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How I recovered a old lampshade with gathered fabric and fringing!

I got given a set of lampshades about 15 years ago that I loved but are now a bit worn and dated. I did clean them and revamp them but as my décor changes (depending on what available at the op shops) I was finding that they don't quite fit with my current decorating direction! (that would be shabby opshop chic!) and when I spotted a piece of fabric that I fell in love with on sale, I just had to recover the lamps and then find accessories to match!

I'm not so much of a sewer as a constructor and I tend to feel my way through a project with out too much in the way of exact measuring or cutting to a pattern!

Here's what I did...

The original lamp where you can see revamp number one with leaf skeletons glued to the inside of the lamp. Its plain when its off but have these lovely leaves when its on.

First cut a length of fabric that will fit all the way around your shade a couple of inches too long and with a hem of a centimetre or so top and bottom. So a long rectangle is what I needed.. Hem the ends neatly.

Hem the bottom of the fabric with a big loose stitch and long ends  (you will be gathering it slightly later) and then using paper clips attach it to the shade level with the bottom. You could use normal clothesline pegs if you don't have large paper clips handy.

You wont need much overlap at the bottom. Most of the gathering will be at the top. If you can use the selvage edge, you wont need to hem it.

Now fold the top of the fabric into the shade to hold it out of the way.

Attach the base of the new cover to the shade all the way around the bottom with paper clips firmly.


Now pin your fabric so that the top is level with the lamp shade all the way around. This will give you the right size covering with out having to measure anything!

Now take it all off  and cur the excess fabric off if you need to and again, run a line of stitching close to the top with a long loose stich so that you can gather to the top in. To gather the fabric, gently pull the bottom thread and  push the excess material along it until you have reached the desired length. Breaking the thread is a major pain as you will have to pull it apart and start again. This link is quite a good tutorial if you have never gathered fabric before. Paper clip the whole thing loosely where you want it before starting to glue it on to make sure it fits and you are happy!.

I glued a little at a time starting at the bottom and paper clipped it tightly as I went along. I just used standard white crafting/PVA glue and its held the fabric to the shade really well.

Paper clip the bottom as you glue, taking care to spread the gathering around as you go.

Then do the same with the top glue , gather, paperclip, keeping the gathering even as you go.

When you get to the edges of the fabric, choose the neatest (hemmed) end to go on the top and try and use a gather or fold to hide it in.

Pop lots of paperclips (these are bigger than standard ones, you could use pegs instead) around the top and bottom to hold it all together while it dries. Once its all dried and holds on well the clips can come off and you can put the fringe on.

I found the perfect piece of green fringe at the markets for a dollar one Sunday morning and came home and put the fringe on that night!

Starting at the join in the fabric (that will be the back of your lamp) glue the shade for a couple of centimetres with the same white/PVA craft glue and peg or paperclip the fringe on. I didn't cut my fringing. I don't trust my measuring. Just leave it the whole length and cut it when you get back to the beginning.

Work your way around the base gluing and pegging...

Until you get back to the beginning. Cut the fringe so it joins perfectly at the base and glue in place.

Put on extra pegs if you think it needs it and wait for the glue to dry.

And voilà! A new lamp for the bedroom!

I think they are kinda fun and fit nicely with my mix and match shabby op shop chic décor!
I think I need to find a piece of matching piping for the tops. The gathering isn't so attractive from close up. I have a scrap piece of the fringe sitting in my coin purse so next time I go into a fabric shop I can match the fringing to a piece of piping and know I got it right.
It was very quick and easy to do once I had all the bits. I did "measure" the lamps while I was looking for fabric so I knew how much I would need when I found it. I know the lamp shades were a few inches wider than my hand span and at least 5 hand spands around!! As long as I got slightly too much fabric I was going to be ok! Oh and I need twice that to get the two lamps covered!!!
I chose not to take the shades off as these are more for mood lighting than for reading or detail work. It does reduce the amount of light getting out of the lamp but it provides a solid base for the fabric to rest on without me having to worry about it touching the light bulb and setting itself on fire!
I think if you took the old shade off you would have to sew the new cover onto the wire. I'm not sure I have the patience for that! 

Score card:
Green-ness: 5/5 for continuing to use an old item 
Frugal-ness:  5/5 for finding a piece of material and fringing at the markets!
Time cost:  Probably an hour to cover the two lamps and 20 minutes to put on the fringing
Skill level: cutting, gluing and pasting - oh and a bit of fabric gathering!
Fun-ness: it was great fun to plug them in and light them up with their new covers!


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