Lampshades

Here’s something I never expected to be doing: covering lampshades.I don’t know if anyone’s planning on recovering lampshades any time soon, but, you know, it’s something to do.

Every so often my mom’s friend calls me to do an odd job for him. A couple weekends ago I was dog-sitting for him, and he showed me a bunch of his projects. He had a crock of sauerkraut fermenting in his basement, and his pantry was stocked with all kinds of homemade preserves and wines. He rewires old telephones and bridge-style lamps, which is where the lampshades come in. He bought several wire frames to have them covered in a fabric that would go with the rooms he wanted them in. But then he couldn’t find anyone local to cover them! Apparently covering lampshades is a dying trade. I like learning how to do stuff, so I volunteered to do it. For real, though, it’s harder to find resources on covering fabric lampshades than it is to find a recipe to make wine from onions! The only resource that really helped me was an ehow tutorial.

Anyway, it turns out we have all the materials I needed here at the shop! This guy provided the exterior fabric, which was a damask upholstery material. I think it would look really elegant in a textured fabric, like a silk dupioni or a linen. To line it I used our white satinella shirting cotton. Most of my research on lampshades went into what material to use to line it with. I scoured the library and the internet for information. It was so frustration. But! I found out you can use any natural material, you don’t have to buy a specially treated fabric or line it with plastic. It’s a good idea to treat it with a flame retardant, but it’s also a good idea to just turn the lamp off when you’re not using it. I draped this cotton on the wire frame over a 60 watt bulb for an hour and a half, so I think it’s fine.

Enough babbling, sorry, here’s the story of the lampshade!

First I wrapped the frame with cotton ribbon, so I would have something to sew the fabric onto. It also softens the lines of the frame when the light shines through it.

I handstitched nearly everything on this shade! The frame was made funny, and none of the shapes were the same size, so I couldn’t make a pattern from it that would line up the seams with the frame. I made tiny tiny stitches to attach every piece to the frame. We carry these curved needles at the shop, and they were so amazingly helpful!

Then I made more tiny tiny stitches to attach the seam allowances to the frame.

This is the outside finished!

Aaaaand the lining! This lining is totally not up to my standards. I need to figure out how to get a good fit still. But not bad for a first go, eh?

This guy bought some trim from us, too. It’s a thin tufted ribbon that he’s going to glue on, and I think it’ll be really gorgeous. I’ll show more picture once it’s finished! These lamps are so beautiful, I’m really looking forward to covering more shades.

I love figuring out how to make things like this. Next project: bras!


By on
Tagged: curved needle, Fabric, lamp shade, projects

Leave a Comment