Ready to cry--made London shade

texashottieDecember 25, 2007

I am sooo frustrated!! I've tried making 3 of these london shades and I'm ready to throw in the towel. This last time I bought a Vogue pattern and it still did not turn out. When I draw up the sides the fabric pulls awkwardly towards the middle of the window, instead of stacking nicely "straight up". I put a pleat in the top center as well to allow for more "give."

I used a heavy cotton and lined it with the black-out lining. It's heavy---but I don't know that this is my problem? The other ones I've tried making were with unlined silk and I had a similar issue with pulling.

Has anyone had any success making these?

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Good Morning..
I was wondering if the rings on the back all line up - because if not, it may pull off to one side or the may want to check that well, where they pull from the top should also line up with the rings on the shade...
Just an idea..

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 9:58AM
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How wide is it and how many rows of rings did you put???

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 2:36PM
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It's 35" across and has two rows of rings at the very edges. I was talking to my mom last night and she told me to try making a "sleeve" at the bottom and putting a small wood dowel in there to keep the width. Actually, the pattern called for that but I omitted it because the other shades included all had straight bottoms (roman shades) and I thought it was a typo---the pic of my london shade is swagged.

So I'm going to try it.

I also bought a different type of roman shade tape. It doesn't have rings; instead it has two small cords which lay side-by-side and are interwoven in the tape. When you pull them, they stack so much nicer and evenly.
I'm going to try taking my shade apart and redoing it. If this doesn't work, I give up!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 9:39PM
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I googled "London shades" (not knowing what they were), and all the patterns and pictures I found had the rings set at a distance in from the edge, not right on the edge. The photos of actual shades all showed a slight tendency for the lines of rings to pull in slightly at the bottom so they didn't hang straight down. I suspect this is a function of the middle swagging.
They also said if you use heavy fabric you might have to fool around with them every time to get them to swag properly- recommended using a fabric that drapes easily.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 9:57PM
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If you havn't taken it apart yet,try this.Baste a sleeve above the part where it swags,maybe an inch or 2,then insert a rod and see if that helps.It seems like it would pull up ok and since the rod is above the swag the swag would still hang correctly.Understand i'm trying to figure this out in my mind.But it seems like i saw something like this on HGTV.Just trying to help!!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 10:06PM
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Colleen--yes, I know what you are talking about. My other london shade I made from silk has the tape about 6" from the edges.

Kathi--thanks. I haven't taken the one apart yet. I actually had a second shade (I was making two at once) that was at the stage where I just added the better shade tape. That made a big difference. I need to run to Lowe's today and get a dowel yet. But it still seems like it would pull in the middle now.. I'll try posting a pic too so you guys can see what I'm dealing with.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2007 at 1:22PM
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I just googled london shades,should have done that before.Now that i've seen what they look like,what i said in my last post may not work.Sory

    Bookmark   December 27, 2007 at 8:49PM
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You definitely need the dowel to make them pull up properly. The bottom where the dowel is will pull up straight and that part of the shade will actually rise behind the rest of the fabric which will fall in front and create that swag look. I hope that makes sense to you.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 2:17PM
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THank you so much for checking back on this thread! Here are some pics:

Here's the shade with the dowel in the bottom (I haven't cut the dowel to size yet):

This is the backside of the shade with the tape. You can see how thick the fabric is that I'm working with:

And lastly, here's with the shade pulled up (london shades are not meant to be pulled up very high). I guess I'm just frustrated that there's light that comes in from the sides. This is a guest room and I would want them to have privacy and not worry that someone from outside could peak in at them from the sides of the shade.

