How to Sew a Patio Umbrella

Item # X-HT-200613

A patio umbrella is a simple and effective way to provide shade on your patio or in your backyard. Patio umbrellas are readily available at most big box stores, but often they aren’t made from the most durable fabrics. If your patio umbrella is looking shabby, give it a refresh with new fabric. Today we’re going to show you how to sew your own umbrella canopy.

Make a new canopy for your patio umbrella using Sunbrella fabric

The key to a great, long-lasting umbrella is the quality of fabric you choose. Look for a fabric with high UV and fade resistance, so it won’t wear out or look faded after a year in the sun. We chose a Sunbrella® Upholstery Fabric, which offers excellent fade resistance and great color options. If you wanted extra water resistance, Sunbrella® Marine and Awning fabrics are also a great choice.

The canopy, or fabric, of a patio umbrella is made up of two parts: the gores, which form the body of the canopy, and the vent. In the video, you will hear us refer to the gore, which is a technical term for any triangular piece of fabric used in three-dimensional fabrication. So this refers to the triangular segments that make up the main canopy of the umbrella. The vent is the small circular part at the top of the umbrella. The vent is important because it allows air to escape, which prevents heat build-up and keeps your umbrella from acting like a kite and blowing away.

In this video, you will learn how pattern the gores and vent, sew the main canopy, create pockets for the ribs, add the vents, and make an umbrella tie. Plus, you’ll also learn how to use Sailrite’s Fabric Calculator to quickly and easily determine how much fabric you need for your umbrella.

Video Chapters:

  • Calculating Fabric Required -- 0:48 min.
  • Patterning Gores & Vent Fly -- 2:59 min.
  • Cutting Gore Panels -- 5:15 min.
  • Sewing Gore Panels -- 7:35 min.
  • Creating Rib Pockets -- 13:20 min.
  • Creating Fly -- 16:10 min.
  • Making Umbrella Tie -- 22:58 min.
  • Materials List -- 27:01 min.

Materials List:

  • Sunbrella Fabric (we used Sunbrella® Canvas Tuscan 54” Upholstery Fabric #5417-0000)
  • Outdoor Thread (Tex 70 or Tex 90 Polyester or Tex 92 Lifetime Thread)
  • Seamstick Basting Tape for Canvas #129
  • #2 Nickel Spur Grommet #26316

Tools List:

  • Sailrite® Edge Hotknife #103800
  • Deluxe Magnetic Sewing Guide #103597
  • #2 Spur Die Set #18203
  • #2 Hole Cutter 3/8" #18211
  • Sailrite® Cutting Block & Die Holder #121597
  • Sewing machine
  • Yardstick
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Scissors

Do you have an umbrella that needs replaced? Have you ever sewed your own umbrella panel before? Share your thoughts, tips and advice on this project in the comments!