My Edwardian parasol
Millinery,  My projects,  Sewing

Edwardian accessories: a parasol and a hat

Parasols and hats were essential fashion accessories for Edwardian ladies. I wanted my own pretty hat and a parasol but couldn’t really find anything suitable. So, I decided to make my own. I saw a cheap worn-out umbrella/parasol on Ebay that was just asking to be restored. I bought it and turned it into a beautiful silk parasol. For the hat, I bought a cheap paper straw hat and transformed it into something that an Edwardian lady could have worn with a huge silk bow and ostrich feathers.

Restoring the parasol

I documented the parasol restoration project on video, so enjoy!

Here are some detail photos of the finished parasol. The handle and a piece of the painted shaft. Just when I was taking the photo, I noticed the paint chipping a bit at a few places. I think I should probably add a few more coats and finish with some sort of varnish to protect the coat.

Parasol handle.

The lace edging and the pleated ribbon:

The lace edging and the pleated ribbon decoration.

The tie:

The tie.

The protective case:

The protective case for the parasol.

And one more:

The finished restored parasol.

Making the hat

First, I removed the crown from the hat and took out some of the height. Then I sewed it back in place.

Taking apart a paper straw hat.

The braided paper braid looked pretty, so I decided to use it. I played around with different shapes and decided to make this weird fan or bow like decoration.

Straw braid decoration.

Edwardian hats were famous for having a huge amount of decoration, all they way to having whole stuffed birds sitting on them. I had bought some ostrich feathers and I had artificial flowers, different kinds of silks and lace and the challenge was to make something that looked attractive out of them.

Designing the hat decoration.

The first thing I settled on was this gigantic bow out of silk. It is the same silk that I used on the parasol but making the hat pre-dates the parasol.

The rest of the hat decorations turned out to be more tricky. I wanted to make the crown look bigger, so I covered it with tulle and silk to make it look more voluminous. The ostrich feathers were perfect but I couldn’t justify the cost of buying more than two of them as they were pretty pricey. (Btw. if you are looking for ostrich feathers, check the stores that sell equipment for fly-fishers that make their own flies. The shop I visited had ostrich feathers dyed to all the colours of the rainbow and if I would have wanted to decorate my hat with whole bird wings (historically correct, but icky!), those would have been there for sale, too!)

The more stuff you add, the more historically correct it looks. Alas, just pouring a box of artificial flowers on top of my hat-in-making wouldn’t do!

A box full of artificial flowers always makes an impact!

Finally I ditched the flowers that were too bright and went with much more subdued colours. I curled my ostrich feathers with my flat iron (yes, the one I use for my hair!) and sewed them on to the silk on the crown.

The finished Edwardian hat.

I’m pretty happy how the hat looks from this side. I still thing that the other side looks a bit boring. I may still need to add one more ostrich feather at some point. However, I love this picture that my husband took late one evening of me with my finished hat!

Walking in the meadow and wearing my hat.

The hat and the parasol

Here, finally are pictures of the hat and the parasol together. I wear my blue linen skirt and my Wearing History 1900-1910s blouse. Here you can see the white cotton lawn underside of the canopy:

The underside of the parasol is plain white cotton lawn.
Just trying to look cool with my fancy new parasol!

I like this picture below! It’s like a summery version of Mary Poppins!

Like a summer version of a Mary Poppins!

Isn’t this a perfect outfit to stroll along a cobblestone path?

Just strolling along the cobblestone path with my parasol.

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Happy sewing and stay safe!


I am a mother of two. I sew, knit and create and blog about it.


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