Covering Lampshades With Fabric
Here’s an opportunity to make all those little extras that give your home a real designer look by covering lampshades with fabric. You may even be looking for a way to use up all your leftover fabrics!
How to Cover Lampshades With Fabric
Lampshades are practical items that every home should have. If the fabric used to cover them matches the fabric of your curtains, they will make it look as though you have spent a fortune coordinating the interior of your home.
Do It Yourself: Adding an Appliquéd Design
An appliqué motif can make all the difference in your covering lampshades with a fabric project. The way in which this motif is applied will depend on its size, shape, and the fabrics being used.
The easiest way to appliqué a motif is to stitch it on by machine after first applying bonding web. This bonding web is basically a web of adhesives that can be applied with iron-like interfacing. The web will have paper backing onto which you can draw the outline of the design. This can be ironed in place to the wrong side of the appliqué motif fabric. The shape is then cut out, the paper removed, and this motif is then ironed in place in its final position.
Start by choosing your appliqué motif. It can be something traced from a book or one you design yourself. Once you are happy with the design, trace it onto the paper side of the bonding web. Remember to reverse the design as you are working on what will eventually be the wrong side of the fabric. Cut out the shape roughly from the bonding web, allowing a small margin around the edges, and apply it to the wrong side of the fabric chosen for the motif. Now cut out the actual motif shape. If you choose to appliqué a motif taken from a printed fabric, there is no need to draw the outline onto the backing paper. Simply apply a piece of the bonding web directly behind the motif and cut it out following the fabric design.
Remove the paper backing from the bonding web, place the fabric motif onto the right side of the main fabric in the position you want it, with the right side of both fabrics uppermost, and iron it on.
If you do not want to use bonding web, apply lightweight iron-on interfacing to the wrong side of the motif fabric. Cut out the shape and tack (baste) this in place onto the main fabric.
Covering lampshades with fabric to match those already in the room is a good way to link everything together. This will have a special place in your works “Do it yourself“. Be careful though – do not use a light bulb brighter than 40 watts inside any fabric lampshade and do not leave the light bulb switched on for long periods of time as unless the shade is treated, it is highly flammable!
- To attach the appliqué, set up your sewing machine to work a narrow, short zigzag stitch. Working from the right side, stitch around the design so that the stitching covers the raw edge of the motif. Take care to pivot the stitching at any corners and ensure that the raw edge is secured by the stitching along all the curves – any sections left unstitched may start to come free and fray when the item is laundered or in use.
- If the motif is a very simple shape, it can be attached with a line of straight stitching. Carefully cut out the motif, leaving a narrow turning around the outer edge. Then fold and tack (baste) this turning in place to the wrong side of the motif. Position the motif onto the fabric to which it is to be appliquéd and pin it in place. Then stitch it with a line of straight stitching worked just next to the outer pressed edge.
Making a Fabric Lampshade
- Cover your lampshade frame with cotton tape or bias binding. Although you can use plain cotton tape, you will find it much easier to get a smooth effect using bias binding. You can either buy your frame or take the cover off the one you already have. Wind the tape tightly around all the metal struts of the frame so that no metal is left showing on the parts where the fabric will be attached, and secure the ends with a few stitches.
- Lay a piece of fabric against the frame, with its wrong side towards the frame and with the straight grain of the fabric running diagonally across the front of the lampshade. Working slowly and carefully, stretch the fabric to fit the frame, pinning it in place to the tape covering the struts until the frame is covered. If the frame is quite large, use a second piece of fabric for the back, positioning the seams where these two pieces will join along with a metal strut.
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