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Welcome to the Lampshade Loft Blog

My name is Jane Warren and I love interiors - especially how they are lit up and enhanced by lovely lampshades. I make shades and teach you how to as well, so sign up and learn how to make them in your own choice of fabric.

In my blog here I offer tips on how to make the best lampshades - oversized, using paper, if to line or not and other random subjects all to do with shades!

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Making gathered and pleated lampshades

By Jane Warren, Jan 15 2018 02:36PM

pleated and gathered lampshade made by The Lampshade Loft
pleated and gathered lampshade made by The Lampshade Loft

There is a world of difference between making a pleated and a gathered lampshade - pleated shades are traditionally formal, with sharp knife pleats runnng from the base to the top of the lampshade frame. Usually made using silk, which allows for crisp pleats, they add an elegance and formality to any room scheme. They need careful handling whne being made, with each pleat having the same width.

Gathered shades are more relaxed, the fabric is literally gathered by running stitch either by hand or using a sewing machine (using a ruffler foot) along the top and base edges of a length of fabric, pulled to fit the circumference of the frame, and then hand stitched in place. Right now, gathered shades are in vogue, and lovely they are too, adding a pop of colour and texture in both formal and relaxed room settings. They are being made using sari's, vintage textiles, modern block printed ikats and silks too. Both pleated and gathered shades really should be lined, otherwise you get some very odd reflections in the room when lit!

I rather like the look of having a shade with a formal pleat at the base and then the fabric pulled up and gathered at the top - best of both worlds!

2 comments
Jan 18 2019 12:33AM by William Micallef

Hi I have been hooked in making beautiful lamp shades and really love it. They are very time consuming but they are worth the trouble in the end. I am self taught and have tried to make pleated and gathered lamp shades and have been know to spend an entire day trying to pleat one lamp shade only to pull it appart in disgust with nothing to show for it at the end of the day. I would be greatful if you could shed some light on the subject and show me how to gather or pleat neatly a coullie shade (not sure of the spelling) like a Chinese rice growers hat. Small at the top and wide at the bottom. What is the formula? Cheers William.

Jan 24 2019 09:44AM by lampshady

Hi there William
Thank you for your comment on my blog.
Yes pleated and gathered lampshades are hard to make but once you get the method, nothing will stop you! I regret I don't teach this method but recommend you getting a great book by Ruth de Fraga Gomes called Shades of Light - this will teach you how to make them properly.

All the best

Jane

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