Parasol is just another word for umbrella, but most often refers to the delicate, fashionable sun umbrellas used in historical times. Decorated in all kinds of fancy lace and ribbon, today's parasols can be expensive to buy as the demand is low and the quality of craftsmanship required usually quite high. It is far more cost-effective to make your own parasol, which can also be much more rewarding. Whether you want to make a parasol for Victorian costuming, Gothic Lolita wear or simply for use in protection from the sun as is still done in other countries, crafting a basic parasol can be simple. To learn how to make a basic parasol, read the following instructions.
Find an old umbrella that is still in fairly good condition, with the fabric and end caps intact. Make sure that you are satisfied with the colour and style of the handle and top as you will not be able to change these. Also make sure that you are able to remove and reattach the end caps on the umbrella that you chose.
Remove the end caps from the umbrella. Put the end caps aside in a safe place so that you will not lose them. Carefully remove the umbrella fabric as well, making sure not to damage it. Open up the umbrella skeleton and measure the distance between the metal spikes.
Open up the umbrella fabric and, if possible, press the wrinkles and folds out of it. You will need the fabric to be flat so that you can use it as a pattern piece. Pin the umbrella fabric to your new parasol fabric, making sure that the fabric design lines up how you would like it to look on the finished parasol. Add 5/8 inch of hem allowance all around the pattern.
Cut around the outside of the pattern, and then cut a small hole at the centre. Do not make the hole too big. Fold under 1/4 inch of the hem and press. Fold the hem an additional 1/2 inch, press and stitch down so that the raw edge is hidden. Using a fabric pencil, make small marks all around the outside edge of the fabric that are equal to the distance between the metal spikes on the umbrella skeleton.
Put the fabric onto the umbrella skeleton, pushing the top through the centre of the fabric. If necessary, make the hole bigger so that the fabric fits. Depending on the type of topper your umbrella has, you may need to hand-stitch the centre of the fabric to the topper.
Arrange the fabric so that it falls evenly around the umbrella. Using your fabric markings as guidelines, attach the end caps, fabric and spikes together. Some end caps have little holes through which you can hand-stitch the fabric, while others simply hold the fabric in place by pinching. When finished, open up the parasol to make sure that your fabric both lies smoothly and does not come out of the end caps.
Some umbrellas come with a removable topper as well. This will make removing and attaching fabric much easier. If the top does not come off, you may need to make small cuts around the top of the umbrella fabric to remove it. Try to do as little damage as possible. Choose a lightweight fabric, waterproof or not, to make your new parasol out of. You will want the fabric to be lightweight so that it fits under the topper and end caps. If you have decided to add different layers of chiffon, ribbons or other decorative touches, sew all of these onto the new umbrella fabric before attaching the fabric to the umbrella skeleton. You may wish to clean up the old umbrella parts before attaching the new fabric. If the metal is dirty or the handle, top and end caps grimy, take some soap and water to them. You can also use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for more stubborn dirt.