V162: My First Re-covered Victorian Parasol

Yesterday I showed you some lovely extant Victorian parasols that I looked at for inspiration in re-covering a long-handled polyester parasol I bought at Valhalla last weekend.

This is the original:

Here’s what I did with it.

I have one thing to say about covering parasols – it’s harder than it looks!

I took the black cover off and used one of the triangles as a pattern, and cut my triangles from some changeable taffeta scraps I had in the cabbage patch.  All was going well, but getting the cover on the wire frame was rather a pain, and then the top was all baggy.  Now that I think about it, I’m sure my mistake was with the placement of the edges of my cover – my triangles were slightly longer, but my placement of them was right on the edge.  This caused the tension at the top to be incorrect.

In the manner of Tim Gunn, though, I just made it work and I’m pretty happy with it, even if it is not the beautiful, taught masterpiece it was intended to be!

We saw these long-handled parasols everywhere at the Carson Rendezvous yesterday, for about $11-$12.  You can order one online, in a variety of colors, from Vintage Dancer, for about the same.

If I had this to do again, I would probably leave the polyester cover on, and apply my decoration over it…or maybe just be more diligent about the cutting, seaming, and stretching!


  • Midnight Laura

    June 10, 2012 at 11:58 PM

    I've covered a number of vintage parasols and umbrellas in all sorts from broderie anglaise to umberella silk and I find you have to make sure the grain is dead on so it's very wasteful of fabric. Also that the pieces you take from the original, whilst excellent for patterns, will have stretched in all sorts of ways! I normally cut 1/2 a cm larger, sew on the wrong side (and make adjustmenst to fit) then finish with a flat fell french seam, which hides all my adjustments. I'm not sure this is a recognised technique, just something I learnt from taking apart many a vintage umberella. I find then in vintage stores for about £6-£12 and recover if necessary. Lovely blog, it has reminded me I need to get on a cover at least three I have stashed!! xxx

  • Tricia

    June 10, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    I think it looks perfect and I love the gathers at the peak the small ruffle. I have been contemplating taking a paper parasol and recovering it with silk that I could then paint and scotch guard.

  • Anonymous

    June 11, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    I know your pain. I had a lacy parasol that I decided was to lacy for the era I wanted it for…to much sun exposure. I wanted the lace to show so I had to get the lining between the lace and the workings of the parasol. What a pain. And I used it twice and now the workings of it are all messed up. I can only used it closed now. Grrrrr.

  • Caroline

    June 11, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    We ordered a bunch of those parasols above for a production of The Pirates of Penzance this past year. We (the costumes club) were going to trim them to look more period but we ran out of time. A word of warning, those parasols fall apart in a second (or at least after one dance!) and we had to tape some of them at the last minute.

  • Unknown

    June 14, 2012 at 5:29 AM

    I know this is off topic, but I do sell parasols that I but from whole-salers here- http://www.promisesparasols.com
    No, they are not hand done with love. No, they are not custom made to match an outfit. I specialize in quality, function, and low prices. I'm respectfully not trying to hijak your thread, please consider me a Plan C. 🙂

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