Hand-sewn Silk and Linen Shades

Blanche Field’s hand-sewn silk and linen lamp shades have been the core of its business for more than 100 years. The combination of custom sizing, fine fabrics, delicate and precise pleating, and a plethora of trim combinations result in a truly bespoke product.

The key to the personality of the lampshade and the quality of the glow it imparts to a room lies in the choice of material. Serene and elegant eggshell silk pongee stretched smoothly across an oblong frame, or a nubby bisque silk shantung chosen for the rosy warmth of its illumination make quite different statements. Blanche Field knows what textures and colors work best and we have them all in inventory:

Blanche Field has a large selection of the finest silks, the fabric is chosen most frequently by our customers. Silks can be used with any shape, pleating style, and trim combination. Our specialty finishes (herringbones, ruffles, rouches, and fringes) work particularly well with silk, and our silk-smocked lamp shade is our singular most intricate and elaborate product.

  • PONGEES. The finest, tightly woven silk is noted for its smoothness and formality. Oyster and eggshell are the two colors that we use most frequently, although we stock other colors from antique gold to pale celadon.
  • SHANTUNGS. Fine silk is noted for its slubs, or threads of varied thickness, which create a variegated texture most noticeable when illuminated. A bisque color is often chosen, but we have variations from rose-beige to black.
  • HABUTAES. These silks are available in more than 20 bright hues, from evergreen to lavender to coral. Perfect when the design objective requires significant color.


Blanche Field maintains a collection of more than 30 fine linens ranging from rough, open-weave nobars to tight Irish “handkerchief” linens to fine Italian silk linens. A variety of illuminating effects can be obtained with these fabrics, and the coarser linens are ideal for identifying less formal areas.


We at Blanche Field are delighted to utilize fabrics and trims supplied by our customers. We know the leading fabric and trim companies and can order the fabric you specify. If your material has a pattern or symmetry, we can recommend pleating styles and place the seams so as to create the effect you require. Or, as the shade image shows, we can sew folds on the bias for an elegant effect.

To determine how much fabric or trim to purchase, please refer to the following charts:

Amount of Material (for pleated shades):
Bottom diameter: 6-9″ – yards needed: 1.25
Bottom diameter: 10-14″ – yards needed: 1.75
Bottom diameter: 15-18″ – yards needed: 2
Bottom diameter: 19-22″ – yards needed: 2.5

Amount of Trim:
Use the formula below. Be sure to measure both top and bottom diameters if trim is to be applied to both.

Yards needed equals diameter (inches) x 3.5 / 36


Nothing distinguishes a custom, hand-made lampshade from one purchased in a store more than the range and quality of the pleating styles. At Blanche Field, we take great pride in both. We have too many pleating styles to describe here. As you navigate through the website you will see most of them.

We can even combine different pleating styles on the same shade.


Blanche Field offers several finishing details that will convert an already special shade into a masterpiece. All our specialty finishes are hand-made.

  • SMOCKING. An elegant detail that creates a diamond-like pattern in the pleating. One shade might have a single row of smocking, another might be fully smocked, top to bottom. The light coming through a smocked shade is truly dramatic, and when the lamp is turned off shade can retain the drama through such techniques as using different colored threads at the stitch points.
  • HERRINGBONE. Patiently gathered and sewn by hand, our herringbone is found on our most elegant shades. This detail is often applied with a double row on the bottom of the shade and a single row on the top.
  • ROUCHING. Rouching is an old European technique of gathering the fabric and stitching it at a center point so that the effect is reminiscent of a flower.
    RUFFLES. Blanche Field seamstresses can create a variety of ruffles, ranging from a simple skirt of fabric to an elaborate box ruffle.