Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Kristen: Parasol Covering Workshop

I am very hungry for education. As much as I might complain about my academic studies, I am thrilled to spend any time on my "learnings" of the 19th century. Luckily I live in Michigan, home to quite a few wonderful reenactors willing to show their knowledge. Recently I was able to attend a parasol covering workshop at the Plymouth Historical Society Museum. I spent all week looking forward to it!

I found my parasol on ebay last year for about $50. The paint was chipped, and the silk was completely destroyed. I still took it out to a few events, but I knew it was time to get it recovered...

The before-ripping-it-to-shreds pic

A close-up of the round handle. So lovely!

The beautiful but tattered silk parasol
The silk lining needed to be replaced too

Let me just say now that this class was advertised for intermediate seamstresses...and never have I felt so much like a beginner! I was surrounded by many ladies I have met before in my reenacting adventures, a few even in the 21st Michigan. It was a relaxing environment!

The class was taught by Sandy Root, who I have to say is one of the most kind and patient people I've met. I had so many questions, and she was able to answer all of them! There are many sewing techniques that I've never encountered before, and she was gracious enough to help. The process took many hours, but I'm happy with my results. She even served a delicious lunch, including chili, veggies, and soda bread. I ate far more than a "proper" lady ought to, especially when they brought out the chocolate!

I laid out my skeleton

My work station was more messy than this, I promise

Sewed it right up

By the end of the day, I was able to attach the outer covering and construct the lining. There were a few bumps here and there, so I had to make plans to continue working at home. Which I did, and have now added to this post.

I did a simple gather for the trim
The silk lining was more difficult to attach
 Ta-da! It is finished and ready for its debut at Greenfield Village in May
 I feel so accomplished!

 If you ever get a chance, take a class with Sandy Root! I loved every second, especially hanging out with ladies who know their stuff. This hobby gives so many opportunities to talk to people with different experiences. In my most holy opinion, it is most fulfilling to educate others to pass on these traditions! It is also refreshing to have time to relax and create!

My next post will include my visit to a day cap workshop. Hopefully I'll have time to attach that lone sleeve to my mourning dress. Maybe even more hair gimping! Thanks for reading!



  1. Wow! That is beautiful! How many hours did it take you? Also, was the frame vintage?


    1. It seemed like forever! In reality it was about 10ish to 4ish, and that's including lunch and a few breaks. I'm recovering a second one now, and it's already a lot less time.

      I found the frame on eBay, and paid about $50 for it. I was so careful! It turned out that the frame was much tougher than I had first thought. I loved it all!

  2. Mine looks like crap, maybe because I didnt take the class. You know you are re-recovering mine right Kris? Maybe with that silk I just bought...?

  3. Oh, that's wonderful Kristen. Your parasol turned out great! I have a tattered lacy one that I would love to have new lace put on it, but sorry to say I will not be the one doing it. I have no sewing machine. If it can't be done by hand then I can't do it. *winks*
    Anyway...have a great Tuesday!



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