- The 'Simple' Valance.(3 hr seminar). It is a ‘simple valance,’ a box pleat valance with a shaped bottom for a bay window. This valance was an actual job fabricated by Ann Johnson. From a workroom perspective, this treatment is anything but simple. The goal of any workroom is to fabricate a treatment efficiently and with as few errors as possible. In this class, we deconstruct the valance, discussing every step of the process from bidding through planning, pattern drafting, fabrication steps and finishing. The class is saturated with tips and techniques that can be applied to any treatment in the workroom. The twin goals of efficiency and quality are always the main focus.
- Secrets to Perfect Fabric Cording & Banding.(3 hr seminar) Fabric cording is often an essential element to a treatment – whether highlighting the shape of the design or filling in the gap at the ceiling. This class explores the uses for fabric cording, gives guidance for choosing the right insert and discusses fabrication tips for a clean flawless cord. Fabric banding, whether inset or wrapped around the edge adds a beautiful dimension of color and a unique custom touch to all treatments. Learn how to form mitred corners with ease, and how to apply banding to panels, pillows, table runners and napkins, valances and any soft goods item efficiently and flawlessly.
Conquering Difficult Fabrics. (3 hr seminar) A wealth of tips and techniques for handling many of the difficult and unstable fabrics we encounter daily in the workroom. Velvets, crinkles, sheers and casements, linen, upholstery weight, unruly polyesters, drop match and half drop repeats and much more. Integral to the class is how to assess the fabric’s characteristics in relation to the treatment it is chosen for and approach the cutting and fabrication to achieve efficient and quality results. The goal is to work with the fabric, not fight against it. All of the techniques can be applied to jobs throughout the workroom. If you have worked with a nightmare fabric in the past, bring a piece of it to share with us.
- The Anatomy of a Swag. (3 hr. seminar). Based on 'The Professional Workroom Handbook of Swags, Volume I,' this is THE class on swag pattern drafting. It deconstructs the swag pattern to explain how each of the components work to create the swag you envision. We focus on the basic swag pattern and how it is drawn to create the basic board mount swag, cutout (pole) swags and point-to-point (drapery) swags. I demonstrate how to specify the finished swag and draw the pattern for each swag type. I also talk about troubleshooting, fabrication and mounting. If you use a swag template system, professional patterns or draw your own patterns, this class is a must for all workrooms.
- Advanced swags. (3 hr. seminar). Prerequisite: highly recommended that students have taken "Anatomy of a Swag' and/or read 'The Professional Workroom Handbook of Swags, Volume 1.' This class is based on 'The Professional Workroom Handbook of Swags, Volume 2.' This class focuses on Austrian, boxed and asymmetrical styles of swags. Learn how simple the Austrian swag is and why it is a great substitute for the standard swag. Asymmetrical swags are very simple - once you learn how to approach them. Take your swag pattern skills to a higher level. The lessons you learn in this class will be valuable when handling swagged treatments of any style.
- Arched swags. (3 hr seminar). Professional patterns for board mount swags that follow an arch curve are very hard to come by. This class, based on 'The Professional Workroom Handbook of Swags, Volume 2,' takes you step by step through the process of drawing a pattern for a specific swag on an arch. The worksheets in the book are invaluable in leading you through the process. We discuss arched styles, pattern drafting steps, fabrication and troubleshooting. Arched swags are beautiful! You want to be the workroom with the skill and confidence to create them.
- Fabricate a Perfect Kingston : Pattern drafting, fabrication and troubleshooting. (3 hr seminar). Kingston valances can be a bit daunting for many workrooms. Altering a pattern is problematical because the bells, tails and swags are connected and dependent on each other. This class will deconstruct the Kingston valance into its various parts: the bell pattern, the tail pattern and the Kingston swag pattern. We will discuss the attributes of each piece, how they interconnect on a Kingston valance and how to draw each pattern to specific proportions. We will cover two different methods of finishing the Kingston valance and the pattern variations for pole mount and post mount Kingstons. You will leave this class with a new appreciation for the beautiful and elegant Kingston valance and a new confidence in your ability to pattern and fabricate it to your own specifications.
