Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Making the parasol

I have beavered away at my parasol. There has been a lot of unpicking but I have finally finished it.  It is my first attempt at a parasol and has taught me lots - if I ever decide to try again. I might decide that this is only a sample and make another one, I am keeping my options open.  But it would need to be a much quicker process if I do another.

I pulled apart a child's umbrella and have used the frame for my design.
I used polyester organza which is amazingly slippery!! I made my design using reverse appliqué.  I drew it on soluble fabric and pinned it to the four layers of fabric, which I pinned to the ironing board to keep the layers from moving too much as I cut through them.

I sewed the design and then cut back the layers once the soluble fabric had dissolved and it was dry.  
There are eight pieces which I sewed together only to find that they weren't all exactly the same shape. Close but not exact. Hmm, what to do about that? Oh well, sew them all up and see how it goes at the end. 

It has turned out ok but caused a bit of a problem where the pieces meet at the top as I had four layers and it was a bit bulky.  And, as I said, they are not all exactly the same shape. I was pleased to discover that it was really easy to sew the knobs on.

I sewed on them at the ends of the seams but found that the struts did not stay in place because the slippery fabric caused it all to slip down from the central hole, causing the tension to lessen.  I made a small circle, three layers for stability, and sewed it to the top, to stop the slippage.  The tautness of the fabric then held the knobs in place.

The circle worked ok but you could see the stitches, and the messy joins.

So I made another piece to sit over the top.  I decided to put in some shisha mirrors, inspired by my research for the assignment.  There are some interesting sites (here and here) telling you how to do this.  My sewing is not as perfect as on these examples but I don't mind, it suits the feel of my parasol. Also, I didn't sew the four layers of fabric together, I left them loose and slightly raggedy looking.
Then I slipped the top knob on and it is finished.

However, there was yet another problem because of the difference in the shapes - the struts did not all fit exactly along the seam lines.  As it was necessary to stitch the fabric around the strut (the original umbrella had this) I used this stitch to ease the fabric as close as possible to the strut.  It all works ok, I just hope it holds up to actual use.

Some doubters have meanly said it won't provide any protection from the sun!  I'm hoping that the double, triple and quadruple layers will.  It is just the single layer of yellow that may not be that effective.  So there should be some protection there.  Maybe I'll just try not to go out in the sun at all. And, anyway, it is a work of art, not an actual artefact.


Gina E. said...

Definitely a work of art! I'd hate that to get wet. Good idea to start on a children's size brolly, surely easier to work with.

Mary said...

Thanks Gina, I'll try to only use it in the sunshine! It was much cheaper to get a child's umbrella than an adult's one. Now to try another technique and then think about the larger sizes - maybe.

Glennis said...

Hi Mary
Your parasol looks amazing, well done.

ps. I am still alive and working!!!!!

Mary said...

Thanks Glennis, and good to hear from you. Hope the work is satisfying and creative.