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You Can Do This: Fix the Umbrella!

One of the great annoyances of life is not having an umbrella when you really need it. Another one is to open it up and find out that, damn, one of the attachments at the edge has broken off, or is missing, or has rotten out or something else. We’re not talking about damage like the picture at the top. that’s a total blow out and although with some manipulation, you might be able to get all the ribs back down, I’m not sure that anyone can turn it back into a usable umbrella.

However, having said that, I would hazard to say that probably 80% – 90% of the umbrellas stuffed into closet corners, thrown into the backs of cars and generally hanging around are not damaged in this way. They are damaged THIS way: The thread tying the umbrella cover to the bottom of the rib has rotted out and failed, leaving the seam in the cover to start to open up and making the umbrella looking rather sad, and a bit less efficient on the protection end of things.

One of the reasons why we can fix this umbrella so easily is that, as you can see from this picture, at the bottom the the rib is an eyelet. Very clever. Not all umbrellas or even all folding umbrellas use this little bit of design. Other umbrellas use a plastic cap attached to the edges of the cover which is used to pull that bit of the cover over the rib and secure it. The problem with those is that if the thread fails (and it seems that the thread is the ‘point of failure’ as engineers would put it), and you lose the cap, you are in a bit of a pickle. But with this umbrella, we’ve got this: As you can see, the end point of the edge of the cover seam is attached with thread there. And that is how we will fix this one and do the repair.

Now, if you have someone to lend a hand to help, this goes much faster, but still, it’s not difficult at all.
You will need:
Polyester thread to match the color of the cover.
A needle with an eye big enough to accept two pieces of thread but which is also thin enough to get through the eyelet on the rib.

How To:
–Measure out two 12″ pieces of thread and thread the needled with them.
–Put a knot at the ends.
–Sew up the end of the seam if that is opening up, ending your last stitch at the very edge of the cover.
–With the umbrella open (it helps if you’ve got it up on a table or counter), pull the cover down (you can use the thread to do this or have a helper pull the fabric down) and put the needle through the eyelet.
–Pull the thread tight, so that the edge of the cover is right down on top of the eyelet.
secure with the needle into the edge of the cover where it meets the eyelet.
–Do that 3-4 more times, then secure the thread in the cover and make a knot there.

Wa-la.
Umbrella fixed. Looks good.
Pat yourself on the back. One umbrella back on line. One umbrella kept out of the landfill.

(photo at the top courtesy of Jon Tintin Jordan)

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3 Comments

  1. Auntie Allyn says:

    I’m glad to know that there are other people out there that fix umbrellas! This is such an easy repair job, I’m surprised not more people do it. Uh, then again, it seems like most people don’t have a needle and thread in their homes these days . . .

  2. Aunt Toby says:

    Auntie – I think a big part of this is the whole ‘throw-away’ stuff issue. So much of what is available for us to buy at retail is either not repairable, or it would cost more to repair than it does to buy another crappy one. But there are still a lot of things we can do for ourselves rather than throw things away.

  3. bread maker says:

    Thanks for the tips! I used to chuck it away and get a new one when it’s broken, guess I should fix it next time!

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