ORPHAN QUILT BLOCKS
Repurposing materials to create something else is not only “green” but nourishes my creative soul. So, whenever I make a lampshade, it brings a smile to my face when I can take a vintage textile, long forgotten about, and turn it into a stylish lighting accent in a home.
Whenever I come across orphan quilt blocks at antique shows, it makes me a little sad. As a quilter, I know the loving work that goes into each block. I often think about the woman who made them and what her life must have been like. Why didn’t she ever complete her quilt? Many of the blocks I find are often from the 1930s and are hand sewn. They are truly beautiful, and when you think about the time when they were created, when fabric was so expensive (not that it is all that cheap today), it makes each quilt block that I find even that much more special.
You’ll find a selection of handmade lamp shades created from both vintage textiles and modern fabrics in my Etsy Shop. I am happy to work with your fabric stash for a truly one-of-a-kind lampshade for you. Get in touch Kim@WeatherKim.com
COUPON CODE TIME!
I have been busy, making by hand, one-of-a-kind lamp shades to stock up my inventory for holiday shopping. I thought I would make it easy for you to get an early start in your shopping by offering a 20% off coupon code which is valid all October long. Just use the code SAVE20 in my Etsy shop!
A WORD ABOUT MY LAMPSHADE PRICING
I make two kinds of lampshades, all by hand. The first kind are “hard backed shades”. Here is an example of one of my hard backed shades. These shades tend to be square, rectangular and may or may not have a flared base. They have “styrene” as a main component to them. Styrene is the hard material to which the fabric is adhered and no lining fabric is necessary in a “hard backed shade.” They do take time to create, however, they are not as time consuming as “soft backed shades”.
Soft backed shades are the second kind of shades that I make, and you can see one here. These shades are just that – soft. They do not have styrene in them (the stiff stuff in some shades). These kinds of shades are great in that there is no limit in the kind of wire frame you can use – curvy or straight. Because of this, however, I cannot use the stiff styrene in a curvy shade and have to hand sew not only the fabric onto the wire frame, but the lining too. Bottom line? It is a very TIME CONSUMING process and why my soft backed shades are considerably more expensive than my styrene shades. Soft backed shades take up to 10 – 18 hours longer for me to make. That said, they are truly one-of-a-kind and a work of art.
My favorite part of lamp shade design is sourcing vintage textiles. This summer, I went up to the Brimfield Antiques Fair in Brimfield, MA. I got turned onto Brimfield when I used to forecast the weather for Fox25 News in Boston.
Boy was I sad when I relocated out of Mass! But this summer was an absolute joy heading back to Brimfield. I love the selection of vintage textiles in the rows and rows of booths that line the fields of historic route 20. Here are some of the pics from my Brimfield July 2016 trip – from textiles to furniture – to church pews!
Sometimes it is just SO DIFFICULT to stay focused when I am on a textile sourcing trip! I want to come home with all the furniture! But, somehow, I get it together and blow all my cash on textiles and vintage lighting. Then the real fun begins when I get home – making the shades🙂 Below are some of the different style shades I create, from the more modern “drum shades”, to the vintage feedsack shades. The best kind are when I mix vintage and modern textiles. Please drop me a comment and tell me what kind of styles YOU like best. I would love to hear from you🙂
Several years ago, when I had the fabric designing bug, I created a fun fabric and posted it to Spoonflower. If you have never heard of Spoonflower, it is a cool website where creatives can post their digital design files and turn them into fabric, wallpaper or wrapping paper. This is the website, in fact, that I used to produce the fabric I needed for my bridesmaids dresses for my summer 2009 wedding in Bar Harbor Maine (!)
Subsequently, I have created other fabric. Sadly, after I had it printed and shipped to me in northern Virginia, I never used it (!) There it sat for years. Finally, while down in Florida visiting my folks, I cut into one of my favorite prints called Pink Grapefruit Puffs. If I could imagine a grapefruit turned into flowers, well, this is the design in my head and brought to life. I enjoyed pairing this fabric with a black, white, and gray check fabric to make my sweet Eden an Antalya dress.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, Eden, something overwhelming hit me: I NEEDED TO SEW MY BABY GIRL A WARDROBE FULL OF DRESSES! Little girl dresses🙂 And thus began my obsession. Dress pattern after dress pattern, there I chugged away on my Pfaff. But my favorite pattern to date is the the Tinny Dress Pattern by Straight Grain Patterns. Here is the reason why I love this pattern: TONS OF VERSATILITY!
In Kids fashion, it is super important that I stretch my dollar. I really appreciate that this pattern is like getting 2o patterns in one. An, the creator-in-chief over at Straight Grain, has made sure to really pack a ton of options in this dress pattern. For me, right now, Eden is all about the “twirl factor”. I call her my “Twirl Girl” Look at her spin!
This pattern not only offers a skirt that twirls (Circle Skirt) but there are two other skirt options as well. In fact, there are 8 collar options, 2 bow options, 3 sleeve options, and 2 bodice options! And, can we please just talk about what every sewist wants in a pattern? It is being able to print just the size you need. And that is just the way I like it. With any luck, I’ll have Eden twirling for eight more years to go.
