I pinned this great little lamp shade on Pinterest a few weeks back from Winder & Main.
I loved it, so decided to try making my own. This is such a versatile project – you really can accomplish the end results many different ways. The shade is made by cutting long strips of fabric and gathering them, then gluing them to the shade. I recommend that you read the original posted instructions to familiarize yourself with the process. My shade was a bit different so I had to tweak them a bit. Here’s how I did mine…
I didn’t have any burlap on hand, but I did have an old lamp shade and a few yards of a beaded, pintucked, blue fabric that I thought would be beautiful in my shop. The lamp out front needed a new coordinating shade, so I was set to go! [I highly recommend a solid or light textured fabric for this project. I would avoid prints or stripes. Or anything beaded as I spent a lot of time removing beads that were in the way… !!!]
1. Prep your shade
I started by removing the flat fabric banding strips that are glued to the shade at the top and bottom edges, and at each seamed section of the shade. I did not want that banding to cause any unnecessary bumps or bulk under the ruffles. It’s just glued on, so with a gentle tug it all pulled right off:
Next I measured the length of my shade to determine how many rows of fabric I’d need:
I wanted my rows to be about 2.5” wide, and the fullness of the ruffle to be about 2-2.5 times the circumference of the shade. ( This is purely subjective. You can do any sizes you like.)
Based on my shade length of 12”, I figured I needed about 10 rows. Here’s how:
12” shade length divided by 2.5” per row = 4.8 rows. Round up to 5. Double that to account for the overlap of each row = 10 rows.
Then I measured the circumference of my shade at it’s widest point to see how long the fabric strips needed to be:
To determine how long to cut each fabric strip, multiply the circumference of your shade by 2 or 2.5. (Heavy weight fabrics need less fullness, light weight fabrics need more, but at least 2 times full is a good starting point.)
Based on the bottom measurement of my shade at 50.5” my cut strips needed to be 101”:
50.5” x 2 times fullness = 101”
Now to determine how wide to cut each strip, you can follow the original instructions and cut them at 2.5” wide (or however wide you want them) and proceed from there. I did not want to leave the raw edges on my shade so I had to do this part a bit differently. So I doubled the finished width of 2.5” and added 1” for a seam allowance for a cut width of 6”
2.5” x 2 + 1” seam allowance = 6”
Here are my strips cut at 6” wide:
My fabric was only 54” wide, so I had to sew 2 strips together to get the right length to make one long strip to go all the way around the shade for the first few rows. I made a few of these double strips for the bottom half of the shade, and just trimmed off the excess as I went up. I ended up needing about 2.5 yards of fabric. A lot more than I thought. But if you decide you like the raw edges you’ll use about half of that since you will be able to skip the next step.
3. Sew Fabric Strips
Then I took each strip, folded it in half lengthwise, right sides together, and sewed it with a 1/2” seam allowance:
You will be left with several long tubes. Don’t worry about the unfinished ends now. Turn the tubes right side out and press with the seam at the bottom edge:
4. Gather the Fabric Strips
After pressing flat, run a very wide gathering stitch down the center of each strip. Tie off the threads on one end of the strip. Grab the bobbin thread on the opposite end and pull it to gather to the fullness you desire, taking care not to break the thread. This is a bit time consuming and I had to wrestle with it a bit as it likes to twist, but have patience, it will turn out just fine! (The sewing, turning, and pressing basically doubles the time it takes to make this shade, just fyi.) You want the longest stitch setting you can use and very strong thread. You can also do the gathering by hand. Again, use a very strong thread. Dental floss works well. Take about 1/4” stitches. You will see the gathering stitches here and there on the finished shade, so if you want to color match your thread you can. I just used the white that was in my machine and I was happy with the results:
5. Glue on the Fabric Strips
Do a test fit on your shade with the first strip to adjust your gathers as needed. Start at the bottom of the shade and work up. Straight pins are great to hold the ruffle in place as you go, just stab them right through the ruffle into the shade. Take your hot glue gun and starting at the back of the shade, run a bead of glue a few inches around the bottom rim and attach the ruffle along the gathered thread line, seam of the ruffle facing down:
Continue all the way around the shade until you reach the beginning. Make sure you have enough left to overlap your starting point. Fold the raw edge under and glue in place:
Overlap the glued end over the starting point, and glue in place:
Voila! One row completed:
Start the next row directly above that, overlapping the first row of ruffles about 1/4 of the way down. This helps prevent any wonky light gaps between the rows. Use the thread line as your guide to keep the subsequent rows straight as you work your way around the shade. Your last row should finish along the rim of the top, with the top half of the ruffle overlapping the top edge of the shade, just as you did at the bottom with the first row. I ended up only needing 9 rows of strips, so I did a pretty good job estimating the fabric I needed.
Have fun, and don’t stress with this project. It is a casual “shabby” look and does not have to be perfect. Experiment with different color fabrics and shade shapes, and don’t forget to post your finished projects here to share!