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Silk Lampshades – Smocked Pleating

Silk lampshades with smocking are special.  The technique of smocking is essentially a type of “double pleating”; the first layer of pleating is most often a box pleat – typically a “closed” box pleat, but they can be made with open box pleats as well as “drapes”.  And then, the second “smocked” layer is created when the sides of the box pleats are brought together creating a diamond like pattern in the pleating.  The light coming through a smocked shade is dramatic – whether the shade is made with a full smock or smocking at the top and bottom, or just one “pinch” in the middle.  But, even when the light is off, the beauty of the smocking is evident.

With a fully smocked lampshade, the pinches in the pleating are created near both the top and the bottom of the lampshade.

Image 1 Full Smock

Smocking can also be applied to only the top or the bottom of the lampshade, as shown in the following two images.

Lamp_2_cr_eggshell_large[1] Image 8 smocking with colored thread

As noted above, the smocking treatment can be applied to not only a closed box pleat, but also open box pleats as shown in this lampshade created by M. Gabaree Lampshades.  This silk coolie lampshade that Michelle has designed utilizes an open box pleat as well as a “centered” smock – wherein the “pinch” applied to create the diamond pattern is found in the middle of the lampshade.

Image 7 MG Pleat Sampler

A rolling box pleat can also serve as the first layer of pleating overlaid by a full smock treatment.

Image 6 Box-Drape-with-Smock[1]

Another unique look is created when the smocking is applied to a large box drape.

Image 5 Rolled-Box-Pleat-Smock

Smocking as a shading technique allows the opportunity for multiple variations.  In the following image, you will see one shade created with a full smock on one part of the shade, coupled with a small bottom smock on the other half of the lampshade.

Image 4 MG Smock Pleats

While most smocking is applied to solid colored fabric, the use of a different colored thread can create a dramatic effect, and effectively enhance the lamp base and room décor.

Image 3 Bottom Smock