Jeep Lampshade

Jeep Lampshade
Jeep Lampshade,
originally uploaded by silver marquis.
Saturday night I decided (with a lot of persuasion from Jared) to start on a project that I had been putting off for quite some time - make a new lampshade for our old floor lamp in the living room. The lampshade on it was yellowed and had a big hole in it, and I had recently hit it with a dishtowel (I was trying to kill a fly) and broke off the bottom ring. I thought about just buying a new one, but I figured this was a perfect opportunity to try out my new sewing machine and get creative - I mean, the worst that could happen is I screw it up and have to buy a new lampshade, right?

I swear, I nearly had a mental breakdown before I even started. I have a very deep fear of failure, and I was convinced that this was going to turn out terrible. I wasn't even completely sure that I had enough material laying around to do it or that I could sew in a straight line. But Jared reassured me that it would be fine, and so I went in search of fabric. It's a good thing I'm the daughter of a seamstress, or I might not keep random fabric scraps in a tin in my room - but I am, and I do, so I found plenty to work with in there. I decided to do a patchwork design since all I had were small pieces - at least then it would look like it was supposed to be pieced together, instead of looking like a big piece of badly-sewn-together crap.

I was fine up until I got out my sewing machine - in fact, as I jerry-rigged a pattern for the lampshade out of construction paper and electrical tape (I couldn't find any scotch tape in my apartment), I was really proud of my ingenuity. But as soon as I got my sewing machine out of the box, I freaked and called mom. How the hell was I going to do this on my own? How did I even think that I could remember how to thread a machine? (I did it ONCE as a kid - a very long time ago!) Or the bobbin, for chrissake?! Augh!

Mom didn't answer, so I had no choice but to figure it out for myself.

And I did! I read the booklet and figured it out! I'm pretty sure it helped that I had watched mom do this a million times - but watching and doing are two very different things. In any case, my excitement of figuring out how to work the sewing machine on my own made me less scared of sewing my fabric pieces together. And it's not like I haven't sewn before anyhow - just never on my own, with my own machine. It was exhilarating.

The rest of the process went pretty smoothly. Amazingly, the cover I created actually fit the old lampshade perfectly, which I was pretty happy about. I broke a needle trying to hand sew some white cord on the top to secure it, but I got a bigger needle and was able to finish it up. That part took forever, but I think it really made the shade come together nicely.

It's not perfect - for one thing, it makes the living room darker. Oops. I guess dark fabric will do that. And I didn't cut off some of my seams, which show through and look weird when the light is on. But I'm still pretty proud of it. And hey, it's my first big sewing project - I'm bound to get better, right? I'm actually really excited to start another project now! I leave so many projects unfinished, but by following this one through to completion, I'm more motivated now to finish others I've put aside. Whether that will happen or not remains to be seen, but for now I'm enjoying the high.

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