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Recovering Lampshades

My latest finished project for 2016 is also a first for me! I covered a lampshade 🙂

First it looked like this.

Nasty thrifted lampshade before upcycling

Yech. You can’t tell from this photo how truly disgusting and nasty it was. It reminded me of this scene from Black Books:

Dirty from Black Books - the Cleaner

Now it looks like this, (it’s destined for my bed side table but I need to paint the table first).

Machine and hand sewn lampshade with lining

I bought this thrifted green lamp at one of the many local op shops quite a while ago and it had a tall olive green cylindrical lampshade on it. The shade was a lovely shape, but it didn’t have any supports holding the top and bottom rings together and I didn’t know how to recover it. So I bought the one shown above.

I realised I still had no idea how to cover a lampshade so I googled a lot until I found this tutorial from “The Stitch Sharer” blog.

Then I tested a whole load of colour options with my Singer 401. The orange tape is seam tape, while the others are bias binding. I keep my samples in a notebook for future reference.

Colour Tests for my Lampshade

As you can see, I chose to use the pale mint bias binding as I thought it went best with my other nick-nacks. The thread is Wonderfil Silco 40 tex (which I believe is 35wt?) cotton in colour SCM-08. It has a really lovely satin finish that gives you a bit of shine but not as much as rayon would.

It’s far from perfect but I’m happy enough with it and I did learn a lot should I ever want to make another one.

Things I learnt while recovering a manky old lampshade:

  1. When purchasing remnants from Spotlight, check for tea stains :-/
  2. There is a reason this particular shade was covered in fabric cut on the bias. The seams simply would not lay straight on the upright spokes. They all shifted to one side no matter what I did to control them. Bias cut fabric means you can cut the whole thing in one piece and it will fit even if you have to stretch it a bit. And you can hide the one wonky seam where you won’t see it. Unless you put it in front of a mirror.
  3. Allowing 2.5cm/1″ for the hemmed edges was nowhere near enough. I could have done with at least another 1cm/half inch.
  4. Check that the opening in the shade that goes over the bulb holder is the right size. Thank goodness for that sticky velcro stuff used for hanging pictures.

Now I start TAFE on Tuesday and I need a little bag to keep my tea mug safe in my backpack. I’d better get stitching!


Posted in Sewing