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My first Handmade Lampshade

My first bespoke handmade knife pleated lampshade in silk dupion Wedgewood with a drop down beaded trim.

DIY lampshades… how easy is it? Really easy actually, and here’s how!

In this post I am going to share my first handmade lampshade making experience, because, if like me, you like nothing better than to disappear into your creative bubble and learn a new skill with likeminded people in a beautiful place with great food I invite you to explore my residential weekend workshop retreats. However before you do, here’s a little background info.

A collection of vintage lampshades waiting for DIY up cycling, gathered, pleated and traditional tailored lampshade making

So this is my first Blog post and what better place to start other than with the background to my first handmade traditional lampshade. My first lampshade, which by the way still has pride of place in my bedroom, features on my website, in my marketing material and at my workshops. I think this lampshade will always be one of my favs as it set me on a creative road I continue to enjoy today.

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Lampshades, sooo many options! Where do you start?

Well I headed straight for the charity shops. York, where I live, has oodles of them and I soon had a boot full of vintage shades. Vintage shades are so much better than new ones. There is an amazing abundance of frame shapes in need of a new makeover, they are as cheap as chips and some of the trims are really worth an up cycle too.

The frame of my first lampshade with the knife pleat distances bound with india cotton tape and pinned ready for the face fabric to be placed.
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What fabric should I choose?

Well, two of my favorite things are vintage blue and white crockery, and vintage Wedgewood. Some of my best pieces were presents from my mother. At the time, I had recently set up JSInteriorsUK and was in the process of selecting fabric suppliers. Totally romanced by James Hare silks and wanting a little luxury I chose their silk dupion in Wedgewood as the fabric for my first shade. It was by coincidence the lovely Katie, James Hare’s local Yorkshire rep who first suggested I should start making lampshades.

Pattern matching the beaded trim face fabric and lining for my first handmade knife pleated lampshade.

Once I had decided on the face fabric I searched through my trim collection and decided on this rather chic Troynorth beaded trim. The lining is a fine cotton similar to a lawn, from my India days when I used to rummage through the fabric street markets on my days off from teaching.

A areal view of my first handmade knife pleated lampshade, lined and ready for the final stitching.
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Who was going to teach me?

I chose a workshop near Bath run by the vibrant Joanne Heptinstall. If you live down that way I can highly recommend her courses. She is fun, patient and very experienced. Joanne has recently published a book devoted to various handmade lampshade projects which is easy to read and full of amazing ideas. She also does upholstery courses!

A areal view of my first handmade knife pleated lampshade, lined and ready for the final stitching.
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Making it happen.

This was a nonresidential course and I live in York, however I have a dear, dear friend from my Berlin days called Vanessa who lives in Bath. So my lampshade workshop weekend also turned into a girlie catch up, perfect! Vanessa also watched darling little Dezzy dog who was a high maintenance puppy at the time and being an interior designer, Vanessa was very interested in my lampshades. We chatted into the night and Googled some amazing bespoke lampshade makers. By the time I left Bath I was totally hooked and over flowing with enthusiasm.

A close up view of the beaded trim blind join at the back of my first handmade knife pleated lampshade.
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What next?

I love my workshop. I love disappearing into my creative bubble and creating beautiful spaces for clients but I miss teaching. ‘Once a teacher always a teacher’, I was told when I left my last International School several years ago. So I have designed a number of soft furnishing workshops with the crafty DIY enthusiast in mind.

My first bespoke handmade knife pleated lampshade in silk dupion Wedgewood with a drop down beaded trim.

Whether you are a beginner or a veteran sewing enthusiast, wanting to beautify your own home or start on your own professional soft furnishings road I invite you to join our weekend workshop retreats. We have some fabulous weekend workshop opportunities in fabulous location with like minded people and great food. Click here to view our upcoming workshop dates.

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2 thoughts on “My first Handmade Lampshade

    1. Fantastic, we have several retreat options available in 2 fantastic location in the North, Rydal Lodge and High Force Hotel. Do get in touch if you’d like more details.

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