Creating a better Umbrella

Like some of you, when I looked at the finished canvaswork piece, I thought the umbrella looked a bit out of place. The idea of using rice paper was good, but the effect wasn’t quite what I was going for. I knew I’d missed the mark when one reader said she liked the “hat” on the woman in the image!


I showed a friend here and she hit the nail on the head: “Everything is fine but the umbrella is paper and it just doesn’t work”. Yep. Correct.


So over the last few days I’ve been experimenting with different ideas for the umbrella. I decided on silk for the material from the umbrella would be made.

I first tried doing some long and short shading with very fine silk thread to mimic the shading on the original in the image.


This didn’t work at all. The thread is too heavy and thick in relation to the whole canvaswork piece. Everything is so small that this looked clumsy in comparison.

Next, I ironed some double sided interfacing onto a piece of silk, leaving on the paper backing. The paper gave the silk a stiffness that allowed me to fold the silk like a fan, mimicking the folds of an umbrella.


Better but still not quite right. I then decided to try using water-colours to shade the bottom edge of the umbrella and add stitching to the bottom to mimic the brown lines in the original image.


I used a large needle to help me get the tiny folds. I’m not ready to remove the old paper umbrella until the special thread I need to attach the new one arrives. I don’t want to take off something that works and then have no way of attaching the new one to the piece. The thread I’ll be using is called Ultrafyne Polyester 120 Sewing Threads from Restore Products in the UK. This thread is as fine as a piece of hair and stitches just about invisibly.

It’s not easy to imagine how well the new umbrella will work but I feel confident it will be a lot better than the paper version. I will add a bead at the top (there’s one there now) to give it some pizzaz and then it’s on to mounting the piece (my least favourite part!).

Next time I’ll show you the two (yes two!) projects I’ve begun. I’m sure you’ll love them as much as I do!



3 thoughts on “Creating a better Umbrella

  1. Creative. Assuming you use a triangular piece of fabric instead of rectangular, will make the frilling look neat and beautiful.

  2. Have you considered making some silk paper? No doubt Oliver Twists can supply some silk laps or even carrier rods in a good colour that you can use.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.