Pesky Parasols Revisited – attempt at recovering an antique parasol

In an earlier post, I confessed my love for antique parasols, and recounted my experiment with “improving” a costume parasol to make it look a little bit more like a regency era parasol.  This post will document my attempt to recover a tattered antique parasol, and convert it into something useable to carry in a Regency Promenade.

I found parasol on eBay, and was attracted to the frame because it had a mother of pearl covered handle and finial.

The beautiful mother of pearl on the handle

It was also a folding carriage parasol, and I just love the parasols when the handle folds in half.  I am guessing it is from the 1850 to 1870 time frame from the size of the canopy and the fact it was covered in black and had a black silk lining inside.  But the shape and size also looked to also work as a Regency parasol, so I decided to give recovering it a go.  I decided to try to recover it in a light color and see how it went.

Here is the sad condition the parasol was in:

very very sad.  I had read on a blog where a woman recovered a parasol that you first take off the top finial so that you can remove what is left of the canopy, but that you really need at least one panel to be intact so that you can make a pattern to cut replacement panels.

The top of the parasol is clad in mother of pearl inlay pieces, and I was worried that I’d damage if I tried to remove it.  So instead i carefully clipped the remaining fabric just next to the top finial.

I then tried to select and remove an intact panel, but I found I really was unable to use a seam ripper to take the panels apart.  So I carefully cut right down the seam.  I ironed out the fabric and made my pattern.

I then cut the pieces out of pale gold silk.  I added a narrow seam allowance around the pieces and started sewing them together.

Having constructed the top, it was time to see how it looked on the frame. At first it was too loose, so I took each seam in a bit and put it on again.  Here is the work in progress:

The canopy wasn’t completely sewn down at this point, as I was fitting it, so the finshied will look a little tighter.  I had sewn the top where the triangles meet completely closed, and then clipped the top to fit over the parasol, but I clipped it a little too far down.  I planned to add decoration at the top anyway, so this flaw will be hidden.  Here is the first step of the decoration.

I wanted to cut the edges with a scalloped edge like the original. I had to order some scalloped pinking shears (not the regular zig zag type but scalloped) to try and accomplish an edge similar to the original.  (You can see the scallops in the picture of the panel I used as a pattern.)  After the scissors arrived,  I Pinked the circle and I later added a second circle.  I might add a bit more trim later.   But I’m really happy so far.


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