March 16, 2011

Fabric 'n' Ribbon Lamp: A DIY

I've always liked this little lamp. I think it was from Pier One years ago. It lives in Tessa's room now, though it's photographed here in our office/sewing room. A few years ago, our house was broken into several times within just a few months time. It was really, really scary and also made us really angry because our home stopped feeling like home. We even briefly put the place on the market. We've since turned this place into Fort Knox, and now that I work from here I am always the guard on duty. I tell you all this because this lamp was sitting right where it's sitting in these photos during one of these break-ins. When we came home the lamp was kicked over and there was a muddy boot print on the lampshade. I was never able to get the mud completely off the lampshade (which you can't see in the photo). So why not take this bad memory and give it a pretty new makeover using lots of fabric and ribbon scraps.

One more thing: This project also turned out good for another reason. I almost wanted to breakup with my sewing machine this week, but this redeemed her. The plan was to make Tessa the outfit that she'll wear at her birthday party. I got this pretty Oliver + S playsuit pattern that had the easiest possible rating. I've never worked with a pattern before and I needed to learn. I gave myself plenty of time to figure it out, read some online tutorials, cut out the pieces as best I could and then just sat there. For the longest time. I find patterns so dang confusing. Like Russian. Or geometry. I ended up deciding that I would save myself the heartache and just "scrap" the whole thing. Some of those pattern pieces even ended up in my lampshade. It's the orange fabric with flowers.

Hope you enjoy this one! I had a lot of fun with it, and the whole thing took about two hours and cost me $0.

What You Need:
- Fabric and scraps of ribbon, lace, and ric-rac
- Lamp with basic shade
- Measuring tape
- Thread
- Needle
- Sewing machine
- Rotary cutter and self-healing cutting mat

Start by measuring the complete diameter of your lampshade. Mine was 14 and a half inches.

Then use your rotary cutter and cutting mat to measure and slice up lots and lots of fabric strips and ribbon pieces that are this same length. Cut more than you think you'll need. Cut them out in all different widths. I cut pieces anywhere between one and three inches wide.

Begin to lay out your fabric strips and ribbons so you can get an idea of how you might want to arrange everything. 

Start to sew the pieces together, leaving raw edges exposed and not worrying too much about straight stitches. I even used a piece of fabric selvedge and used navy thread just because it was what I already had in the machine.

Continue until you have a length of pieces that's the same diameter as your lampshade. Mine needed to be 29 inches wide. 

Center the fabric on your shade and then pin it tightly to the shade. 

Double up your thread and secure the fabric to the lampshade. I actually ran the needle through the lampshade itself to anchor it. 

Fold the fabric in over the lampshade and begin using large basting stitches to sew the top and bottom of your piece of fabric to each other. Work to keep the fabric lined up as best you can and position your stitches so that the fabric remains nice and snug around the lampshade. 

As you reach the lampshade's spindles, you'll need to slice up the length of the shade to make room for them. Otherwise just continue sewing fabric together until you're finished. 

Enjoy your new lamp!