- Historical Pattern Drafting Techniques for the Modern Workroom (3 hr seminar) The Victorian drapers were masters at manipulating fabric to create fullness without bulk. I introduce you to pattern drafting and manipulation techniques that result in truly unusual and stunning treatments. You will not just walk away with a few new techniques, but with your eyes opened to the possibilities for manipulating patterns and techniques to achieve unusual and unique results. This class will stimulate your creativity as well as your skills.
- Workroom Tips and Techniques for efficiency and quality (1.5 or 3 hr seminars). This popular fast-paced class offers many tips and techniques in fabrication and workroom procedures to streamline your workroom operations and enhance your finished treatments. Ann brings 17 years of her own workroom experience plus two years of managing a workroom of seven extremely talented sewers. Topics include a wide range of cutting, fabrication and finishing techniques, Ann’s favorite workroom tools, troubleshooting pointers and much more. The best part of this class is that you will learn why each technique is important and when to use it. Bring your camera and sharpen your pencils.
"Hi Ann: I thoroughly enjoyed your webinar last night - it was fast paced, well presented, full of great tips and facts and I learned a bunch even after 14 years in the businesss - great job!" - Susan Kostelecky
- Ripplefold panels (1.5 hour seminar). This commercial style drapery style is making a comeback in today's world of clean, contemporary lines. The unusual hardware may seem daunting, but I will make it simple for you. This class explains the hardware, the simple concept behind fullness choices and several fabrication techniques. Whether a designer or a workroom, you will definitely want to explore the ripplefold look and add it to your product line. You will be amazed at how easy and simple the treatment is to specify, fabricate and mount. Add ripplefold to your portfolio today.
- Panel Tracks (1.5 hour seminar) Panel tracks are a clean, contemporary look that provides the functionality of heat and light control with minimal fabric. They offer creative license in the ability to switch out panels for the season, use as room dividers as well as window treatments and show off beautiful fabrics as flat panels. In this class, we examine several panel track systems from different vendors and explore different methods of fabrication.
- Essential Workroom Tools & Supplies (3 hour seminar) The right tools and supplies enable a workroom to perform fabrication tasks efficiently while increasing the quality of the treatment. Many small tools and notions look intriguing, but it is often hard to justify the purchase. Introduce the students to many small tools and unusual workroom supplies. We’ll discuss all the uses for each and how they can impact the productivity in the workroom.
- Arched Treatments . Pattern drafting and fabrication of different arched styles. (3 hr seminar). Arched treatments are daunting and mysterious to new workrooms. I'll make it easy for you. We'll talk about measuring for arched and unusual shaped windows, building an arch frame and other mounting options, step by step to drawing patterns for pleated, slouched and flat treatments and fabrication techniques. I'll teach you how to avoid common mistakes too. The next time your client asks for an arched treatment, you will answer with a confident Yes!
- Designer's Guide to Window Treatments ( 3 hour seminar) Do you find window treatment design to be overwhelming and a little intimidating due to the level of details? Many design courses barely touch on the details of window treatment and bedding design. This course is for designers who want to learn how to sell window treatments. Join us for a primer on window treatments - from measuring to choosing the right fabrics to a trouble-free installation. We will cover how to measure for a bid, terminology between the designer and workroom and best fabric choices for specific treatment details. We will also touch on the current cord safety issues for shades. Finally, we will talk about the importance of having one or more good, full-service workrooms in your arsenal, and how to choose a good workroom and/or installer and work with them.
