A Lamp Slipcover

…or what I was doing when I should have been dusting

Today I NEEDED some sewing therapy, but the last thing I wanted was ANOTHER unfinished project. So I did something super simple…and easy to finish in one block of time. (Even IF I should have been using that time to clean!)

I have a couple of lamps that I really like…except for the UGLY lampshades that came with them. They are cheapies that bought at Wal-Mart or Target many years ago. I didn’t like the lampshades even then and intended to buy new ones…but never have.
Here is the before of the one on my hubby’s bedside table….(please don’t look TOO carefully or you will see the aforementioned dust.)
Lamp before
And here it is after its makeover….After

I made it from a piece of canvas dropcloth that I had left from another project.  And here is how I did it:

1)  Measure your lampshade’s circumference at the largest part and add 7” (you can add 1 or 2 more inches if you would like a fuller shade). Now measure top to bottom and add 4”.
2) Cut a rectangle from your fabric using your final numbers. In my case, my lampshade had a circumference of 38” and a top to bottom measurement of 9”. Therefore, my cutting measurements were 45” x 13”.
3) Iron your rectangle.
Now time to head to the sewing machine.
4) Since I was not hemming the bottom of my cover, I first sewed a straight stitch about 1/4 from the bottom edge. That will keep it from fraying TOO much.
Lamp slipcover 001
5) Fold your rectangle in half, right sides and short ends together. Sew a seam down the short ends.
6) Back to the iron to press open that seam.
Lamp slipcover 004

7) Now turn down a 2-inch hem along the top (and if you are hemming the bottom, you will turn up a 1/4 inch hem also) and pin.
Lamp slipcover 005Lamp slipcover 008

8) Press your hem lines.

Lamp slipcover 009
Back to the sewing machine…
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9) Prep your machine for free-arm sewing.
10) Hem top (and bottom) along the edge.
Lamp slipcover 012
11) Sew about 1/2” from the top hem to make a casing for your elastic.
12) Take your seam ripper and CAREFULLY open the seam between the casing stitches.
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13) Attach one end of 1/4” elastic to a safety pin.
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14) Insert the safety pin into the casing opening and feed it through the casing. This could take a few minutes…I’ll wait for you. Winking smile
15) Okay…that safety pin has finally popped out the opening on the other side.
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Now it is time for a fitting….
16) Making sure that your elastic doesn’t slip back into the casing…..place your slipcover over your lampshade and pull your elastic to adjust it to fit.
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17) Since this isn’t clothing, I tied a tight knot in the elastic to join it. Then I took it back to the sewing machine to add a couple of reinforcing stitches.
Lamp slipcover 027
18) Snip off the excess elastic and push the ends into the casing opening.
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19) Time to grab a hand-sewing needle and a little thread. Your just going to put in a couple of simple stitches to close the casing opening. You can do a really pretty, invisible slipstitch if you would like. I wasn’t that worried about the stitches being seen, since it is on the wrong side of the cover.
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20) Now trim off all those strings and you are ready to slip your new cover over the lampshade! Adjust the gathers evenly and voila!

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Lamp slipcover 037

Guess I will go take care of that dust problem now!

Have a wonderful, creative day!

I'm taking this lamp's slipcover over to the party at:

freckled laundry


  1. Great Job! Kind of reminds me of when ruffled everything was in style (I am telling my age, huh) and we made ruffled lamp shades, pretty much the way you just did, just with ruffles at the bottom. I love the bottom of the lamps too.

  2. Love your lampshade makeover! Great job. :-)

  3. Beautiful and simple transformation, Sammi! Love it! It really adds a softness to the lamp. :)

    xoxo laurie

  4. I love that, Sammi! Thank you so much for the little tutorial, too. Thank you for sharing with air your Laundry Friday!


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