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30 Minutes with Workroom Tech: Episode 78 / Asking for Help

Sometimes you need a little help. The great thing about the workroom industry is that there are a lot of groups, resources, and colleagues to help you. On this episode of the podcast, Ceil DiGuglielmo and Susan Woodcock talk about how to ask for help so that you can get the answers you need and make friends along the way.

1. Getting help when fabricating something new.

Start by taking the path of least resistance.

Is there a pattern?

M’Fay patterns at

Pate Meadows Design at

Are there written or online instructions available?

Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library at

The Workroom Channel,

Workroom Tech classes, blog and podcast! Search the blog for past episodes or click on "classes".

If you are using a new shade system, drapery hardware or workroom product, did you check the company website for how-to instructions or videos?

Have you made something similar before? Are there parts that you know how to do and parts that you need help with?

Where and how to ask for help Curtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library a Facebook group.

Take the time to create a help request that includes as much information as possible. Include a photo or drawing, finished size, fabric, lining, and trims. If you understand part of the process, include this… Such as “I already know how to draft the pattern, I need help with the sewing steps” or “I know how to make the cornice board part – I am looking for help with the overlays”.

2. Looking for a recommendation

Research on your own first by doing a search on your favorite online group. Many people ask the same questions repeatedly. An older reply might have better responses because repeat questions do not have as much participation.

Include specific details about what you are looking for. Instead of asking for “a pillow supplier”, ask a specific question like “I am looking for a company that can make custom sized, feather/down pillows with no minimums”.

Another example, instead of asking for recommendations for “a cordless roman shade headrail”, ask in a way that will get you better results like “I am looking for recommendations for roman shade systems with no operating cords for an inside mounted shade for a window 24 inches wide x 50 inches long with a 2 inch or less projection, reverse mounted with a valance”. Details like this will fine-tune the responses which will save you time.

3. You have been unsuccessful in finding the information on your own

Good for you for taking the time to do your own research first! When asking for help, share your research and specifics about what you need. For example, if you are looking for a bracket or finial to match existing hardware, post a photo, dimensions, and what companies you already checked. If you are looking for a fabric, instead of asking for recommendation for a floral pattern, ask for “a floral pattern, blue and white color-way that will be used for washable slipcovers”.

4. You have a project fail or workroom mishap.

Oh no! You probably need help right away. Help others to help you by asking a good question so you can get the information you need quickly.

What happened?

What are the details?

For example, instead of asking “how do you get glue off fabric”, help others help you by sharing specifics. “Help! I applied trim to the return edge on one drapery panel instead of the leading edge and I need advice for removing it. The face fabric is silk with interlining and blackout lining. It is a tassel trim (share company and style number or a photo) with the glue under the woven flat tape. I used Rowley Company fringe adhesive, and it was applied two hours ago. The trim was inset 1.5 inches from the edge. Can it be removed and how can I fix the damaged edge of the drapery panel”?

If you have a problem and you have already tried to fix it, share that in your request for help. When somebody is taking their time to answer your request for help and the reply back is “I tried that already”, they will feel like their time was not respected. For example, if you have draperies that are flaring, share the finished size, fabric details, linings, fabrication method for header and hems, whether there is an applied trim and how it was applied, the header style, fullness, hardware, and anything you have already done onsite to fix the flaring drapery.

5. You need inspiration.

If you are looking for inspiration there is no better resource than the internet! Share why you are looking for ideas… is it for a customer or for yourself (the hardest person to work for!) and share a little about the style or décor. Are you looking for other workrooms and interior designers to follow on social media in general, or are you looking for someone that has a certain project you would like to learn more about?

Finding a mentor and asking for help privately

You might not be comfortable asking for help on an internet group and would prefer to ask someone privately. TheCurtains & Soft Furnishings Resource Library is a less distracting and kinder place to ask questions than a Facebook group. It is valuable to have a workroom friend or mentor that you can contact if you have a question. (Listen to 30 Minutes with Workroom Tech, Episode 59 – Mentoring)

To wrap up…

The most important part of asking for help is being respectful of others time by sharing enough information to help them help you.

The best way to say thank you is to follow up to let people know how the job turned out and if their advice was useful.

The best way to build the industry is by participating – share and help others!

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