Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Under the Cover of Darkness ...

A few months back , toward the later part of 2012 , I agreed to help out with a Dicken's fest near by . I made grand promises of a new silk crape dress copied from an original , and to wear it in a vintage fashions show . Well ... guess how THAT worked out . Family hoopla & drama crowded out all the creative energy and any other energy I had in me , and no dress has been made . I ended up scrambling to let out - waaaay out - an older well worn dress of mine instead , but as guilt crept in , I resolved to at least stitch up a new parasol cover for one of the antique frames found about the house .
I picked the original cover and lining off , saving the best section to use as a pattern . I then decided to use silk crape backed with a 50% silk 50% cotton lining fabric , since the crape is so wonky & stretchy .
I also wanted to replicate the scalloped pinked edge , so I used a rotary pinker to cut the edges of the sections after they were backed .
The original edge cut next to one done on the new pinker below -
 The hand crank rotary pinker in use , still made exactly like they were over 100 years ago ! Sold by taxidermy supply stores , believe it or not .
Every antique parasol I have ever looked at closely , has been sewn with a chain stitch . I assume this is due to the flexible nature of that stitch being able to survive the stretching of the seams when the frame is opened . Being lazy still , I used my electric rather than treadle version of the Singer model 24 chainstitcher . It is a copy in mechanics of the Willcox & Gibbs machine , but takes a needle that is still readily available , unlike the W&G.
Unfortunately , the tiny gathering foot attachment is missing from my model 24 set , so I switch over to my little WWII era Singer blackside Featherweight , since the whole mourning thing seems to go with the blackside finish .
then back to the model 24 to stitch on the trim ...
and then sitting and hand sewing it to the frame in a gazillion different places ...
only to realize that I have cut the sections with too much curve on the sides and it is "baggy" . UGH !
Oh well .... it is still super cute all folded up & will do in a pinch to keep the sun out of my face since my toque style hat will do me no good for sure !
Now to scramble and make a petticoat since I left mine in AZ. last month , 3 days & counting ...


  1. Something I remember from a parasol recovering class where we were told the fabric would be baggy, but then we hold it over a steamping pot of water and it would shrink it to the frame. Would this work with yours?