Can I supply my own fabric? – Shades at Grays

Can I supply my own fabric?

If I supply my own fabric how much will I need and what type of fabric is good for a lampshade?

These are questions I get asked regularly and I love it when you supply me with fabric for a lampshade that's just right for your home.

Best fabric for a lampshade

Ideally the fabric needs to be cotton or linen (or a blend) and of medium weight. A quilting cotton is perfect, so too is an uncoated curtain fabric.

Fabric I avoid:

  • Silk (glue on the seam shows through and creases around the rims)
  • Thin manmade fabric (the ‘slippiness’ of this fabric creates creases around the rims)
  • Velvet (most velvet is quite thick and creates thick seams and can sometimes create issues tucking it under the lampshade rims)
  • Thick / heavy upholstery fabric (fabric that is very thick / heavy creates thick seams and issues tucking it under the lampshade rims)

How much fabric do I need for my lampshade?

In the table below you can see how much fabric you will need for the lampshade sizes I stock.

The fabric quantity is based on a horizontal pattern, running across the width of the fabric and includes an extra allowance for the seam and the top and bottom of the shade. Contact me with any queries 😊



Fabric quantity

Tapered style

Tapered 15

60 cm (w) x 25 cm (h)

Tapered 23

95 cm (w) x 35 cm (h)

Tapered 24

96 cm (w) x 35 cm (h)

Tapered 30

117 cm (w) x 46 cm (h)

Tapered 38

130 cm (w) x 45 cm(h)

Tapered 43

145 cm (w) x 54 cm (h)

Tapered 46

148 cm (w) x 52 cm (h)

Large Conical

138 cm (w) x 65 cm (h)

Extra Large Tapered

168 cm (w) x 62 cm (h)



Drum style

Straight sided 15

52 cm (w) x 20 cm (h)

Straight sided 20

68 cm (w) x 24 cm (h)

Straight sided 25

83 cm (w) x 29 cm (h)

Straight sided 28

93 cm (w) x 25 cm (h)

Straight sided 30

99 cm (w) x 34 cm (h)

Straight sided 33

108 cm (w) x 37 cm (h)

Straight sided 35

114 cm (w) x 39 cm (h)

Straight sided 40 Drum (40cm x 30cm)

130 cm (w) x 34 cm (h)

Straight sided 40 Barrel (40cm x 25cm)

130 cm (w) x 29 cm (h)

Straight sided 45

146 cm (w) x 149 cm (h)

Straight sided 50

161 cm (w) x 54 cm (h)

Straight sided 60

193 cm (w) x 64 cm (h)


Read on, if you want to know more detail about fabric quantities for making a lamp shade

The amount of fabric needed varies:

  • Are you choosing a straight-sided drum light shade frame (drum or barrel), or a tapered light shade frame?
  • How wide is the fabric (fabric comes in fixed widths, for example most quilting cottons are 1.12m wide)
  • Does the fabric have a distinctive pattern?

Check whether the pattern runs horizontally or vertically and double check whether the pattern can only go up one way.

In the picture below the kiwiana bird fabric has a width of 1.12m (112cm) and the bird pattern runs across the width. Even if you buy 1.5 metres in length (or height) the ‘one-way only’ pattern means you can’t cut a single piece of fabric for a lampshade that is more than 1.12m (unless you don’t mind having tipsy looking birds, on their sides!)

This means that for larger sized lampshades in a fabric like this one, you need two seams. Some people don't mind but even though the extra seam may be near-invisible when unlit, the seam does show when the bulb is on.

However, the Blue Wonder patterned fabric below has a width of 1.45m (145cm) which means that it is suitable for larger lampshades.

For true flexibility, or very large lampshades choose a pattern that can go  horizontally AND diagonally (and sometimes even ‘upside down’).

Fabric shops

These are the online fabric stores I surf most often :) Prices vary.


Backstreet Bargains

The Ribbon Rose

Martha's Furnishing Fabrics

Busy Bee Quilt Shop

Fabric Fixation

Miss Maude (for textured plain fabrics)

There are, of course, a huge range of overseas fabric stores. If choosing supplies from these please check their delivery fees and shipping times. Often the cost of the fabric is very reasonable but the shipping fee can more than double the total price.

If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to contact me (Sue) on 027 541 4696 or