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30-Minutes with Workroom Tech: Episode 38: Shade Systems with Deborah Cronin and Jennifer White

On Episode 38 of The Sew Much More Podcast: 30-Minutes with Workroom Tech special guests and Workroom Tech instructors Deborah Cronin and Jennifer White join Ceil DiGuglielmo to talk about shade systems.

You can listen here: Shade Systems Podcast

When choosing a list system, there are three categories: clutch, spring and motor. Deborah and Jennifer get a lot of questions about the systems from various companies and how they compare. For example; companies like Rowley Company, Rollease Acmeda and Coulisse all provide shade systems.

Jennifer shared that you might choose a supplier based on where you live. If you have a local distributor you can build a good relationship with them, and shipping is faster and less expensive.

When mounting shades, the choice of using a board or attaching to the system with Velcro depends on the project. Deborah prefers board mounting, Jennifer loves to use Velcro on a track system especially for an inside mounted shade.

Deborah recommends Velcro mounting for reverse mounted shades when using a track system. The loop strip is sewn at the top of the shade (on the front) and attached to the track which has hook strip already attached. Mounting brackets are used under the valance board. The board is mounted first, then the track can be put into the brackets.

More Tips for Reverse Mounted Shades

Jennifer uses size 00 grommets at the top for the cord to pass though from the back to the front.

Deborah recommends using blackout lining for the topper or valance. She shared that she uses the fusible buckram or blackout lining from dofix No Sew, Inc for making quick toppers for shades.

If using Safe-T-Shade Ring Locks on the shade you may need to use a spacer so the RingLocks do not hit the window.

Top Down Bottom Up Shades

With the new system from Coulisse, the headrail contains spools and drive rods for both top down and bottom up contained in one slim headrail track. VAKO is also coming out with a system that had a dual purpose spool. Stay tuned for more information about that!

You can see this new system in the video below.

Keeping Up with Innovations

Deborah and Jennifer do a lot of research, study and trials. They truly enjoy reading catalogs! They created a spreadsheet comparing all the shade systems for teaching. It's a valuable resource.

Assembled vs. Buying Components in Bulk

Deborah keeps bulk components in the workroom for the systems she uses most often. When a different systems would work best for a project, it could be better to order an assembled headrail instead of investing in stock. She suggests investing components that can be used for multiple purposes like the 1 1/2" diameter roller tubes from Rollease Acmeda because it can be used for spring, motors and clutch operation.

Deborah stocks Rollease Acmeda Easy Spring Plus, SS-38 clutch/track, and the soft shade traversing clutch. Jennifer uses Rollease Acmeda Easy Spring Plus and the Coulisse Absolute Roller systems.

Learning a New System

Deborah and Jennifer suggest that if you are starting with a new system, buy two extras; one for your workroom to make a sample, and one for spare parts. You might also want to buy at least one already assembled, so you can use that as a guide for learning how to put together a new system.

Deborah and Jennifer are teaching the Shade Smart weekend at Workroom Tech in NC in April, and the Shade Smart 1-day workshop in Malvern, PA in May.

Note: Due to the Coronavirus Epidemic, the Shade Smart classes have been postponed. Visit for updated dates for these two classes.

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