Hello, this is my first tutorial on my blog (woooo hoooo!!) so I hope you like it! This one is about how to upcycle a lampshade from a horrific yellowy plastic thing to a beautiful piece to be proud of!! I have this lampshade now next to one of my favourite paintings at home and it looks amazing. So here it is.
First of all you need an old lampshade (I suggest to use a round shape – coolie or oval, but not empire or bell – if you use a square one, you will need to match the sides of the lampshade with the width of the pieces), a bundle of beautiful fabrics (I have used the Silent Cinema collection by Jenean Morrison, which is absolutely gorgeous), your sewing machine, thread to match the fabrics, double sided glue tape and the usual kit you need for your sewing projects. I think this is an intermediate level project, so I have not gone into too much detail on the basics, if you need any help, please ask any questions!! We also have a course to learn how to make this lampshade, so you can come and join us!! (

Start by measuring the circumference around the top and the bottom of the lampshade. Mine are 73 cm and 142 cm. I am going to use 10 pieces of fabric, so each piece should actually measure 7.2cm at the top and 14.2 cm at the bottom. I have also added 2cm seam allowance for each piece, so my pieces are around 16.2 cm wide. Now measure the height of the lampshade, mine is 28cm.
Mark the width of each piece at the top and the bottom with tailors chalk and cut straight pieces of fabric.
 I decided to make each piece with two different fabrics (like a patchwork), but you can use just one fabric for each piece.
Use your height as the starting point for the cuts, mine was 28cm, so allowing 2cm for the hems, cut the strips in pieces of 10cm, 15cm and 20cm. You will be mixing these to make the longer pieces (15cm + 15cm, 10cm + 20cm). You don’t need a hem at the top or the bottom as you will be using a bias to cover the edges of the lampshade.
Once you have cut all the pieces, pin with the right sides together (I have selected the cuts randomly). Sew the cuts together (right with right).
Once you have all of them sewn, open the seams and press until completely flat. Mix them so there are not two of the same pattern next to each other.
Now we are going to put the pieces together. Put two pieces, right with right, and mark the top and the bottom with the measurements you obtained above. If your lampshade is oval, the measurements should be the same at the top and the bottom, so quite straight forward and you should only need to leave the 1cm seam allowance that you added on each piece. If your lampshade is coolie, you will need to make a narrower top, see the image below.Pin and sew both fabrics as shown (make sure you keep the seams of the patchwork cuts open):  

Open both pieces and repeat the same process with another piece, right with right, mark the same measurements on the added piece. Pin and sew together, open and repeat. It should look like this:
Once you have all the pieces together, open all the seams flat and press. Make a quick test on your lampshade to make sure it fits! Measure the top and the bottom, pin together (or mark) both ends of the fabric so you can sew them together. You can do this by testing on the wrong side.  Once you have both ends sewn together and you are absolutely sure that it fits properly, cut the remaining fabric of the seams so they are only 1cm wide.
Now we need to add the bias tape, one for the top and one for the bottom. You can use a readymade bias tape or you can make one yourself. I made one using one of the fabrics.
Cut several pieces of fabric following the bias of the fabric (4cm wide), and sew them together to make the bias tape (mine were 72cm and 142cm, plus seam allowances).
Pin the bias tape along the top and the bottom of the lampshade (right and right and then open flat). Make sure the seams on your pieces of fabric are left open! Sew the bias to the lampshade (top and bottom), open both fabrics and press.
To secure the top and the bottom to the lampshade I have used a double side glue tape, but you can use any other glue (Before applying the glue to your fabric, test it on a small piece of fabric. Be sure the glue does not soak through the fabric and discolor it or leave spots.) If you are using double side glue tape, attach the sticky bit first on the lampshade. Make sure the fabric is properly centred and pulled by using pegs – turn the fabric inside the lampshade edge and use some pegs to fix it. Once you are happy with it, start from the top, remove the protector of the double side glue tape and start gluing bit by bit. Put the pegs back for about 30 minutes so it fixes properly.Repeat the same process for the bottom of the lampshade. You have made a gorgeous fabric lampshade!! 
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  • Maggie smyth

    Reply Reply 25th June 2014

    I really like this post. I am going to have to find lamp shade just to try this out =)

  • Inma Goodhew

    Reply Reply 25th June 2014

    thanks Maggie! it is super easy .. just need some math skills to measure your pieces 🙂 Please send us the photos when you finish… I would love to see it!

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