Apr 19, 2010

Umbrella Cover Tutorial

This is somewhat of a random tutorial and I am not sure if it will be useful to anyone but I figured since I was needing to make one of these, perhaps someone else out there might need to make one some time also and it is always nice if someone else has already kind of figured out the particulars.
We bought one of these large folding umbrellas from Ikea this spring. It was a steal of a deal- like $24.00 or something like that. We needed one for the fall baseball season (yes our school plays baseball in the fall) when it is still really hot. Since we are a 1A school there is never enough money to build shaded bleachers at any of these schools so on-lookers are always left out in the baking sun to watch baseball games (my husband coaches by the way) so we needed a large umbrella for the girls and I to sit under during games. So anyway we found this one. The only problem was that it didn't have any kind of cover and that makes it hard to transport on the bus and things. So I came up with a cover for the umbrella and pole. Here is a tutorial in case, like I said, you ever find yourself needing to make one.
Obviously the measurements will vary depending on the size of the umbrella you have (this could also be used to make a bag for a folding chair).

1 piece of canvas 20X60" I happened to find some at Walmart for $3.95 a yard. It was 58 inches wide which actually turned out to be a perfect length for the cover.
1 piece of elastic 10" long
1 piece of velcro 2 inches long and as wide as your elastic
1 piece of canvas strap 1 yard long (for the carrying handle)
A cord for the draw string (or you can re purpose one like in my tutorial)

First: you will make a tie to hold the umbrella closed. You want to separate your velcro pieces and sew one to one end of the elastic and one to the other end but the opposite side.
So it will look like this when you are done.
2. Now you will attach that to the umbrella. I found it kind of tricky to get my umbrella under my sewing machine so I basically attached this at the easiest place to sew it too (some where near the lower part of the umbrella). You will want to stitch over the elastic (back and forth a couple of times to make sure it is secure).
It should look like this.
You should now be able to wrap it around the umbrella and fasten the velcro to hold everything down like so.
3. Next to make the cover using your piece of fabric 58"x 20".
4. First mark down 4 inches on each side of the top edge of the fabric (which ever you are going to designate as the top).
Next fold over a diagonal fold (like a dart kind of) along the long sides about 3/4 inches wide at the top and 4 inches long. Pin in place. Repeat on the opposite side.
5. Now sew along this fold with a 1/4 inch seam. You will not sew down the entire length of the fold. That is okay. Repeat on the other side. (I should have turned this picture, but the top part of this picture is the long side part of my fabric)
6. Now you will make the casing on the top for your draw string. Fold down 1 inch along this same top edge (the one with the folded darts) and pin. Sew along the bottom edge backstitching start and stop to form your casing.
7. Now for the side seam. NOTE: I created this tutorial as I was making my umbrella bag and decided I would try doing a flat felled seam down the side. However I found it really difficult considering the weight of my fabric to actually sew said seam. Therefore if you don't want to have the difficulty of this I would recommend just folding your fabric right sides to together and sewing down the side seam at 6/8" and then again at 5/8" for extra stability and forget the flat felled business all together. But in case you want to give it a try (because it does look really nice) here is what I did.
You fold your fabric in half wrong sides together (so the right sides are out) and pin. Then sew starting at the mark you made when you made your darts and sew all the way down with a 6/8" seam. You will want to do this same thing even if you are doing a regular seam (start at the mark you made in step 4 -so about 4 inches from the top and backstitch and then sew the rest of the way. Where my pin is, that is where you start sewing.)
8. Next open up your seam and trim the underneath seam to a 1/4 inch like shown.
9. Now at the top where your mark is you will need to snip to the seam so make a little cut. This will allow you to separate the fabric for the flat felled seam and the fabric you will tuck under to finish your dart.
10. Now turn under about a 1/4 inch of the longer top seam allowance and...
fold it over the shorter underneath seam and pin like so. Notice the clip at the top which allows you to work with two separate pieces.
11. Here is the crazy part. Because your fabric is thick and this is so long you have to sew half way down from the top and then half way up from the bottom and meet in the middle (if you do a flat felled seam). So slip your cover on your machine something like this. WARNING: you will stab yourself a billion times with the pins. Now sew along the top folded edge of the seam.
When complete it should look something like this.
12. To finish the upper dart, fold the remaining piece behind and sew down like this.
The darts will look something like this when done. Having this opening gives your cover a little extra room when slipping the umbrella in and out and is not so tight. Look at those bags that come with your folding lawn chairs and you will see that most of them are not sewn all the way to the top.
13. Now for the drawstring. If you are using a piece of cord, thread that through the casing using a pin. I decided to cut a bungee cord off a bag and thread that through instead. To get it off it's original bag I had to cut the cord in half. So I threaded one end through my casing and then tied the ends back together then slipped the knot inside my casing. 14. Before you sew the bottom you will want to attach the handle. Take your canvas strap piece (sorry I don't know the technical name for this handle stuff) and place one end at the top (about 10 inches down) and pin, centering it over the side seam and then pin the bottom end also. After making it I realized that I could have had a shorter strap if I wanted. Sew over each end with a square and an X like this (pardon the crooked sewing-I was in a hurry by this point).
5. Lastly you need to sew the bottom closed. Turn the cover inside out and pin the bottom edge together. Sew a 5/8 inch seam along the bottom. Now square off the corners by pulling them to a point and marking up 1 1/2" from the point. Sew along this line. Repeat on the other side. You could trim these off if you want but I left mine since they would be in the inside bottom of the bag. Turn it right side out and you are ready to go.
Slip your umbrella and pole in and pull your top cord tight and you are set.

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  1. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [19 Apr 02:00pm GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  2. What a great idea!!! I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


  3. Such a smart idea! We have a "Market umbrella" we use with our picnic table and this will be perfect... I've ruined three so far by not having something to put it away in during the winter, so this will be a perfect "saver"! Thanks!

  4. I love this! Thanks so much for sharing your process, I'll be linking. We need to pick up an umbrella ourselves this year.


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