How to repair your vintage parasols or umbrellas of any era – Simple Sewing step by step

 

 

 

 

 

Simple steps to replacing the metal pegs on the end of your umbrellas. Sometimes an umbrellas loose canvas is just a few stitches away from perfection. Here is how its done:

STEP ONE: Notice something has gone awry with your favorite parasol

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My personal collection of vintage parasols 1950s-1960s

There are a number of things that could be wrong here. Some are just problems with improperly storing your collection (shrinking fabric resulting in tears) or just wear and tear from frequent use. For storage tips see below. 

Your easy to fix and frequently occurring problems are end caps that have been lost or loose stitches. On the underside of the canvas the metal frame of the umbrella / parasol is held in place on the canvas with little stitches. These occur somewhere the middle of the metal arms of the frame and are stitched to the seams of the canvas where the canvas panels meet. These are very easy and just require 3 to 4 stitches back in place around the frame and through the canvas.

**For those of you who rarely pick up a needle, remember to keep the knot of the thread on the underside of the canvas. 

However if it is an end cap you will need to find one (if you don’t have the one that fell off)

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What you will need:

  • another end cap
  • button thread
  • needles
  • scissor
  • seam ripper

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STEP TWO: FINDING AN END CAP

The trick to this is finding an end cap that is era appropriate with the same patina. This can be a little tricky. The cheapest and easiest way to do this is to hit the flea markets and antiques markets. When you go take your parasol with you, try to match it to the ones you find. Its easier to simply buy a an inexpensive broken one and take take the end caps off. If you don’t find one the first round, wait a month or so and go back. They’re usually lurking about in an unexpected place. When you find some that match or are very close buy it and take it home. I wouldn’t spend more that $5 if this is 1940s and newer. 

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STEP THREE: Fixing it!

To remove the cap keep the parasol closed. The canvas is loose which makes it easier to pop off. Sometimes they can be difficult and require a little wiggling of the cap while pulling it off. Once its off the metal arm it is still sewn to the canvas. Take your seam ripper and slide it up the seam. Be careful not to poke your fingers.

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Once it is removed you can put it on the arm of the one you are repairing. Keep the parasol closed. Before you start make that you have chosen a needle that will fit through the holes on the cap. If the threaded needle fits you can knot the end and begin. Pull the needle through the underside of the canvas, out the top, and through the two holes on the cap. Pull the material close to the holes. Run the needle through the canvas again and repeat. 

ImageMake sure to keep the thread tight and once you have hit 3 or 4 stitches, knot your thread twice and cut. If there is more than one that needs replacing go on and repeat these steps. If you do not want the broken parasol around simply remove the remaining caps and keep them in a little baggy. You may need them again. 

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Done! Ready to stroll in the sun. 

 

QUICK TRICKS: 

Did the metal frame break at one of the arm hinges? Well, this really cannot be fixed but if you are stuck in the rain and its your only umbrella then grab some tape. Any kind will work and just wrap it loosely around the hinge (otherwise the umbrella will not close). 

 

How to properly store you collection:

If its silk it absolutely has to be in an area with NO extreme temperature changes (ex: the attic). Silk as a natural material is prone to moth holes and should be carefully examined before purchase because they are difficult to get rid of in a fabric that needs special care. 

If its not silk and just nylon or rayon these are not easily destroyed. Nylon is a tough material and can pretty much be kept anywhere dry with no temperature changes. To protect from fading keep them out of direct sunlight in a dark corner or closet. 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/28/garden/28fix.html?_r=0

 

 

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A day in the sun with your fixed parasol.

 

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