Victorian Lampshades: Understanding the Process

Victorian hand sewn lampshade

Victorian lampshades are stunningly beautiful intricate fabric shades, usually made from layers of silk, lace, cotton or velvet. The delicate beaded or fabric fringe that hangs from the bottom of the shade gives these lampshades their signature look.

Victorian Style

Victorian style home decor is influenced by the elaborate designs associated with the Victorian era, the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 1837-1901. Victorian style architecture in homes was very ornate, with many embellishments on the interior and exterior of the home. Victorian style lighting included candles, oil lamps, gas lamps and electric lamps. Like most Victorian decor, lamps and light fixtures were elegant and elaborate.

With the invention of the incandescent light bulb in 1879, electric lamps began replacing gas or antique oil lamps in most well-to-do homes. Fanciful fabric shades were made to cover the glare of these light bulbs.

Hand Sewn Victorian Lampshades

Hand sewn fabric lampshades are painstakingly detailed. The process begins with a wire frame, often in the shape of some type of flower, since floral designs were a big influence in Victorian style. The frame is then wrapped in cotton twill tape. The wrapping of the frame is an important step because if it is wrapped to loosely, the quality of the shade will be poor. The twill allows the fabric to be sewn onto the wire frame.

Each panel of the lampshade is covered with fabric. High-quality fabrics such as silk or satin are often used. Special sewing techniques are used on the fabric to create effects such as rosettes or fan pleating. Lace or burn-out velvet are added to the adjoining panels or layered. The finishing touches are added with ribbon trim, lace trim or braided trim. Delicate hand dyed fringe or beautiful beaded fringe complete the look with matching tassels for the pull chains.

These delicate, feminine lampshades are truly works of art. Each one is unique because it is handmade. If you're a crafty type person and think you're up to the challenge of making one of these gorgeous lampshades, you can order DVDs that show you how to do it at Victorian Lamp Shade Supply. You can also order lampshade kits that will provide you with all the supplies you need to make your own Victorian lampshade.

Vintage Lamp Restoration

If trying to make your own hand sewn Victorian lampshade is to daunting a task to take on yourself, you can always hire a professional to help you restore your vintage lamp. You can get a quote for restoring or repairing an old lampshade or browse the completed lampshades ready for sale at the following online vintage lampshade websites:

Even if you opt to have your Victorian lampshade made to order for you, there is still a lot of designing and planning for the lampshade that you will take an active part in. Most of these designers will work with you to decide on the style of frame you want, selecting the types of fabrics such as silk chiffon, beaded lace, burn-out velvet, shantung, brocades, and special treatments such as rosettes and fan pleated panels. The fabric and embellishments for the lampshade can also be hand dyed in custom colors to give you the exact look that you want.

If you don't already have a lamp base, this will be another consideration that will need your attention. You will need to browse through different styles of lamp bases, such as the ones at Lamp Base Specialties to see what styles are available. You will also need to decide whether you want a floor lamp or a table lamp.

Another resource you could try for a vintage lamp base is eBay. You might find a great deal on an old lamp that you could restore with a beautiful new hand sewn Victorian lampshade.

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Victorian Lampshades: Understanding the Process