Finding the right lampshade for your room décor can be impossible at times. Either the color is wrong, it is boring or super expensive. Have you considered making a custom looking lampshade? Why not! Starting with fabric strips, a selection of decorative stitches and unique threads it is possible to turn a boring lampshade into an upscale designer lampshade. Simply follow the directions below and you are on your way!



  • Baby Lock Vesta or similar Sewing Machine
  • Purchased Lamp Shade
  • 3/4” Bias Tape Maker
  • Topstitch needle sz. 90
  • Universal needle sz. 80
  • Seam ripper
  • Thread snips
  • Fabric scissors
  • Water-Soluble Marking Pen or Chalk Marker (Chaco Liner by Clover)
  • “N” or Monogramming Presser Foot – Satin Stitch foot
  • Binder Clips
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Mat
  • 6” x 26” ruler
  • Iron
  • Press Pad or Ironing Board
  • Spray Starch or other fabric stabilizer
  • 40/50wt cotton thread for bobbin
  • 12wt. Decorative thread for needle – For our sample Sew Sassy by Superior Threads. Another 12wt. thread with a little shine is Madeira’s 12wt. Decora thread. For more subtle or finer look consider using a 40wt. rayon embroidery thread.
  • 1-2yds of fabric – linen or linen blend – For our sample we used a linen fabric that was originally designed for drapery. The yardage needed will depend on the lampshade size and fabric width.
  • 1-2yds of Easy Knit Fuse by Pellon USA – or similar type of stabilizer, fusible knit. The yardage needed will depend on the fabric width and yardage needed for the lampshade.
  • ½” organdy ribbon – yardage
  • Hot Glue Gun and glue sticks for fabric or E6000 Fabric Fuse
  • Tear Away Soft Stabilizer by Baby Lock – BLT104 – 12” x 10yd roll or BLT104-15 – 15” x 10yd roll


  1. Audition the thread weight and color with the fabric.

  2. Apply a light layer of spray starch to fabric. Let fabric dry before the next step.

  3. Fuse the fusible knit stabilizer to the wrong side of the fabric piece.

  4. Cut 1 ½” strips from the lampshade fabric. The number of strips needed will depend on the lampshade size and the width of the cut strip. Measure lampshade from the top to the bottom and add 2”. This will be the length of the strip. Measure the circumference to determine how many strips will be needed.

  5. The Tear Away Soft Stabilizer is used to help support fabric and decorative stitches. Cut 2 ½” strips from the stabilizer and only a few at a time. No need to cut more than needed.

  6. Using a water-soluble or chalk marker mark a center line on each of the strips being used for the lampshade.

  7. Change to a size 90 Topstitch needle and thread the needle with the 12wt. decorative thread. Place the cotton thread in the bobbin.

  8. The following stitches 1-05, 2-13 and 2-15, on the Baby Lock Vesta, were the selected stitches for the fabric strips.

  9. For the strips that stitch 1-05 were stitched on, rather than marking the fabric the edge of the presser foot was aligned with the fabric edge and the needle position was moved. The needle position (or width) of 1.00 was used to place the stitch on the left side of the fabric strip and 6.00mm was used to place the stitch on the right side of the fabric strip.

  10. In our sample we used the three stitches listed in step 8 and divided our strips into three equal piles, one for each stitch. If more variety is needed select additional stitches, making sure to test the stitch with the project thread and fabric before stitching on a project strip.

  11. Mark the center on each strip with a water-soluble or chalk marker. Position the fabric and stabilizer strips under the presser foot aligning the center marking on the presser foot with the marking on the fabric. Stitch the entire length of the fabric.

  12. After stitching remove any stabilizer from behind the fabric strip and place right side (decorative stitch) side up. Bring one edge(side) of the strip and over the stitching to expose the stabilizer. Trim the stabilizer close to the stitching. Repeat for the remaining side. Repeat this step for each strip. There will be a strip of stabilizer left in the strip.

  13. Place one end of the strip (with decorative stitch) in the larger end of the ¾” bias tape maker.

  14. Move the strip to the end or tip and using a tweezers pull the tip out. Using pins, secure the fabric strip to an ironing board or pressing pad.

  15. Pull the bias tape maker away from the tip of the iron while pressing the strip flat. Repeat this step for each of the fabric strips. After all the fabric strips have been passed through the bias tape maker press each strip from the right side or top side. If needed apply a light layer of spray starch to the fabric strip, let this set for a few seconds, and then press. This will add a little body to the fabric strips. Measure the height of the lampshade, top rim to the bottom rim and add 2”. Trim each of the strips to this measurement.

  16. Starting at the back of the lampshade, the seam, place the end of one ¾” fabric strip over the top edge of the lampshade, about 1”, and using a binder clip secure the strip to the lampshade. This is a temporary hold and will allow you to adjust the placement of the strips once they have been positioned along the top of the lampshade. Repeat this step along the top edge of the lampshade placing the strips next to one another while aligning the edge of the strips on the interior of the lampshade. Once aligned secure each strip with a binder clip.

  17. Each of the fabric strips will need to be secured along the bottom edge of the lampshade. Starting at the back seam select the first strip and bring it straight down to the bottom edge, folding the strip end to the inside and securing the strip in place with a binder clip. Repeat this step for each of the strips. Depending on the shape of the lampshade being used you may find that the strips can’t be taken straight down but will need to be angled slightly to keep the strip straight creating a space between the strips along the bottom edge.

  18. The lampshade style used for our sample required us to position the strips with a small space between them along the bottom edge. To fill in the open space along the bottom edge we placed ribbon between the strips. This was done after all the strips were in place. A ¼” organdy ribbon was placed between the strips. Position the ribbon under two strips along the top edge and secure with the binder clip. Next position the ribbon between the two strips at the bottom edge and clip in place. Notice that the ribbon fills the gap between the two strips.

  19. After all the fabric strips and ribbon were in position, we did find that several strips needed to be repositioned before the final step. Take a step back or away from the lampshade for a couple of minutes. This allows you to look at positioning with fresh eyes and you will see fabric strips that may need to be positioned.

  20. The final step is to glue the strips in place with a glue gun and glue stick designed for fabric. Starting at the top remove a binder clip from one of the fabric strips. Place a small bead of glue on the lampshade, reposition the fabric strip along and over the top edge. Replace the binder clip. Repeat this across the top edge of the lampshade making sure that the ribbon is also secured to the lampshade with a little glue. Once the top is finished repeat the same steps for the bottom.

  21. When creating our sample, we let the glue settle for about 20 minutes before removing the binder clips. Review the inside edges of the fabric strips along the top and bottom edge. There may be a few strips that may require a little more glue to secure the fabric strip to the lampshade. Place a small amount of glue in those positions and along with a binder clip. You may find that the raw edges along the top and bottom inside edges need to be cleaned up. Trim any stray threads with a scissors or cover the edges with ribbon using the hot glue gun.

  22. Your custom lampshade is complete!

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