patterns and fabricate efficiently. I also want to help you understand that, no matter how small your business is, you can achieve new levels of efficiency and quality by approaching it as a business. It is my wish to save you the time I lost making mistakes and encourage you to approach your business with a professional mindset.

I am the author of The Professional Workroom Handbook of Swags, Volume 1 and Volume II.   I am also the publisher of Kitty Stein's Price Your Work With Confidence! Fearless Pricing Made Easy. I have taught classes on fabrication and business practices at the Custom Home Furnishings Industry Educational Conference and for trade show conferences for several years.

Keep an eye on my website. I hope to develop a full Professional Workroom Handbook series of books.

If you have suggestions for articles or books, please feel free to contact me. I love to hear from you.

 

Speaker:

 

Topics include:

  • New topics for 2012:
    • The 'Simple' Valance
    • Secrets of Cording and Banding
    • The No-Surpise Workorder
    • Working with Difficult Fabrics
  • Ripplefold panels (1.5 hour seminar)
  • Swags: Standard swags, cutout swags and Point to Point (drapery) swags. Pattern drafting, fabrication & troubleshooting (3 hr. seminar)
  • Advanced swags. Austrian, boxed and asymmetrical swags. Pattern drafting, fabrication & troubleshooting (3 hr. seminar)
  • Arched swags. Pattern drafting, fabrication and troubleshooting (3 hr seminar)
  • Kingston valances: Pattern drafting, fabrication and troubleshooting. (3 hr seminar)
  • Old World Pattern Drafting Techniques (3 hr seminar)
  • Workroom and Office tips and techniques for efficiency and quality (1.5 or 3 hr seminars)
  • Arched panels and valances. Pattern drafting and fabrication of different arched styles. (3 hr seminar)
  • Plan and manage your custom workroom with growth in mind (1.5 or 3 hr seminars)
  • Enhancing your business with design software - the dreamDraper advantage. (2 hr seminar

 

For more information on topics and contact details, click here

Previous engagements:

  • Northeast Ohio Chapter of WCAA
  • Northeast New England Chapter of WCAA
  • Greater Detroit Workroom Association
  • Custom Home Furnishings & DWC Conferences since 2003
  • Richmond, VA, Chapter of WCAA
  • Custom Sewing Institute, Creative Camp, Houston, TX, since 2010
  • Northern California Chapter of WCAA
  • Greater Rochester Workroom Association
  • WCAA Central NJ Chapter
  • Visions 2011, Las Vegas, NV
  • Western PA Window Treatment Association
  • WCAA of Indiana
  • WCAA of Phoenix, AZ
Author & Publisher:

Publisher:

Inventor:

  • Square it Up! Designed specifically to draft point-to-point swag patterns, the Square it Up! has many uses in the workroom
Instructor:

Custom Home Furnishings Academy

  • Advanced Workroom Skills & Efficiency, Part 1 and Part 2

    These two 2-day fast-paced classes are designed to give you years of workroom experience in just four days.You return to your workroom with renewed confidence in your skills and a very comprehensive reference book. You not only practice basic sewing techniques but we discuss when and where they are used. We train you on basic workroom tools that increase efficiency and quality. Throughout the four days, the common theme is efficiency. A workroom cannot be profitable if it is not efficient. Our goal is to teach you to be constantly thinking in terms of streamlining your work, eliminating the potential for mistakes and increasing your quality – in the office, in the workroom and at installation.Some of the topics we cover include fabric challenges, seams, hems, hand-stitching, methods to apply trim, planning cuts, cutting, blocking and tabling techniques, basic machine operation and maintenance, hardware facts and challenges, zippers, and much more. A broad knowledge of various techniques and tools enables you to make educated decisions when working in your workroom and investing in workroom tools. You will leave this class excited and energized – ready to increase your profit by increasing your productivity and quality.

  •  

  • Old World Pattern Drafting Techniques

  • Study the patterning techniques used by the drapery masters in the Victorian era, then apply a very modern twist with an emphasis on problem solving. They drafted patterns that resulted in treatments that look lush and full, but that often used less fabric and had less bulk than our techniques today. They were masters of fabric and pattern manipulation.

    Ann Johnson has taken many of their techniques and adapted them to be very simple and easy for you to execute on a daily basis. Learn how to draft patterns from scratch, but also how to alter your existing patterns – easily and with dramatic results. It is two days of hands-on pattern drafting techniques that resolve fabrication difficulties and give you permission to think outside the box. These are techniques you will use daily in your workroom.

