Reworking a Parasol to Regency

Last summer I attended the Louisville Jane Austen Festival and knowing Louisville can be miserably hot in July decided a parasol is a must have accessory.  My dear friend Vicki found us some cheap nylon ones on the web and we both had great plans on how we were going to update them, but alas I never got to it.  

Vicki added tassels to hers but we both knew we could do much better.

After looking at a lot of fashion plates, this is the vision I decided to work toward. 

I first tried to dye it navy with fabric dye I bought from Darma Trading that said it worked on nylon but the color was less than I’d hoped for and it had places the dye didn’t stick.

I felt I could live with it, until I picked it up after holding a glass of iced tea with condensation.

This would never work.  I could’t risk having the dye drip onto my dresses so I finally admitted to myself I’d have to use the frame and recover it.  I took off the existing cover and created a pattern.  The new sections were cut from silk left over from my bonnet, making sure the grain was kept consistent.

The fabric is a bit too thin, but considering I was doing this with found materials I was quite proud of the fit.  I sewed the panels together with french seams to encase the edges the attached it at the end of each arm.I also sewed around the top.

Next I added some fringe, but I knew it needed a little more to look appropriate.  Looking at fashion plates I knew it needed a long ferrule/finial at the top so I asked a a dear friend of mine who is a wood artist to see what he could create.  Mark had a lot of ideas. One was mahogany, one cherry, one a pearly looking acrylic and one unpainted. (If you would like to purchase one he is found at Ravenwood Inspired on Facebook.)


I opted to paint the last one white to match my handle and go with the fringe.

I am still trying to decide if the fringe could be cut about an inch.  We’ll have to see what I decide once i get to Louisville.

Parasol with bonnet.


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