Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hanging Lampshade Redux

So while I was on the phone with my dad today, I spontaneously had the urge to update the fabric lampshade that was on this hanging cage lamp in the guest room. I know, I know! The guest room yet again.

You may remember the hanging cage lamp I had in the last blog post where I did hard-edge stripes on the walls near the door frame. This lamp was found in our "magical basement" - the joke is whatever you wish for it's probably there in the basement.

The fabric was seriously shabby - faded yet somehow not ripped (yet). Who knows where this was in it's previous life in the house. The design of the shade was much less complicated than I anticipated when I ripped it apart this morning.

I did this the super-lazy way. I laid the fabric on top of the new fabric, pinned it so it wouldn't move and then added 1/2" seam allowances on all edges. (See how only the top edge was gathered at the top of the lamp?)

This is what the lamp looks like... when it's naked.

I then serged all the way around the fabric. I was using a medium-weight polyester (yes, I love polyester!) in what I call "signature Manic Pop" color - my favorite color which isn't quite turquoise, not quite robin's egg blue though the color is hard to see in this photo.

Now what I should have done is finished the edge on the top part first by rolling it under and stitching like a hem. I got too excited about the gathering part at the top. Gather it with a basting stitch (usually a 4 on your machine setting) but with this type of fabric hand-basting may be ideal. The reason why this is so is because the thread breaks as you pull on it in this type of fabric. Quite frustrating. What I did is sort of a staggered basting stitch - sew a little, then stop, then pull the stitch. Repeat. (That was annoying too.)

I don't have photos of this but after gathering, I stitched over the gathers - pushing the gathers together as closely as I could. I then did this a SECOND time, pushing the gathers closer together again but dialing down to a 2-ish on the machine so the stitches were closer together. This made the hole at he top of the shade smaller to fit the lamp and less room for the gathers to inch apart.

Then I sewed up the side seam at 1/2"  and hemmed the bottom. I didn't get fancy -just turned the edge up, I didn't even bother rolling the serged edge under completely like a real hem. I almost always use contrast thread as a signature and that thread color this time was a bright orange.

This is the top, finished. The lettuce edge thing was unintentional, but I don't mind it. Like I said, I should have turned the edge under at the top before gathering.

 Ta da! Nothing too impressive, but a new lampshade nonetheless.

Also, I realized I left out a hard-edged painted piece of furniture I did maybe summer of 2010?
This was an abandoned bookshelf in the back of a closet in the house. I again used the masking tape trick to create a striped effect.

The moral of the story kids here is this: TAKE THINGS APART!
If something looks slightly complicated, it probably isn't. I was surprised to find out that this was only a gathered rectangle piece of fabric. I was anticipating some curved lines happening, but there wasn't.

The best advice I can give to beginning designers (young or old) is buy things from thrift stores (or just use old garments) and feel free to chop them up. Take them apart, make extra pattern pieces, anything!

As for this, I am saving the old fabric and making a paper pattern. Soon enough, 5 or 6 lampshades? (No, probably not.)

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