Saturday, 25 July 2015

Lampshade tutorial #1: Jenny Wren (Part Two)

If my last post inspired your crafty soul to have a go at making your own  'Jenny Wren' shade... hooray! Your frame will now be beautifully bound and ready for covering with treasured fabric scraps. As promised, this post explains how to do just that. My Jenny Wren combines sugar sweet vintage sheeting with an odd-ball piece of embroidered table linen. Choose whatever makes you happy. As long as your fabrics are of a similar weight, all will be fine.
'Part Two' is pretty straightforward, but I would be fibbing if I said  little sewing know-how wouldn't be useful. Just take it steady and be as accurate as you can. Here goes:

How to make your Jenny Wren lampshade: Part Two


5. To make a template for your fabric panels pin a scrap of sheeting, on the  bias, to the wrapped shade. It's tempting to start in one place and work around... but no. Instead, place a pin top and bottom, side and side. Then work from the middle of each side to the corners, gently stretching as you go. This method will enable you to achieve an evenly-stretched piece of fabric sheeting. To check that yours is sitting happily straight and perfect, look closely at the weave of the fabric - the lines should be running diagonally and be straight and not wavy.

A little tip about pinning Insert pins so that they are pointing in towards the centre of the panel, braced like tent pegs or tug-o-war people. This will allow them to sit firm and not scratch you quite so often.

6. Mark around the outline of the panel with a pencil. Unpin and then cut out the shape following the pencil line. Your shape should resemble the shade frame panel and be symmetrical when folded in half. If it is very wonky have another go, concentrating on keeping the stretch and tension neat and even.

A little note: Most shade frames have six or eight panels all the same shape, so just one template will do. Mine was an oval empire so the four side panels were different to the two centre panels. This meant I had to make two template: one for the centres, and another for the sides.

7. Use your template to cut out all your panels. You will need to leave about an inch seam allowance up the sides and two inches top and bottom for finger-pulling room. To be accurate, use a water-soluble fabric pen to mark the two side seams. A dotted line will do. Mark the two top corners clearly with tailor tacks. Arrange your fabric panels in a pleasing order and pin together, making sure the tailor tacks all meet up. 

Machine sew using a small stitch and easing stretch into the seam as you go. Sew from edge to edge, not just along the dotted lines. Once done, sew another line 2mm to the outside of the first seam, again easing stretch in. Sew all the seams so that you will finish with something that resembles a skirt. Dab out the marker pen, leave the tailor tacks in and press. The picture above shows the panels laid flat before the last seam is sewn.

8. Now you can stretch your fabric cover onto, or into, the frame. Start by pinning the top of each seam at the tailor tack to the top of each vertical on the inside of the ring. Pin with the pins facing inwards and down. Then pin the bottom of each seam, pulled to give a little tension, to the bottom of each vertical strut. Fill the gaps along the rings with pins working an even stretch across the shape. Now spend time adjusting the pinning, aiming for an even spread of tension until the cover is smooth and wrinkle free. You are finished when the fabric is taut with no puckers or wrinkles.

Another little tip about pinning As you adjust, only take out one pin at a time. It is usually only necessary to pull the bottom only to create enough tension. The tailor tacks should stay in position around the top edge. The seams should line up with the vertical struts. 

9. Navigating the shade carrier. To fit the cover all the way around you will need to navigate around the gimbals, or shade carrier. Essentially you need to cut down form the top edge of the fabric to the point where the fabric meets the gimbal at the top ring. Do this once you feel confident that you have pinned and stretched the cover to a reasonable fit. Mark the place where you are cutting down to, remove one or two pins to either side and then use sharp scissors to make the cut. Once cut and re-pinned you will be able to continue adjusting your pinning to create a perfect wrinkle-free cover.

10. Use a sharp needle and strong sewing thread (I use upholstery weight thread) to sew the cover to the inside of the wrapped top and bottom rings. Use small stitches only taking out one pin at a time. To avoid getting pricked too often, sit with an old cushion on your knee or stand up to your workbench.

Once sewn all the way round, trim the top and bottom edges to 0.5cm from the stitching, fold back over the stitches and use a very fine line of UHU to stick down. Remember that when light shines through the fabric, any overlap will show, so make sure your raw edge is no deeper than the top or botton rings. If you don't wish to line your shade you can cover this raw edge with braid, ribbon or bias binding.

11. To line your shade used exactly the same technique. I used a lightweight cotton jersey fabric. I created another template so I had just two panel and two seams. Once pinned and stretched, I trimmed the edges to just 0.5mm, tucked them in and stitched them in place using a small curved needle.

12. Now you can embellish your fabulous inside out shade with a feathered bird, papery butterfly or fabric blossom... indeed any cheery item of handmade happiness to gladden your heart. 

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