Have you made a Tinny? What’s your favorite combo? Do you have a little girl dress pattern that you are ga-ga over? Tell me about it! Leave me a comment below. Please follow me on Instagram @WeatherKim to see what I make – would love to connect.
About a week and a half ago, my girlfriend @AmyLouWhoSews (on instagram) asked me to tag along with her to the talented Laura Gunn’s house. Laura’s soon-to-be-released fabric collection called “Vignette” for Michael Miller Fabrics, had arrived and she was busily getting projects sewn up with the fresh stash for promotional uses. So, I grabbed some wire lampshade frames and headed over! Before you knew it, Amy and I were knee-deep in pretty and starting our next challenges using Laura’s array of textiles. It is fascinating to know that all her work starts out as paintings. Here are AmyLouWhoSews and I below in Laura’s living room.
Once I got home I had my pretty fabrics (“Bouquet Stripe” and “Scattered Posies”) all ready to go and a vintage shade begging to be clothed in them!
What do you think? I can’t seem to stop making these shades. If you want to follow my process, just follow me on Instagram (I’m @WeatherKim). I like to post pics of what I am up to every step of the way (and often ask for advice!)
WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN HOW TO MAKE THESE LAMPSHADES?
WANT TO SAVE 10% OFF SUPPLIES?
Read on and I’ll tell you how you can WIN A BEGINNER DVD and where to SOURCE THE SUPPLIES.
A little over ten years ago I was trolling the acres of Brimfield, in Massachusetts looking for my usual diamonds in the rough. Think of Brimfield as endless farmland with countless antique estate sale finds, just begging to hop in your car to be taken home. I came across something unusual, though – beautifully hand-sewn lampshades. They weren’t grimy or tattered, but rather over-the-top AH-mazing! I purchased one from the artist selling them and over the following year, commissioned her to make several more for me.
Here’s a look at the shade that got me hooked:
I studied them closely and tried making my own. I got the hang of it, but I had a problem: other than stumbling across vintage-style wire frames at garage sales and other “picks” across the northeast, I didn’t know where to source the wire frames. Luckily for me, I came across Mary Maxwell and her website: Victorian Lampshade Supply.
Mary has been sewing truly beautiful victorian style lampshades for 38 years and has mastered her craft. Not only does she offer the wire frames for purchase on her website, she also carries the other materials needed for the lining, seams, fabric, trim, beads, and even the lamp bases themselves! But here is the BEST PART: she has created DVD’s to help you learn how to make these one-of-a-kind shades yourself!
Here are just **some** of the lampshades Mary has made. The frames are available for purchase on her website:
I am a sewer who likes to make garments for my baby girl and the occasional quilt. But LAMPSHADES? I can’t stop! If you come from a quilting background, making lampshades are perfect for BUSTING into all those FAT QUARTERS you’ve been hoarding:-) If you start small (with a boudoir style lamp shade), they really don’t require that much fabric. I **do** recommend always sewing the lining fabric in (as boring as it may get) because if you don’t, you are liable to see the lightbulb outline directly through your outer fabric. The lining truly makes the light more diffuse and stops from having an ugly lightbulb appearing through your darling outer fabric.
Here are some “before” and “after” shots of the shades I made over the last 3 weeks.
The larger shade took me about 2 weeks to sew together (a few hours each night after the kiddos went to bed and 2 weekend days). The smaller shade took me about 2 days (16 hours.) I would like to point out that this process would probably go a little faster if I wasn’t a stickler for sewing on the trim. As you will see in Mary’s DVD’s (if you get one) she uses glue for that part and it looks like it saves a lot of time🙂
So, did I provide enough eye candy for you? Are you ready to get started sewing? I HEAR YOU!! Mary is so cool. She has graciously agreed to let readers of my blog save 10% off their purchase in her store now through March 1st 2015. All you have to do at the checkout is leave “WeatherKimShades” in the comments section of the checkout and she’ll apply it to your purchase (this excludes shipping.) I encourage you to check out this link HERE and HERE and consider purchasing one of Mary’s two beginner lampshade KITS & DVD combos. The kit/dvd combo is awesome because she provides everything you need to make the shade featured in that kit for one low price. Below are the 2 kit/beginner dvd combos available:
Additionally, she has a ton of wire frames, lining fabric, trim, seem binding and other materials to help you on your way. All is located in her online shop HERE.
To top it off, Mary has graciously agreed to give one lucky winner a FREE COPY of her beginner DVD🙂 !! Not to worry, though, if you go ahead and purchase the dvd and end up winning it. She said she’ll give the winner copies of her other 2 DVDs featuring advanced techniques should you have already purchased the beginner one🙂
HOW TO WIN A COPY of “HOW TO MAKE VICTORIAN STYLE LAMPSHADES” dvd:
- Follow @weatherkim on Instagram (that’s me!)
- You must follow me on Instagram to win AND you must tag 2 friends on Instagram in the comments section of the picture of my Instagram feed featuring this give away.
That picture looks like this:
- Another way you can win is by following @WeatherKim on Instagram AND re-gramming my picture featuring the give-away with the hashtag #WeatherKimShadesGiveaway on your feed. You decide.
