Susanne Wellott, owner of Shades From the Midnight Sun in Bronxville, New York, demonstrates her techniques on some vintage frames that Martha discovered in her house in Maine.
The right fabrics can completely transform the look of a lampshade. You should use nontear, heat-resistant fabric that stretches easily to cover your shade. Silk satin and silk crepe are suitable and luxurious. Polyester is another alternative, though it is more likely to tear.
Lining the shade helps to hide the struts and the outline of the bulb. Martha chooses an iridescent silver fabric to line her shade, but you may want to consider a color such as peach or pink, both of which lend the room a soft, flattering glow.
- Lampshade frame (stripped of all fabric)
- Lining fabric
- Shell fabric
- Rayon tape (optional)
- Textile glue
- Thread to match fabrics
- Decorative bias tape or grosgrain ribbon (optional)
Wrap the bare lampshade frame with rayon tape that matches the color of your lining fabric or with narrow strips of the lining fabric itself. Wrap both the top and bottom rings and the connecting struts very tightly, in a spiral fashion, overlapping about half the tape at each turn. When you come to the end of a ring or strut, wrap the tape once around the joint and apply a spot of textile glue to secure the end of the tape. Cut off the excess tape, and make sure the edge lies smoothly.
Drape a square of your lining fabric over half of the frame. The fabric should fall on the bias (be oriented diagonally). Place pins along this half of the top and bottom rings, as well as along the two struts furthest opposite each other, making sure you pull the fabric taut. After the fabric is pinned, stitch it to the top and bottom rings and to the two struts with a double-threaded needle, using regularly spaced stitches that are a bit smaller than 1/2 inch in length. Trim the fabric hanging over the edges as close to your rows of stitching as possible. Repeat with the other half of the frame, sewing your fabric along the other half of each ring and the same two struts.
Examine the lining, and remove any stray threads or pieces of fabric; these will show through when light filters through the shade. Pin the shell fabric over the lining fabric. Stitch and trim in the same manner as you did the lining, along the same seams.
Now you are ready to neaten the edges, as well as hide your stitching, with welting or decorative trim. Besides self-welting from the shell fabric, you can use bias tape or grosgrain ribbon. Either hand-stitch the welting to the shade, or use glue. To glue, measure the two side seams and precut the welting or tape. Spread a thin line of glue on each seam, pressing the tape down lightly over it. Next glue the tape along the top and bottom rings. To achieve the smoothest effect, try not to let any of the tape's edges overlap.