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 🙂
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!