EXPRESS YOURSELF

BY ASHLEY DARLAND | PHOTOGRAPY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

Step into Jean’s Custom Workroom and you’ll see a vast library of fabrics and accomplished seamstresses hard at work on custom pieces that are both durable and elegant. “Sewing is a dying art,” owner Jean Peters says.

Jean’s Custom Workroom designs and fabricates pillows, bedding, cushions, window coverings, slipcovers and upholstery. The showroom features fabrics from respected manufacturers, such as Duralee, Greenhouse, Kravet and Fabricut. Thankfully, the staff at Jean’s will help guide you through your decisions. The result is a home filled with custom items that express your personal style.

Peters describes her new showroom in West Ashley as a “one-stop shop for someone who is renovating their house or building a new home.” She adds, “We can do as little or as much as a client wants, and we also frequently work with designers.” Experts perform precise on-site measurements before they begin their work to ensure that every product fits your home exactly.

Peters learned how to sew from her grandmother, who taught her how to make clothes. Later, a friend showed her how to sew drapes. Twenty years ago she went into business, making soft goods for interior designers, and she opened her first showroom on Kiawah Island five years ago.

Today, much of her business comes through word of mouth, from clients who appreciate her elegant, stylish designs and quality products.

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Peters is currently collaborating with an Atlanta interior designer on a major design renovation of an 18th-century house on Church Street. Not only is she creating floor-to-ceiling drapery panels throughout the house, she’s also installing metal French return rods, which are in high demand by many of her clients. Unlike traditional curtain rods with finials, French return rods are curved so there is no gap between drapery panels and the wall. Of the variety of finishes, black is the most popular.

Aside from the window treatments, the workroom is making a custom canopy for the antique poster bed in the master bedroom. The canopy, made of a delicate silk fabric, is reminiscent of fabrics used in 19th-century Charleston interiors and will match the window treatments.

Peters accomplishes all this with the help of a supportive team.

Cher Niemi, a full-time seamstress at Jean’s Custom Workroom, has 37 years of experience as an industrial seamstress. Recently, she has turned her talents to sewing drapes, slipcovers and pillows. Among her favorite projects are intricately pleated footstools covered in a whimsical green pattern for a sun-room on Kiawah Island. She also recently completed a project to make new cushions for a large outdoor sectional. Niemi is an expert at adding the finishing touch. “You can choose details that express your personal style, like trims, cording, ruffles and tassels,” she says.

Valerie Stone works as Peters’ personal assistant and handles the business’ new website and social media accounts. “Social media is a great way for us to communicate with our clients and learn what they are looking for,” Stone says. As for what’s trending, she notes that “the industrial look is seen all over right now.” Peters adds that, in fabric, checks and plaids are coming back in style. “With neutral wall colors, many clients are choosing to add a fun pop of color with fabric,” she says. Jean’s Custom Workroom continues the tradition of offering unique, custom-made pieces for their clients. The experts at Jean’s will make your vision for your home a reality. Their custom pieces will express your style and last for years to come.

Ashley Darland is a freelance writer in Charleston with a background in historic preservation.