I’ll announce the winner on my Instagram feed sometime Monday evening February 9th. Until then, let your fingers do the walking right on over to Mary’s website and bust out that fabric stash – we’ve got some lampshades to make!
Every summer I retreat to the far northeast reaches of our country with my family to escape the traffic and heat of our Capital Beltway and breath in the fresh pine tree air of Maine. This year, my quest for lobster could only be trumped by my quest for fabric. In part I of this series, I told you all about two adorable modern fabric shops (not too far from each other) along Maine’s “midcoast” region. Today, I’ll tell you about two other places to procure yummy, sewable fiber that are also kind of close to each other: Under the Dogwood Tree in Southwest Harbor and Marden’s in Ellsworth, Maine.
UNDER THE DOGWOOD TREE
SOUTHWEST HARBOR MAINE
This shop has all kinds of on-trend items from stationary, apparel, jewelry, dry goods, rugs, artwork, children’s books to a cozy upstairs corner of modern fabric.
While they don’t have a large selection, what they do have is modern, fresh and current. I love the over-sized wooden spool they use to house some of the bolts.
Mixed throughout the shop (and it is no different in the fabric section) are old and new items. Aren’t these vintage buttons darling?
Off to the side corner near the stairway is a small section of sale fabric ranging from $4-$6 a yard.
I love the idea of this cutting table. I also appreciate the honor system the owner puts into our hands – allowing us to cut what we need, writing it down on a slip of paper to bring to the checkout downstairs. Unfortunately, the planks on the table are not even so your trip with the rotary cutter skips over fabric during the dips. It gets an A for form but a D for function.
I noticed a nice selection of Heidi Boyd patterns (who is a local Maine artist) for felted toys. They were so cute! I love it when boutiques carry items from local artisans. Yay!
Marden’s is a locally-owned chain of 14 discount supply stores. They exist only in Maine. You will find everything under the sun in this place. I could go on and on about the shoe department alone, but I want to let you in about Maine’s best kept FABRIC secret! Are you sitting down? No? Then go hit the restroom, get yourself a snack, put your phone in airplane mode (unless you’re reading from your phone, of course), hide yourself from your husband-kids-pets-nosy neighbors-whatever distracts you- because I am going to get your fabric seeking radar on HIGH ALERT! Feast your eyes:
Now, if you’re looking in the front row of this picture and are like “no great shakes” then I HEAR you. BUT, you did not prowl through each and every bolt of fabric in this joint (don’t forget the bottom shelves on the floor) as I did. Anna Maria Horner ring a bell? CHECK. Denyse Schmidt Chicopee collection anyone? RIGHT OVER HERE, Tula freakin’ PINK??? Ummmm Hmmmmmmm. “Fine” you say. “Fine, my local fabric shop carries that – what’s all the hoopla about?” you say. I’ll tell you:
$1.50 – $5.49 a yard
is what. And that $5.49 was mostly on select Riley Blake fabric (I don’t understand this, but this particular store had a minor crush on Riley Blake (not that there is anything wrong with that) and had all their fabric priced the highest – unless it was in the super-sale section.) I’ll tell you this – I didn’t pay a dime more than $4.50 a yard for my haul. Now, will there be some, let’s say, less desirable fabric you have to weed through? YES. But is it worth it? YES.
Above is a look at their sale section (yes a store who’s prices are less than $5.50 a yard has a sale section.) If you squint you might be able to make out that pink sign that says $2.99 a yard. Below is an example of some of their $1.50/yard fabric.
I had baby girl with me that day and I was torn over this vintage-looking rainbow fabric, also for $1.50/yard. (I wish I had gotten it.)
Here is some Denyse Schmidt for you. Again, all this was priced between $3.50 & $4.50 a yard:
Now, if you’re thinking “No problem, I’ll just give Marden’s a call and order some.” Good luck with that. They don’t ship fabric. They don’t take orders over the phone. So, you’ll have to take that leaf peeping trip this fall to Maine and hop a flight to BGR or PWM (don’t pick the wrong Portland or you’ll end up in Oregon.) Whatever you do, be prepared to spend hours in that place. Remember, I didn’t even go into the shoe department details. You might be wondering “How do they get this stuff?” Well, the inner journalist in me asked and basically one of the examples an employee game me was that there was a fabric store in some other part of the country that had a fire in their bathroom. Insurance company comes in and takes all the inventory away to replace it. The inventory wasn’t damaged at all. Marden’s steps in to buy it all. CHEAP. Thank you, Marden’s.
IF YOU GO:
- Allow a good 2 hours
- Don’t deprive yourself of a lobster roll while in Maine
- Bring me back some whoopie pies (also sold there)
- Store locations: Biddeford, Sanford, Scarborough, Gray, Lewiston, Waterville, Brewer, Lincoln, Calais, Houlton, Ellsworth, Presque Isle and most recently Rumford and Madawaska (and each one’s stock can vary.)
Oh please please PLEASE share your Marden’s victories with me in the comments below. Oh how I love to hear how a good bargain is procured🙂