How to Sew a Replacement Outdoor Umbrella

Outdoor umbrellas deteriorate in the sun and rain as time goes on.
Usually, the hardware and stand are still in good condition at the point when the actual umbrella shade fabric has faded, rotted and torn. Sewing a new replacement umbrella shade is an easy project for those with moderate sewing skills.

Step 1

Remove the umbrella shade fabric from the umbrella. Save any grommets or other hardware glued or sewn to the fabric to be reused or replaced later. Take careful notes as you remove the shade so you'll know how to reattach the new shade. Pay particular attention to how the shade is attached at the ferule (pointed tip of the umbrella) and rib ends of the umbrella frame.

Step 2

Tear out all hems and seams using a sharp seam ripper. Take care to avoid tearing the fabric. Begin with the bottom and top hems, then tear out all other seams. Remove grommets and hardware, if any. Take notes to help you reconstruct the umbrella shade later, and label each section of the old shade fabric to help you identify each one later.

Step 3

Iron the pieces of the old shade after you remove all stitching and seams; set the iron heat to a temperature appropriate to the original fabric to avoid scorching or burning the fabric. If the fabric is rubberized, set the iron at low and use a press cloth.

Step 4

Bond each piece of the old shade to a piece of butcher paper by placing the piece, right side up, against the waxy side of the butcher paper, and ironing it until the wax melts and adheres to the fabric. Take care to avoid folding or wrinkling the fabric as you bond it to the butcher paper. If the butcher paper isn't wide or big enough for the pieces, overlap the edges of several pieces until you have a large enough sheet of butcher paper.

Step 5

Trace around each bonded piece of the old shade with a permanent marker. Take care to mark the lines accurately. Measure the width of each seam allowance (measure from the stitching holes to the edge of each piece), or measure the width of the hem from stitching line to the edge of the fabric. Record this information in your notes or write it directly on the back of the butcher paper for each piece. Transfer the identification information you marked on the old shade fabric to the corresponding piece of butcher paper.

Step 6

Allow the wax to cool completely, then cut out each piece of butcher paper, following the marked lines.

Step 7

Peel the old shade fabric from the butcher paper. The cut-out butcher paper pieces are your pattern.

Step 8

Position the pattern pieces on your new fabric, pin them in place, and cut out the new pieces of your umbrella shade.

Step 9

Sew the seams and hems and sew or glue all necessary hardware in place, following your notes to insure correct placement and seam allowances. Finish inside seams for a neater appearance and to prevent fraying by pressing them open, then turning under the seam allowance or by zigzag stitching the seam allowances.

Step 10

Attach your new shade in place, following your notes to insure correct placement.

Things You Will Need

  • Notepad
  • Pencil or pen
  • Sharp seam ripper
  • Sharp dressmaker's shears
  • Waxed butcher paper
  • Black permanent marker
  • Ruler
  • Canvas or ripstop nylon fabric
  • Sewing machine with new, heavy-duty needle installed
  • Fabric glue

Tip

  • Follow the seam allowances of the old shade exactly so that your new umbrella shade will be taut.

About the Author

Gretchen Maron has written content for journals, websites, newspapers, radio news and newsletters, ranging from the International Horn Society journal "Horn Call" and the Air America Radio website, to non-profit organization websites. A librarian for over 30 years and a professional writer since 1996, she's an experienced, knowledgeable researcher.