Things You'll Need
- Solid-colored umbrella
- Thread snips or scissors
- Fabric pen
- Embroidery design, hoop & template
- Embroidery machine
- Embroidery thread
- Seam sealing spray
- Hand sewing needle
- Thread to match umbrella fabric
Umbrellas are a handy tool for the rainy season, but they can become boring and dull to many women who prefer prettier things. Plain umbrellas are far more cost effective than decorated ones, so naturally when you are pinching every penny it’s practical to choose the less expensive umbrella. Luckily, if you own an embroidery machine you can machine embroider an umbrella for far less money. You can save even more money if you choose to decorate an umbrella you already have at home. With some patience and a little creativity you can create a one-of-a-kind umbrella that’s both inexpensive and fashionable.
Detaching the Umbrella
Choose a plain single-colored umbrella with no embroidery for better results. The fabric content does not matter, but thicker umbrella fabric should be embroidered at a slower speed for better accuracy.
Detach the fabric from the umbrella frame except for the top, where the fabric is attached to the central frame pole. Examine the umbrella to determine how the fabric is attached to the frame, and then take the fabric off of the frame. Some umbrellas have the fabric attached using small looped stitches throughout the frame, and other umbrellas have metal or plastic cones which fit over the frame's spine ends. Determine how the fabric is attached, and either remove the stitching using scissors or slide the fabric off of the ends of the frame. You can snip the stitches to remove the fabric, but don't completely cut out the stitching from the fabric. You will need it as a guide later.
Fold up the frame, and put a rubber band around it to secure it.
Lay out your umbrella, and determine where you want the embroidery placed. Embroider the umbrella in sections using the sections of the umbrella by using the section seams as a guide. Mark each section to prepare the umbrella for machine embroidery by using your hoop template, and a water-soluble fabric pen.
Embroidering the Umbrella
Set up your embroidery machine according to the manufaturer's instructions and thread your embroidery machine using the first color of thread in your design. Use same color of embroidery thread for the bobbin for each thread color.
Hoop the first umbrella fabric section. The bottom of the hoop should be towards the umbrella's hem, so that the rest of the umbrella is out of the way when embroidering each section. Re-hoop an additional section after you’ve finished stitching out the embroidery pattern for the first section. Continue re-hooping and embroidering each section. Embroider the umbrella fabric on a slow speed if the fabric is thick. If it is not thick, you can embroider using normal speed.
Un-hoop your umbrella fabric. Check each embroidery design for loose threads and snip them off using embroidery scissor or thread snips.
Re-attaching the Umbrella Fabric
Lay out the umbrella fabric. Unfold the umbrella’s base, and place it back onto the umbrella fabric.
Thread a hand sewing needle. Sew the looped stitched back into the base using the visible stitches still attached to the fabric. You can use any type of hand sewing technique you want as long as the threads are secure. Re-attach the tips of the umbrella base — if your umbrella is made this way — back into the umbrella fabric tip slots; the tips should slide back in.
Spray the seams and all areas that you embroidered using a seam sealing spray. This can be found in an outdoor fabric shop or a store that sells water-resistant fabrics. The spray will seal the stitches so no rain can come through.
If you don't have an embroidery machine, you can embroider your umbrella fabric by hand using an embroidery needle, hoop and threads. You can also embroider by hand without a hoop if you're an experienced embroiderer if you want to create a design that's more free-form.
Be careful with your stitch tension, as stitches that are too tight will create bunching in the umbrella fabric and possible tear it.
Emily Martinez has been writing since 2007, specializing in the fields of special education, sales/marketing and nonprofit. She holds dual bachelor's degrees in psychology and human development, as well as dual associate's degrees in education and horticulture. Martinez has expert experience in avian care, Middle Eastern dance, costume design, machine embroidery, sewing and painting.