*something my dad says when it's windy.
It always seems a shame to throw a carefully matched accessory or expensive gift in the bin, so what can be done with a busted umbrella?
If you're not in the market for Umbrella Bunting, there are several tutorials to be found online to make bags from your brolly. I've adapted this one to come up with my own version.
You will need:
- an old umbrella (preferably with the frame beyond repair)
- scissors and / or rotary cutter and board
- seam ripper
- dressmaking pins
- matching or contrasting thread
- sewing machine
2. The brolly I used for this was made up of 6 triangles sewn together. The next step is to separate them. I started with the seam ripper, but this was a particularly well sewn umbrella and the stitches were tougher than the fabric... so after damaging a couple of panels, which can still be used for handles, I used the scissors to cut the triangles free.
3. Once you have your triangles of fabric, iron them with a cool-ish iron.
4. Neaten the edges (this is where the rotary cutter comes in useful), then decide on the size of your bag - this one is going to use 4 triangular panels. Arrange the triangles top to bottom, edge to edge. Then pin together, with the outer sides facing each other (so that the seams will be on the inside. Aim to have a level edge at the top of the bag where it will open. Pin three pieces together then get your sewing machine set up. I recommend stopping for a cup of tea at this point!
5. Once you've got your machine threaded and ready, sew along where you've pinned to join the triangles together - check you have all the pieces facing the same way and that you're not sewing more than two pieces together at once... (my first attempt at this involved some extra unpicking... it might be worth doing a practice on a piece of scrap fabric to test the stretch, the umbrella material can be quite stretchy and might be a bit out of shape, but don't worry if it's not super straight. Fellow rookies with a sewing machine take note - once I changed the direction of the pins, things got easier!). It should start to look like this:
6. When you're happy with the seams, pin the remaining piece into position and sew together.
7. The last seam will form the body of the bag into a cylinder shape - it can be tricky to pin as it doesn't seem flat, but as long as you don't sew more than two pieces together at a time and aim for the top edge to be straight, it should work.
8. Iron the cylindrical shape and flatten the edges and the seams you've made. Then make the bottom of the bag by folding the corners in, pin along the fold and sew so you get a rounded bottom to the bag.
9. Use the remaining panels to make handles. Fold and iron the pieces to make strong enough handles to carry the bag. With the material I had left, I cut two equal pieces retaining the top hem, folded, ironed, then sewed with a straight stitch, tucking the uneven bits at the ends in.
10. Attach the handles to the inside edge of the bag, pin in place then stitch an 'X' shape, going over a couple of times if you need to. I wasn't happy with the top, it was a bit too flimsy and uneven, so I folded it over to make a top hem for added strength on which to attach the handles.
11. Turn the bag back the right way round and you're done!