The market umbrella, usually made of a canvas canopy supported by a wood or metal frame, is a popular patio covering. Homeowners use them for decorative touches on uncovered outdoor entertaining areas, and restaurants use them in open-air seating sections. Because exposure to the elements such as harsh sun and rain showers can degrade the canopy over time, making a replacement canopy for less than the cost of a new canopy or entire umbrella makes perfect sense. With some new fabric, a sewing machine and basic sewing skills, you can make your own replacement canopy in about one day.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Old canopy
- Straight pins
- Sewing machine
Buy enough canvas to replace the worn canopy. Heavy-duty and all-weather fabrics are a good idea since the umbrella will be outside. You may also want to consider a treated fabric that lends some waterproofing qualities to the canvas.
Dismantle the worn canopy to use as a pattern. Wash the old canopy first in cold water and air dry it. Since this will come in contact with the new canvas as a pattern, you do not want to get any dirt from the old canopy on the new fabric.
Inspect the method used for sewing the seams. You will use the same technique later to sew the new canopy. Use a sewing seam ripper to take the old canopy apart, and be careful to deconstruct the seams, not cut through them.
Iron all the creases out of the pieces of the original canvas.
Pin the old canopy pieces to the new canvas and cut out the pieces. If the new fabric has a noticeable grain or printed pattern, make sure the design on each section matches up with the other sections that will be sewn together.
Sew the new canopy pieces together. Sew double seams. Use the same seam-sewing technique as was used on the old canopy. Use monofilament or weatherproof thread to stand up to the elements. A heavy-duty needle and small stitches are best, about 14 stitches per inch. Sew the hem last to give a finished look to the new canopy.
Sew the pocket pieces that will hold the canopy frame onto the inside of the new canopy. Sew on the tie-down piece and any top vent cover pieces last.
Iron the new canopy and ensure the seams are all flat. Now you are ready to put the new canopy onto the existing market umbrella frame.
Tips and warnings
- Choose a solid colour canvas without noticeable grain to make sewing the new canopy easier.
- If the new canopy seems a little too small, use a steamer to loosen the fabric somewhat to fit it onto the frame.
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