    Efficiency in the workroom is Ann’s ultimate goal for all students. This class achieves that goal by giving you the tools to break every design into its individual elements, then choose the best pattern approach for each one.

    Increase your efficiency, spark your creative juices and set yourself apart from your competition.

     

  • Advanced Swag Engineering

    There is no reason to be intimidated by swagged treatments. The swag pattern is an incredible engineering work of art. This class is based on the two books, The Professional Workroom Handbook of Swags, Volumes 1 & 2. Beginning with the most basic of swag patterns, we work our way through all six basic swag patterns. For each style of swag, we discuss the design, calculate the pattern dimensions, draw the pattern and pin it to the wall. With each swag style, you develop more skill and understanding of the pattern, troubleshooting techniques and confidence in your ability to drape the folds. Finally, we address how to design and draw an asymmetrical swag pattern, based on everything we now understand about the six basic pattern styles. While we do discuss fabrication techniques and troubleshooting, you do not leave with a pretty swag sample. Our goal is to immerse you in the engineering characteristics of the pattern so that you have the confidence to draw your own swag patterns for any shape or size of swag in your own workroom.

     

  • Ripplefold

    Ripplefold was originally designed for commercial applications because of the ease of fabrication.  The clean, fluid lines and functionality, though, have made it very popular for contemporary designs in the past few years.  Ripplefold is an ideal choice for circumstances requiring less fabric and/or a tighter stack back.  This one-day hands-on class is a full immersion in everything ripplefold.  Students will leave with a full understanding of how to choose the desired fullness, order and assemble hardware, and fabricate the panel.  In addition, they will learn how to work around seams, how to fabricate a panel without topstitching and how to fabricate a double-sided panel.  Students will return home with a comprehensive student handbook, a traditional finished ripplefold panel and a sample rod.    

     

Testimonials:

On the Old World Pattern Drafting Class:


I recently returned from CHF and Ann's class on Old World Patterning Techniques. Loved my class-- it was as Ann promised, patterning techniques and so much more Terific info on patterning , cutting, and bits of knowledge to help with efficiency in the workroom. (Makes me want to take her class in Oct on efficiency.) Most of all it made me think and rethink many things and in some cases return to basics, as with the old masters and some not so old masters. I think a teacher who can help you think is a great gift.. Ann changed the way I look at many aspects of our business and changed my thinking. Now I need to implement and "walk the walk". I can't imagine anyone not learning from her in any of her classes . Ann rocks!!

Cathy Schulz
Silk Mountain Creations


I recently took Ann Johnson's Old World Pattern Techniques class at the CHF school. I can't say enough great things about the way Ann's engineering mind works--and mine doesn't! She's the Carl Sagan of patternmaking.

Ann has the ability to take a complex subject and make it much more simple and easily understood. I learn best by reading and watching. One of the really Great things she does is write very clear, concise instructions and step by step photographs for the class manual you receive. She puts a lot of preparation into her classes and is always concerned that you leave her classes getting exactly what you need. And, I did!

Ann is a warm, friendly person and a first rate teacher. Now, I know that her books are a Must Have for me! This class was so much more than I expected. Now I'm convinced that I can do what I've wanted to do in historical reproductions and restorations. The class, though, applies to all sorts of ideas in drapery land.

Thanks, Ann!
Sandra McPherson

 

On the Perfecting Your Workroom Skills - Part 1 Class:

"Ann Johnson’s classes held at the CHF Academy were fabulous!  In Perfecting Workroom Skills, the class was jam packed with tips and techniques on how to produce soft furnishings of the highest quality while doing it efficiently.  The first thing I did when I got back in the workroom, was teach many of the things I learned to my employees.  They were as excited as I was about these better, more efficient techniques."     Karen Barnes

"Last week I attended the Perfecting Your Workroom Skills class at the CHF Academy taught by Ann Johnson.  I cannot begin to explain how much this class has helped me already.  Ann was a wonderful teacher.  The manual she provided was packed with color photos and step by step instructions that are very easy to understand.  I felt that I could ask as many questions as I needed and she took the time to patiently answer every one.  The tips and techniques that she shared with us were soo very helpful and I have already implemented many of them into my workroom and it has made me much more efficient.  I had such a wonderful experience at the school and cannot wait to go back again! "      Denise Canney

On the Strengthening Your Swag Skills Class:

