Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Gathered London shade valances

Gathered London shade valance

Gathered London shades need to be planned a little differently from regular London shades. 

A perfect pleated London shade
The fullness in London shades is controlled by the pleats.  The fabric is flat across the shade and all the fullness is in the pleats,  You can make a deep pleat without excessive drooping, because the pleats contain all the fullness.  When gathers are what you want, the fullness must be reduced considerably to achieve the London shade silhouette without bagging.

Way too full!  yuck

Exactly one year ago I had a bad experience with 4 gathered London shades.  It didn't help that there was a double ruffle in the bottom, which added weight and caused an even more pronounced "droopy drawers" look.  Thinking these should be made at the same fullness as a balloon shade, the designer specified 2.5x fullness.  Naively, I complied.  As you can see, that was clearly way too much.   I took them apart and cut out a lot of fabric to end up with 1.5x fullness.  Of course I forgot to photograph the remake.  

Double gathered London shade valance
Wiser now, I planned these gathered Londons, one single and one double, with just under 1.5x fullness.  There wasn't enough fabric to allow a lot of extra folds at the bottom, and I was afraid that in the centers of the swoops, the few folds would flatten out, but with the 1.3x fullness that didn't happen, and I think the gathering is ample enough.

Here's one more from last winter: 


  1. What is the widest span you would recommend for a gathered? I don't really want a double gathered as it is for bay windows and they flanking windows won't be equal in width.

  2. Hi, Beth- sorry this has taken so long!.... I wouldn't go much wider than 42" or so for a gathered London shade. It starts to get really droopy.

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