View Full Version : Tutorial: Covering Umbrellas and Parasols

01-20-2007, 01:37 PM
Hi everyone!

So, this tutorial comes by request from a person I met at AX2006. She noticed that my Ame-Warashi umbrella was black on the inside and white on the outside. She asked me how I had managed that, plus attached all the ribbon and lace. I explained that I had covered the umbrella with fabric so that the inside was black and the outside was white. After my explanation, she said "Ohhh, you should write a tutorial for that!" And so, months later, here it is. ^^;;

Not many characters have umbrellas or parasols, but when they do, it's a pain to find the right color and shape. Plus, if the umbrella has decoration on it, it can be extremely difficult to get ribbons on without work showing through on the inside of the umbrella. So, I devised a method to (more or less) accurately cover umbrellas so that they still function.

Materials needed:

1 umbrella/parasol
Fabric (amount depends on the size of the umbrella or parasol. You should be able to drape the fabric on the umbrella or parasol in two pieces and have some hang over. Double this if you want both the inside and outside to be the same color)
Any decorations needed (ribbon, lace, bows, etc.)
If your umbrella has a spike top: Ribbon who's width is about the same as the length of the spike
Hot glue
Sewing machine
Hand needle
Appropriately colored thread

I HIGHLY suggest that you read this tutorial through once before attempting it. Twice if time permits. XD It's best to know exactly what to do before going out and buying things that are the wrong size/color/shape.

Also, I use the terms "right side" and "wrong side", but I just realized that some of you may not know what the heck I'm talking about. ^^;; The "right side" is the side of the fabric which will show in the end. The "wrong side" is the side that will not show. Keep this in mind when reading about decorations and such things.

And now, what you all clicked on this thread for:

Serey-chan's Umbrella and Parasol Covering Tutorial

First, find the correct color of fabric. I used a simple white cotton, but pretty much anything could be used. I don't recommend satins, things that fray easily, or anything stretchy. A medium-large umbrella took me 2 yards of fabric.

Note: I'm going to use "umbrella" throughout the tutorial, but be aware that the same steps can be used on a parasol as well! If it bothers you that much, do a Find/Replace on Word. XD

Second, count and take note of how many panels are on the umbrella which, obviously, you have already purchased. Umbrellas are broken up into sections and then sewn together when manufactured.

Next, take a sheet of newspaper and carefully (mostly by the feel of the metal parts of the umbrella) trace the shape of one panel using a marker. Using anything with too small a point will poke through the newspaper--and that's not good. ^^;;

Once you have your shape, if space allows on the newspaper, carefully add 5/8" to each line. You will want to add 1" extra on the bottom line (the one that will go under the rim of the umbrella) and another 1" on the smallest line (the one that will fit at the top of the umbrella). Ta-dah! You've made a pattern! ^^

Use the newspaper pattern to cut out the correct number of panels your umbrella needs from your fabric. For mine, it was six.

Now, here comes the fun part. XD If your umbrella has any kind of decoration ADD IT NOW. If it's a ribbon that goes all the way around the umbrella, cut out appropriate width sections of the ribbon and sew it to each panel. Make sure to keep the ribbon-to-fabric-edge measurement the same. Otherwise, you'll end up with an uneven stripe! ^^;; If you need to add lace or ribbon to the rim or top of the umbrella, that can wait for now. Anything that goes on the seams of the umbrella will also wait until the end.

Once you have all your decorations on, it's time to sew the pieces together! Using a 5/8" seam allowance, sew the pieces together (right sides together, of course!). It gets pretty tricky when you have to sew the pieces into a ring at the end, but just stitch carefully! If your seam becomes too small or too big, go back and redo that area. If the seams go outside 5/8", the covering will be either too big or too small. Once you hit your 1" allowance on the umbrella's rim line or top line, backstitch for a couple stitches and finish the seam. Do this for each panel of fabric.

So now you have a ring of fabric! Iron all the seams flat. I usually press seams open, but I've heard of them being pressed to the side before. Whatever floats your boat! ^^

If you're going for a two-color umbrella (one color on the inside, different color on the outside), keep reading. I'll cover what to do if you want the same color on the inside and outside at the end. Now that you have your ironed ring, put it on top of your umbrella, matching the seams to the metal arms on the umbrella. Pin the fabric to the umbrella, one pin on each side of the metal arm. Continue around the umbrella, stretching the fabric so that it's taut as you go. Roll the excess fabric that's around the umbrella rim (or you can roll the extra fabric and tuck it under itself) and pin that in place as well.

Here comes the not-so-fun part. Hand-stitch the covering in place around the umbrella rim. Keep the pins in while you work so that the covering can't slip around. Once you're done, the only part left is the top!

If your umbrella has a spike top (like mine does), pull the extra flaps of fabric at the top so they point up with the spike. Take your wide ribbon (hopefully the width is about the same as the length of the spike), cover the top of the spike with some of the ribbon (I used hot glue for this), then wrap the wide ribbon around the flaps and top-of-the-spike-cover. Use hot glue to secure.

If your umbrella doesn't have a spike, you need to fold the flaps under and sew them to the umbrella. Cover the top part (usually plastic) with appropriate fabric color or ribbon.

If you want the inside to be the same color as the outside, you need to (after making your pattern and taking note of where the original material is attached to the umbrella, of course) rip off the umbrella covering so you're left with the skeleton. Leave about an inch of original material at the top. Cut the double amount of panels needed, but leave off the extra 1" at the bottom rim. Just use a regular 5/8". Once you have your two rings of fabric (one with decorations if necessary, seams pressed open), sew the rings together around the outer edge of the ring with the right sides together. Turn inside-out and press. Lay the cover on the skeleton with the seams matching the skeleton arms. There should be a place where the original material was sewn to the skeleton. Take advantage of that place and attach the cover there! This method is a tad-bit more difficult, since there's nothing to keep the cover in place while sewing. After you've sewn the cover to the skeleton, follow the steps above for attaching the cover to the top of the umbrella as explained above. If you want absolutely no original material to show underneath, manipulate the flaps so that they sandwich the original material and then sew.

Once all that's been finished--you're done! Just add the last-minute decorations (I recommend sewing them on... hot glue is dangerous... >_>; ) and you've got your own personalized, functioning umbrella or parasol for cosplay or Lolita or whatever! One thing I don't recommend doing, unless it's an emergency, is using it in the actual rain. XD

01-20-2007, 07:38 PM
wow sounds interesting. I was looking hard for a parasol but now i can make one. It would help if you provided pictures to give out an idea and easily explanation. Of course i can use my imagination and figured out how it looks like in the end.

04-11-2008, 09:50 AM
Thanks for the tutorial! ^^