Making a Patchwork Lampshade

My patchwork lamp shade

I have recently started my own Etsy shop to sell my handmade lamp shades – SewMakeDo.  I am currently experimenting with different types of fabric designs to broaden my collection and add some unique twists. My most recent idea is to combine my love of sewing with lampshade making through the creation of a patchwork lamp shade.

My inspiration for the patchwork idea is a beautiful collection of fabric I recently purchased from Raystitch - Savannah by Sara Morgan for Moda.  The fabric bundle contains twelve different intricate designs in pink, purple and green soft pastel tones.  My idea was to use strips of the fabric to create a vertical block patchwork which wraps round the lamp shade.  I thought I would share the steps that I followed as inspiration for similar projects.  If you feel don’t ready to make your own lamp shade just yet – the ones I have created are available from my Etsy Shop.


26 – 10″ by 1.5″ by strips of your choice of fabric – I would recommend choosing patterns with a light background and a small print as these will look best when your lamp is switched on.

20cm Drum Lamp shade Kit – to make the lamp shade itself, if you are experimenting for the first time I would recommend purchasing one of these kits which includes all the materials and instructions for assembling the lampshade itself.



Step 1 – Cutting your fabric

My 12 different fabric strips

Always begin by ironing  your fabric to eliminate creases – this will make it much easier to cut neatly!

Then, ideally using a Rotary cutter, cut your selected  fabrics into 1.5″ wide strips by 10″ strips.  You will need 26 strips to cover your lampshade.

I would recommend laying out your fabric strips at this stage to create your patchwork design.  Once you are happy with your arrangement, collect your pieces together ready to sew.


Step 2 – Sewing the Patchwork Covering

This is the most time consuming stage of the process, but worth the effort to ensure a unique lampshade design.

Start by pinning your first two fabric strips together with the rightsides facing.  Sew the strips together with 1/4 seam allowance, making sure that you backstitch at either end. I used my quarter inch presser foot to ensure a neat and even edge – I would really recommend purchasing one of these presser foots if you are likely to be doing more patchwork in the future.  Repeat this process to create 13 fabric pairs.

Sewing the strips together

Once you have all of your pairs, you will need to press open the seam allowances.   Then continue assembling your patchwork covering by pinning and sewing together the pairs into larger blocks i.e blocks of four, then eight etc.  Make sure that you press the seam allowances as you join each block to ensure a neat finish.  I would also recommend that your completed patchwork, starts and finishes on the same fabric as this is where you lampshade will overlap and join together.

Pressing the seam allowances

Once all of the strips have been joined together, you should have a neatly pressed patchwork block which is 26″ in length.  I would recommend checking the length of the block at this stage to allow the for the addition of any extra strips as you will need a least 26″ to create your lampshade.


Step 3 – Assembling the Lampshade

Your lampshade kit contains the basic instructions for assembling you lampshade which can also be view here.

I also have a couple of extra tips which you may find helpful:

  • When positioning your fabric (step 3), check that you are happy with how the fabric will join once the lampshade has been rolled (allow for approx 1cm overlap in your assessment).
  • When cutting your fabric (step 8 ) allow for an extra 1cm of fabric beyond the lampshade backing to allow you to fold back the fabric at the end to allow for a neater finish – you will need to secure this folded back section with a strip of the double-sided tape.

Folded over edge

  • Be careful on step 7 to firmly press down the lampshade backing, particularly on each of the seam allowances to ensure a firm hold!
  • On step 9, you may need to fold the backing back and forth a couple of times before the plastic begins to snap – don’t be afraid to be quite firm.
  • Start rolling your lampshade from the opposite edge to where we have created the fabric overlap.  You should place your double-sided tape (as shown in step 12) on to of the folded over fabric.

Rolling the lamp shade

  • When you start to roll the edges (step 16), it works best if you place your hoops about 10cm from the edge and then roll in reverse to help secure your rings in place.
  • Roll you lampshade slowly, checking the edges on either side as you go to ensure that you lampshade ring is as close to the edge as possible.
  • If you find the lampshade edge rolling tool a little flimsy, an old credit or store card is a good alternative.

Rolling the edges

  • When you reach a lampshade spoke when rolling the edges, cut a short slit in the fabric to allow you to tuck the fabric underneath.

Cutting the edge at the spoke


Step 4 – Your Completed Lampshade

You should now have your completed unique patchwork lampshade…

My completed patchwork lamp shade

Light on!



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