First of all, I looked around on the internet and found some interesting tutorials on how to make your own parasol - thank goodness for creative goth girls and historical costume sites.
Here are a few: How to Make a Small Victorian Parasol: DIY Parasol: StRazor
There are quite a few more sites with info but it is generally the same - find a suitable umbrella or parasol and strip the fabric off, put your own on. Sounds easy!
The first problem is to find a cheap umbrella that looks like I will be able to take it apart without wrecking it. After lots of asking around and useful tips from friends, I went to the Victoria Market and found two different sorts of parasol at reasonable prices.
I have started on one by taking off the little knobs, etc. This turned out to be surprisingly easy but I did pick the sort that looked as if it would be. They are attached by the sewing, through the hole in the shaft.
Next I looked at how the fabric was attached to the spokes - surprisingly, only one stitch.
I even remembered to measure how far below the hinge it is.
Then I had a look at how it was attached at the top and how the hole for the central part was handled.
I measured that too.
It is sewn very strongly from the inside and outside, then the knob on the end is pushed on. It came off fairly easily, here's hoping it goes back on easily and is secure.
Luckily I remembered what StRazor said and had a good look at the piece that I had cut out of the umbrella's fabric. Because I have chosen a child's umbrella, the piece is smaller and the fact that it has a curved edge is not all that obvious. I don't think I would have noticed if I hadn't read her blog first.
Now I have to make the pieces and then hope they will fit together on the frame. At least I have started.