An Interview with master seamstress, Susie Rutherford
Lewis and Sheron Textile Co. is more than just a fabric store,and what I mean by that is we do more than just sell fabric and trim.There are a number of departments here to assist customers with their home décor needs,such as the furniture department, the upholstery department, the silk gallery, the cut yardage program, and curtain call. For the purposes of this article, Curtain Call will be our main focus.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Susie Rutherford, the department head of Curtain Call, the other day and she was kind enough to give me a rundown of just what Curtain Call is and what they do. Below, you’ll find that interview, and hopefully it will answer some questions that you may have had.
As I waked into the Curtain Call department of Lewis & Sheron,I was surprised to find many samples of drapery types that are offered, as well as hardware types available for purchase. Immediately,I was greeted by Susie’s smiling face, so we went ahead with our conversation.
LW: I’m at Lewis & Sheron Textile Co. with Susie Rutherford in Curtain Call. To begin Susie, what is Curtain Call?
SR: Leslie, Curtain Call is a department here at the store that specializes in fabricating custom draperies, pillows, bedding, table skirts, cushions, and a lot of other things.
LW: Ok, so who makes up the Curtain Call team?
SR: Well, I’m the department head, and then we have our workroom who fabricates everything. We’ve been working together for about 6 years.
LW: Can you explain the typical process you’d take with a client who’s commissioning work from you guys?
SR: A person would come in with the idea of what she would like. If it’s draperies, she’d need to bring measurements of her window, how high her ceilings are, and whether she’d like the draperies to be operable or stationary, and then we can take it from there. Oh, she’d also have to pick a pleat, because the type of pleat chosen will determine how much fabric will be needed.
LW: Ok, so once measurements have been taken, the order placed and fabric selected, can you reveal a little about the production process?
SR: Well, it goes to the workroom, they make it, it comes back . . . easy peazy! (Susie giggles) No, let’s see. In the workroom, there’s one person that usually cuts everything, and then it’s almost an assembly line kind of deal; to a certain extent, or as much as you can on something that is custom. I mean, you can’t treat a drapery like a car. There’s no real decision making in car making since that’s already been done for you, but in drapery making, they have to work out all the math before they ever make the first cut.
LW: So you’re saying, there’s no cookie cutter equation to follow?
SR: No, no. It would be like going to a tailor and having a suit made for yourself. They can’t get something off the rack and expect it to fit you perfectly, as if it had been tailored to your body. Same thing goes with custom draperies.
LW: What are some common misconceptions that people have about what you do, or the process here?
SR: The most common misconception is, “Oh, it’s just a standard window, and they’re just standard ceilings.” As if, you know, you can make something that’s just standard and expect it to fit since it’s custom. It would be like someone calling their shoemaker and saying, “I just have a standard shoe size, so make me up a standard shoe and it’ll fit.” . . . but it doesn’t.
LW: Lastly, if there was one thing that you’d like every customer to come in and just know, what would that one thing be?
SR: The exact width of their window; that would be the one thing.
So there you have it, people. Curtain Call is there for all those sewing home décor needs that upholstery doesn’t cover. Come in today and have a chat with Susie. She’s amazing at what she does and epitomizes service with a smile.