- Drapery Panels – Basic to Bump (3 hour seminar) Drapery panels can be a very lucrative component to your workroom. Learn how to efficiently cut, prep and table drapery panels with low bulk headers. Build control into those panels to enhance their functionality and prevent future call backs for flaring bottoms and separating layers. Techniques include pattern matching the seams at the machine, sewing a neat a simple buttonhole for rod pocket panels and solidly attaching trim without glue basting or hand stitching. We will cover different header types. Once we have covered all the basics, we will walk through the process of fabricating a luxurious panel interlined with bump. This will include all the different hand stitches that are used. Finally, we will discuss how to set pricing for all types of drapery panels.
- Tabling Oversized Items (1.5 hours) Many workrooms are easily intimidated by drapery panels that are 200” long or several widths wide. Valances over ten feet in width or that span several boards around a room present many challenges for fabrication and installation. This class will demonstrate the step by step procedures for tabling panels that are larger than the table. Many of these techniques can be used on other treatments. We will also offer many tips for handling extra wide and bay valances. As always, pricing is a very important part of our discussions.
- Hand Stitching (1.5 hour seminar) This will be a fun, hands-on class where students practice over six different hand stitches while learning when and where to use them in the workroom. Emphasis is on choosing the best stitch for the job, economy of movement, and ergonomic care of hands. We will also discuss quality tools – thread, thimbles and needles - as well as pricing structures for hand-sewn treatments.
- Perfect Fit Knife Edge Cushions (3 hour seminar)
Knife-edge seat cushions come in many different shapes and thicknesses. The challenge, especially with cushions up to 2” thick, is to make a cushion that is uniform in depth and a perfect fit to the chair. In this class, we will discuss foam and batting considerations, how to draw a template of the chair seat, cut and fabricate one inch and two inch thick cushions, handle cutouts and notches in the cushion, variations on ties, and button tufting techniques. Finally, we will discuss pricing considerations. Knife-edge cushions can be done efficiently and profitably – let me show you how.
- The Sunburst (1.5 hour seminar) The sunburst is a shirred valance usually inset in a shaped window. The valance provides privacy and light filtering properties while dressing a window in soft folds. In this class, we will show how to draw a template and measure for a sunburst, fabricate and install. We will discuss how to adapt to different shapes of windows and how to make the valance easily removable, and pricing for standard and unusual treatment designs.
- Flawless Installs (1.5 hour seminar) The goal for every installation appointment is to appear on time and install a perfect treatment in minimal time and with minimal mess. There are many ways you can ensure every installation is flawless. In this class, we discuss workroom preparation tips and explore problem solving hardware components. Whether you install your own work or hire an outside contractor, these tips and tools will help you streamline your installs and improve the finished treatment. Your clients will be impressed by the efficiency and professionalism of your installer. Your installer will love you too!
- Plan and manage your custom workroom with growth in mind (1.5 or 3 hr seminars).You are doing what you love and enjoying every minute of it. But are you working smart? Plan and run your business with efficiency and growth in mind. Whether or not you choose to grow the business in the future, setting up the business to run efficiently, with growth as a potential goal, will result in time and dollar savings as long as you are in business. It will also increase your professionalism, thereby altering how others view you as a business. We will explore paperwork and filing systems, track the flow of work through the workroom, cover some efficiency tips in cutting and fabrication, talk about written specifications and procedures and discuss steps towards taking on employees. The goal is to help you view this as a business, yet keep it under control so it will always be fun.
- Enhancing your business with design software - the dreamDraper advantage. (1.5 hr) Are you curious about interior design software and what it can do for you? Is it worth the investment for your business? This course will answer these questions and more. We explore the many ways that dreamDraper's design software enhances your professional image, improves client trust, closes more sales faster, and creates opportunities for up-selling. DreamDraper is a visualization tool between designers and their customers as well as a communication tool between designers and their workrooms and installers. It is a premier graphics tool for developing portfolios and marketing tools. We also explore how dreamDraper's Quick Quote for QuickBooks quoting software helps you quote faster and with more precision. You will be amazed at how dreamDraper's Total Solution enhances your professional image and builds your business.
What my students have to say:
"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
Contact me for scheduling and rates