Saturday, November 20, 2010

One Designer Fearlessly Battles an Onslaught of Discontinued Fabrics & Trims

Ugh.  That's it; ugh!!  The Great Recession is wreaking havoc in the design industry.  It's not just a question of clients not wanting to buy anything -- even when you have clients wanting to place orders, you have to deal with an unprecedented epidemic of discontinued, unobtainable fabrics and trims.  Fabric and trim mills are going out of business all over the world, and no one wants to keep stock of anything but the most popular, most ordinary fabrics in their inventory so back orders and lead times are out of control.

If you missed my post back in August about how I'm having a discontinued fabric recreated through custom embroidery for a client's master bath project, you can read about it here.  Then in September, I showed you the first stitched sample of the custom embroidered motif on our drapery fabric here.  I selected a darker embroidery thread color in shinier rayon instead of polyester thread and asked the digitizer to make some changes in the way the computerized embroidery machine stitches out the design, and I just got the revised sample in yesterday's mail from the embroiderer.  Much better!

Discontinued fabric on top, two most recent samples of custom embroidery below
I'm very pleased with the way the design is looking now.  The puckering has been virtually eliminated, our thread color is an exact match to the chocolate brown velvet trim, and our new design has better thread coverage and more of a three-dimensional quality than the original design had.  It looks like a beautifully stitched custom monogram motif, exactly what I expected when I hired Richards Jarden of Embroidery Arts to digitize the design for me.  I'm going to give the embroiderer, Kadire Biberaj of European Design, the okay to proceed with embroidering the silk yardage with the revised design.

However, no sooner do I figure out how to get around this discontinued fabric crisis than a discontinued trim rears its ugly head and tries to sabotage another favorite design!  Remember the amazing game room project that I'm working on recreating for the same client, whose home is being rebuilt and remodeled in the wake of a summer house fire? 

Original Game Room Drapery Treatment, Pre-Disaster

We reordered the exact same fabrics and trims for this room back in late August, and the distinctive metallic wrapped bead trim from Kravet was supposed to be a current pattern, just backordered.  I need 45 yards of this stuff for the lead (inside vertical) edges of all the drapery panels in this room, as well as for the horizontal bottom edge of the little door valance. 

Fabricut black silk velvet for drapery panels, graphic woven cornice fabric from Lee Jofa
I waited and waited, and when I called to check on the backorder status I was told that this particular trim had been sourced from a trim mill in South Africa that had gone out of business.  Kravet was looking for another mill to supply the trim, and once they had approved samples from the new trim, my order could be produced and shipped.  Then last week I got the call of doom from Kravet informing me that they cannot find another trim mill with the capability to produce this trim, and it is discontinued.  Period.  Have a nice day.  May we suggest your grandmother's silk tassel fringe instead?

This was not an easy trim to substitute, and I spent days searching every source I could think of.  Then I stumbled across this Stroheim & Romann metallic wrapped bead trim that turns out to have come from the exact same South African trim mill as the original trim -- but Stroheim still has enough of this trim in stock for my project:

Now, how cool is that?!  No, we don't have the black and cream header anymore, but I like the larger, more elongated bronze wrapped beads even better than the squatty little beads on the original trim.  Also, since the replacement furniture that has been ordered for this room is even more contemporary than the original furnishings, eliminating the black and cream chevron tape will result in a cleaner, sleeker window treatment.  The new trim is going to be sewn in-seam this time instead of top applied to the edges of the drapery panels, so the header braid will be completely hidden in the seam allowance and nothing will show except the beads.  It will look something like this:

That red silk fabric is for several throw pillows that will be scattered on the big, black sectional for splashes of color.

Come on, Discontinued Dragon!  Bring it on!


Deepali Kalia Interior Design Blog Filling Spaces said...

I am glad you liked my website! Yes,please email or call me if you have any requirements,my family business in makes fabrics and trims,i am working with several Interior designers and creating fabrics that are either no longer available due to the corruption in the design/fabric industry or outrageously priced! Have a happy holiday.

Ivory Spring said...

Determination gets the job done, Rebecca! I love following your "impossible" quests. :)