I just don't know that there is anything else that I can do.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 1:37PM
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I see your problem. You need to use rings or ring tape. The sides should not gather. You should be able to sew rings onto your existing tape about every 5 to 6 inches. One ring should be on the bottom right over the dowel. Tie the cord onto that ring, then thread it up through the rest of the the rings. You then need a screw eye in line above the rings on your mounting board. Thread the cord through the screw eyes. Decide which way you want to have the cord hang, then thread the cord from the opposite side through that screw eye also. When you pull the shade up the sides will not gather, but will pull up behind the shade, leaving the swag that you want in the middle. You will need to mount a cord cleat beside the window to wrap the cord around to hold it in the up position. Since you made your shades mount inside the frame you will have some light leaking, but not as much as you have now.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 3:07PM
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Terriks--I tried the rings with the ring tape first. It didn't pull up very smoothly AT ALL! It didn't want to "stack"--instead, it just pulled the bottom-most ring upward and the rest of the rings were useless (they just kept the cord close to the fabric). Do you know what I'm saying?

To boot, the rings made my shade pull away from the inside of the window frame much worse....

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 3:21PM
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Did you have the dowel in at the bottom when you used the rings? I have found it important to use a metal rod at the bottom. The added weight helps to raise and lower the shade.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 4:38PM
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The little bit of opening at the sides will not be enough for someone to peek in.I have that same thing with my roller shades.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 10:33PM
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I have a very similar shade in my bathroom - didn't know they were called "london shades". I checked to see they're construction. There are two inverted pleats on either side, not the single one you show - but I'm sure the concept is similar. There is a rod in the back, but not in a pocket on the bottom of the shade (as you would in a Roman shade), but rather, it is in a "pocket" of bias that is ONLY attached to the curtain at the first rings on either side. That way, the fabric is free to "balloon" below the bar, but the shade maintains it's width.

Also, I note that the rings are stitched in the "crease" of the pleat - if that makes sense.

If that's not clear, email me and I'll send you pics.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 8:46PM
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TH, I didn't know what a London Shade was, so I checked out the Vogue Patterns. Is the link below the one you are using? If so, the view that looks like yours calls for ring tape. I think the tape you used is probably gathering the shade too much instead of 'folding' or 'stacking' it. Referring to what Terriks mentioned, you may have to try the ring tape again, using the dowel this time. I hope it works out for you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Vogue Shades

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 9:51PM
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Yes, that is my pattern. Mine is supposed to be "D." I guess i will try the rings again.

Beth, it would be great to see a pic of your shade. I'm curious to see how it hangs--I'll email you. Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 10:15PM
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Texas, I am sure that when you replace the tape you used, or add rings and cords to your shades you will be much happier. It looks like the tape you used may have been austrian shade tape. Did it actually say that it was roman shade tape? I don't think that you need to actually take the shades apart, if you hand sew the rings onto the existing tape they should be fine.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2008 at 11:05AM
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Texas, did you ever get your london shade to work properly?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 4:17PM
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sorry, you guys, I've been busy with work and I haven't been able to mess with the shade yet... and I got Beth's photos emailed to me too---thank you!!

I'll post just as soon as I can. I appreciate the interest and help here!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 9:13PM
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It sounds like you just need to add a weight bar. This will keep your shade from sagging inward. It needs to be 4" wider than your center pouf. You can make a fabric sleeve and tack it to the back of your shade between the 2nd and 3rd row of rings then slip the rod in the sleeve. You can use threaded rods from home improvement store or a wooden dowel would probably work too. I hope this helps.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 11:36PM
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I just saw your photos after more scrolling. You definitely need to sew on rings too as someone else stated above. Just hand sew them with good thread. It won't take that long. And the sleeve for the bar is only tacked between the rings, not along the whole back of the shade. Doing these two things should hopefully solve your problem.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 11:47PM
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I have made shades with blackout lining and found that the weight did cause problems when lifting the shade. I ended up stringing through every other ring (so about every 10 inches) which helped quite a bit. Also - I have to say...I would avoid ring tape as much as possible. I think it is much less obvious to attach each ring individually (using zigzag stitch as though it were a buttonhole). And...definately a 'weight rod' as opposed to a wood dowel - it really just makes the whole lift action work much more smoothly.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 4:01PM
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