Restoring a parasol with no original cover

I bought a pair of antique parasols recently, both in a questionable condition, so I thought I couldn’t do much more damage by repairing them.

This is the story of the first parasol.

I didn’t take a picture of this one in its original state. It was missing its cover and someone/something had bend the steel/iron rod under the wooden handle far enough for cracks in the wood to appear.

The first step was bending that handle back in shape – slow and steady won that race. Then I wrapped a strip of aluminium (not too thin, not too thick) around the part of the handle with the cracks to give the handle more support.

To decide on the look of the parasol, I researched existing parasols (there are not a lot them) and the ones that have been documented in paintings and drawings and I noticed that a lot of them were green and some were quite huge.

Okay, kidding. I did choose green silk as covering because the color was popular. The size of the parasol however was not quite so voluntary.

parasol-01

Imagine these as the 8 ribs of my parasol. Now these were about 22 inches/55 cm each. Obviously, this one could never become a doll parasol but… parasol coverings are not sown as flat pancakes for a reason. And that reason has nothing to do with the bias.

parasol-02

See, the litte dots here are the points where the stretcher meets the ribs.

parasol-03

The pattern of the individual “triangles” that make up the final cover are only triangles up to these points.parasol-04

From that point on to the part where they meet the tips of the parasol, they narrow. The narrower they become, the more pressure is on the outer part of the parasol and the smaller and deeper the actual parasol becomes.

parasol_shape-01

If you make that lower part too narrow, it can put too much strain on your fabric or your parasol frame. Some antique frames might not be able to take the sort of the strain.

On the other hand if the lower end of the “triangles” are not narrow enough, results may range between “looks like it isn’t even properly open” and “half-size garden parasol.”

parasol_shape-02

This has actually the same edge length as the one above.

I suspect that this is reason why every antique parasol recoverer recommends using the original covering as pattern base. Although, age changes fabric and can shrink it, so using originals is also not without challenges.

Since this parasol didn’t have its original cover and I was really unsure about frame I decided to err on the side of “not too much strain”.

I finished the cover with a pinked edge because I am lazy and own an old pinking machine.

p1060163

The same pinked edge was used on the crown of the parasol. The top thingy covers linen padding over a slightly protuding nail. (That I didn’t dare to hammer home at all cost.)

I covered the aluminium with a strip of my silk and then made a quick parasol bag for the whole shebang. (Not pictured.)

The other parasol has other issues which is why I haven’t done anything but try to deal with the rust. (Not even its worst issue, actually.)

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