"The Strengthening Swag Skills class reaffirmed to me that Ann is THE expert in our industry on swags.  She has studied the engineering and mathematics of swags extensively and teaches the concepts in a way that is easy to understand.  Once we understood the basics, we were able to make a swag pattern, cut the swag out of fabric and drape it to the correct size in a matter of minutes, including asymmetrical and arched swags. I am thrilled to have taken this class and know I can now confidently make a swag of any size or style. "     ---- Karen Barnes

As a seminar speaker

"Excellent class, great information. Best class I have taken this conference."    --- Barbara

 

"We are so happy to have you here in New Jersey! Your seminar created so much buzz! We have attendees here from NJ, NY, DE & PA. As a result of today's program, we have added six new members to our chapter. Fantastic!!        -- Kelli Chitty

 
"WAY beyond expectations. "    --- Cheryl  
 
"The BEST class I've Taken !!    --- Nancy  

"Great crowd control !"   –– Jill

 

"Very organized, easy to understand, wonderful presentation style."

"After 18 years of sewing, I was still able to learn many new & timesaving techniques. Very good."   ---Sherri

"When our local WCAA chapter was looking for a speaker Ann’s name came up.  She was a candidate not only for her industry experience but for her success as an author and as an entrepreneur.  Before her scheduled engagement, I was fortunate to take a class “Taking the mystery out of Kingstons” that Ann gave at the DWC conference in Springfield, MA in September 2008.  Kingstons are a complicated window treatment and Ann was well prepared – had excellent visuals and samples – spoke to the point and was able to address all the questions presented to her in a clear, concise and down to earth manner.  Ann was not only professional but also intertwined her own story of success which made it more personal.
I was so pleased & excited knowing that she would be speaking to our group shortly after this conference.
Ann’s presentation to our WCAA chapter in October 2008 covered arched swags and her many tips and techniques for sewing and running a workroom business.  Her presentation, again, was easy to follow and her handouts were excellent.  There was plenty of time for in depth questions and she had great examples of her techniques to share."   
    
 Jeanne McDermott       October, 2008

"Ann Johnson is the Queen of swags! She's also among the best of speakers. Ann presents a professional image, is well organized, light hearted, and full of knowledge based on experience. Her enthusiasm will keep you focused and leave you jazzed! "          - Mary-Ann Quinn, MAQ Design.         October, 2008

"A lot of great tips: Very informational and knowledgeable. Enjoyed class."        --- Ruth

 

"Ann had complete control of the class - demanded and kept our attention. My best class yet! Thanks!"     --- Debbie

"WOW! Fantastic advanced Class."          -- Chris Watt

 

"Ann knows her stuff! Not only knows it (and the math stuff) but is able to explain it to non-math people."    -- Laura

"Very good illustrations -both samples and printed. Ann was well prepared. I gained a much better understanding."          --- Sally

 
 

"This by far was the BEST class - most informative, clear, concise."      Roberta

"Ann is tremendous and clearly articulates objectives of her class, solicits feedback, checks for understanding and effectively closes her workshop. My guess is that she is a former educator and if not, she has the natural talent for teaching."      --- Sarah

"Excellent teacher - great visuals - moved right along. Cudos!"      Vivian

"Ann was a very organized and successfully covered a lot of information in a short time."      --- Leslie

"Ann did a fabulous job of giving us a lot of very useful info in clear, concise manner. Very informative. Thanks!"      --- Judy

"Very impressed with Ann's teaching/professionalism and knowledge. Reinforced a lot of things I already know - but structured this into 'working' knowledge and reasoning and troubleshooting."       --- Dawn

 

"Ann rocks. Awesome teacher! Lots of tips that are fabulous"       -- Charlotte

"Ann is very knowledgeable and approachable. She fielded questions clearly and repeated for the whole room."      -- Lisa

 

"This class was very good. The instructor was very clear and concise. This is one of the best, most informative classes that I have taken!      -- Debbie

 

"Lots of knowledge presented well. She took an intricate subject and made it easy to follow. Lots of info - loved it!       -- Minda

"The best class ! Ever."   ---Almerinda  
"First time I've been in one of her classes and Ann is fantastic"   --- Pam

"More great info to use every day. Very knowledgeable and dynamic speaker"    ---Janice

"Excellent class for workrooms. Very practical advice."   --- Bonnie

 

Member of:

WCAA - Window Coverings Association of America

Drapery Pro

Professional Windows

Workroom Association of America

Custom Home Furnishings Academy - Instructor

Greater Cleveland Drapery Professionals

WCAA logo         WCAA award

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

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AKJ Workroom & Sew Easy Windows