Slipcovered Lampshade

2 Materials
1 Hour

Wouldn't you love to be able to change the fabric on your lampshades at a whim? I'll show you how easy it is to sew a slipcover for any lampshade. Watch the tutorial video below to see how easy it is to do and then read on for more how-to details!

Earlier this year I got some fabric determined to upcycle this thrifted lamp base.

I was unable to find pressure sensitive styrene here in Canada to make my own shade so I used a shade I found on clearance at a big box store instead. My original plan was to spray glue the fabric to the shade to transform it.

That's when the pandemic hit and Canada went into lockdown. I didn't have any spray glue so thought I would wait it out until I could get my hands on some. Little did I know that lockdown would stretch out for so long.

Then inspiration hit again. I love to change up our pillow covers every season, so why not do the same with my lampshades! Here's the fabric I'm using:

Before You Start

If the lampshade has trim, remove it so there are no obstructions.

A Note About the Fabric

I had my heart set on using the fabric shown below for the lampshade. I love birds (hence my blog name Birdz of a Feather), but when the fabric arrived, the scale did not work for a lampshade (the birds would have been too few or cut off).

I would recommend keeping the pattern very simple or going with a smaller scale pattern, like the fabric I'm using.

If the lampshade will be seen from the back, you might want to rethink using a patterned fabric at all. As you can see later, the pattern will never meet if the lampshade tapers and there is the slightest curve on the final pattern. In that case, if a mismatched pattern bothers you, use a solid fabric.

Creating the Pattern

Sometimes a drum shade looks perfectly even, but this one looked like it might have a slight taper. Just to be sure the fit would be perfect, I traced it out onto paper. I added 1" seam allowance onto the sides and 1/2" on the top and bottom.

I then cut the pattern and folded it along the centre so it would be symetrical.

I also folded the fabric, then pinned the pattern to the fabric along the fold. Cut it out.

Dry Fit

Along the top and bottom iron the 1/2″ seam allowances.

Pin wrongs side together at the 1" seam allowance and do a test fit before moving on. Note that if your drum shade does taper, mark the bottom so you know which way it goes onto the shade. 

Construct Flat Felled Seam

If you're happy with the fit, stitch the side seam (1" seam allowance) with wrong sides together so you can sew a flat felled seam on the outside of the fabric. A flat felled seam is the kind you see on the outside leg of jeans.

Cut one side of the seam allowance back to 3/8″ then fold the other side in 1/2″ as you see below and iron it.

Fold the wider edge over the cut edge and topstitch along the fold. The seam should look like the picture below.

Serge Edges

Because this is a slipcover and will get wear and tear, I serged the top and bottom before folding and topstitching the outside. I topstitched just shy of 1/2" so the bias tape trim we'll be adding later would cover the stitching.

Put the slipcover onto the shade so you can attached the trim. Line the flat felled seam up with the seam on the shade.

Add Trim

If your lampshade already had trim that's still in good shape, you can reuse it. Otherwise, you can use any pre-made trim, like grosgrain, to finish the edges or make your own bias trim using fusible bias tape makers. These ones from Clover come in 1/2" and 1/4" sizes, making them perfect if you want to add some contrast.

Once the trim is made, you can glue it around the edges of the fabric with Hi-tak glue (covering up the topstitching).

My trick is to use mini binder clips to help hold the trim in place while you're attaching.

The binder clips also hold it in place while the glue dries. If you prefer not to glue the trim (or you don't have glue), you could even hand stitch the trim in place.

This slipcover turned out better than I ever expected. Not only didn't I need harsh chemicals in the form of spray glue, but the flexibility that a slipcover provides makes it a win-win in my books!!

I can easily take this slipcover off and swap it out with a different slipcover. Now that I've done this one for Spring, I'm tempted to switch up the fabric every season! How fun is that?

Give it a Try

If you have a bland lampshade that could use some sprucing up, I hope you'll give this slipcover project a try!

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3 of 16 comments
  • Rose New York
    on Jul 10, 2020

    Glad you do, its pretty. I keep fabric and then when i think of something to do with it years later it is never enough yardage!

    • Birdz of a Feather
      on Jul 14, 2020

      I find that too! The best time to use it is when you buy it so you can get more if you run out :). In reality that's easier said than done!

  • Dpbeee2
    on Jul 13, 2020

    Thank you.

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