We bought two sun umbrellas in 2001 and they have lasted incredibly well. Although Max has repaired two struts, to our amazement both of the umbrella structures have survived a vast amount of use.
One of the canopies, though, finally came to the end of its useful life. It was hanging on, quite literally, by a thread but when we opened it up this year a mouse had chewed a couple of holes and it was time to change it.
I started with the easy option. I looked on amazon, I looked in ebay, I put in every search option I could think of and came up with nothing.
Finally I came across umbrella recovery in Canada. You send them some basic measurements and choose a colour. They make up the canopy and send it to you. Really efficient but unfortunately for two umbrellas they would be too expensive.
The obvious answer was to make one myself. I have the facilities, an industrial sewing machine and am able to buy all sorts of fabric at trade prices. My upholstery supplier came up trumps and I came home with 6,6 metres of fabric. This sounds a lot and I had to do the calculation three times before I was convinced but I finished up with less than 20cms left over - those panels take a lot of fabric.
Once I had cut the fabric the hardest part was manipulating it all through the sewing machine. Max helped me and the walking foot of the Mitsubishi did a great job.
Seams done, we put on the pockets for the struts and then took it out of the workroom and put it on the umbrella to check the fit. It seemed pretty good.
The last job was the wind vent. This is a large circle that is stitched in eight places (for an 8-panel canopy). It allows the wind to escape and stops the umbrella taking off. Again it was fiddly attaching it but again the Mitsubishi's walking foot saved me a lot of hassle.
And so we again have a sun umbrella outside the kitchen where it will be well used throughout the summer. Now I know how (relatively) straightforward it is I will buy the fabric for the second one to be used by the swimming pool.