Category Archives: Sewing

Studio Sunday

I’m so far behind with my blogging that the following was taken last Sunday:

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThree Use it Up/Use it Again projects on the cutting table. They’re all finished now but it’s too dark to get good photos. Tutorial and details to follow.

The last two weekends have been busy, busy, busy! Sewing and a lot of traveling around. Saturday found Sabu and I in Corvallis all morning shopping (banjo parts! Thrift stores!) and washing everything that could be washed. Spring Cleaning is nearly done!

Yesterday we visited the dog park (Eight dogs! Sabu was out of her mind with joy) and a visit to Alpaca Alley. Pics to follow.

Now I need to go peel the cat off the wall and try to get something to eat.

Covering a wire lampshade

From September 2009

This old floor lamp shade has seen better days –

I took many pictures of it Before because I know that projects like this tend to be started and put aside here at Studio T, where the crafter has serious ADD:

You can see that the metal frame is rusting right through the fabric.

Materials needed:

Some things will vary according to the size of your shade. The shade pictured here is 12” at the widest point and 10” tall and materials are based on that size.

Two packages of seam binding or seam tape
½ yard silk fabric
½ yard heavy iron-on interfacing in white
½ yard lining fabric (optional)
Thread to match fabric
One curved needle – optional, but it will make the job much easier.
Straight pins

I had no idea initially what sort of new shade I wanted to make, so I took several close-ups of the top trim and how it was connected.

I took more pictures as each layer came off so I could study the construction. In the end it didn’t make much difference, but I still have them for future reference.

This lamp shade is old and it shows in the many layers of fabric used in its construction – modern shades are all paper and glue with little hand finishing.

Here’s the naked frame before clean-up. I used a very fine steel wool to take off the rust. I considered painting it with Rustoleum or something similar but decided to leave it in its “vintage” state.

The next step is to cover the upper and lower supports in seam tape. I couldn’t find any 100% cotton tape so I settled for poly. Wind the tape around and around, overlapping the layers until the whole circle is covered. No need to sew the ends, just loosen the last couple of folds and slip the end under, tightening it up to keep everything secure. The end is poking out of the folds above – just cut it off when all is secure. This new covering will serve as a base for sewing on the new cover.

Using the old cover for a pattern, cut out the required number of pieces, one for each facet of the shade in both outer fabric and interfacing, being careful to keep the grain of the fabric running the same way for all pieces:

I used a silk fabric that changes color in different lighting conditions. The picture above shows the interfacing already ironed on to the fabric and the edges finished on the serger. The silk fabric raveled very easily and I felt that the additional step was needed.

I wanted to keep the original look of the shade, so each panel was joined with a narrow strip of silk lined with interfacing:

Finish those seams off with the serger and iron the whole thing, pressing the panels towards the narrow strips so everything lays nice and flat. Top stitching was not necessary in this case, but you might find it enhances your shade.

Try the shade on for fit:

Now is the time to make any adjustments by taking in the strips or panels. This old shade was no longer symmetrical, so some bending of the wire was needed to even things out. Funny how I hadn’t noticed that when looking at the old shade.

Sew a strip 1.5” inches wide to the top and bottom of the shade, topstitching if needed. No need to add interfacing to these pieces – they’ll be folded over as above and neatly tacked to the seam binding top and bottom. Use as many pins as you need to keep everything straight and tack 3” or so at a time. A curved needle will really help with this step.

You can really see in this picture that the panels have the grain of the fabric running one way and the strips and top and bottom binding have the grain running the other way. I like the contrast, and since I used interfacing there’s no worry about the panels getting stretched out of shape with handling.

Here’s the “new” shade in action:

I wanted the light to be directed down which is why I chose to use a thick interfacing. You may want more light to shine through your shade, so use a thinner interfacing or none at all. Or you may choose to line your shade, in which case just make an inner layer as you made the outer and sew them together at top and bottom.

Here’s another view: