Saturday, January 4, 2014

Costume Victorian parasols

Victorian era parasols are so beautiful, but they can be expensive or too delicate to use often.  While it's certainly possible to find an antique bargain, you don't always feel comfortable bringing your antiques to an event.  That's why I like to find modern reproductions to use when necessary.  They are sturdier and less expensive, so I'm not heartbroken if something happens to it. Over the years I've found a few nice ones.

Back around 2006 an accessory designer named Deborah Lewis was selling beautiful silk folding parasols.  I got a black one with brass hardware and I love it very much!  OK, I admit I'd be heartbroken if something happened to this one!

Sadly, she seems to have disappeared from the accessories market and finding her parasols is difficult.

Another one I got that I like very much is a 30" long blonde wood handle with a white canopy covered in black lace.  The tag says  I found it online for about $35.00 at Uniquely Yours Victorian Apparel and Gifts, but I don't think the shop is around anymore.  Ugh, not helpful and I'm sorry!

This one has a 30" long medium wood tone handle with an ivory pongee canopy trimmed with ivory roses around the edge.  I got it on Ebay a couple of years ago for a BIN $19.99.  I've since tried to find it again and had no luck, and the tag only says "100% pongee".  I expect it pops up every now and then.

This one I got from The Victorian Trading Co a year or so ago for about $35.00.  The price has gone up since then, though I don't know why.  White cotton eyelet with a 33"long blonde wood handle. They cost $25/each if you buy 5!  If you just want one, you can get it from The Museum of the Confederacy for $45.00 or Amazon for $50.00 (If you have Amazon Prime, free shipping might make that the better option.)

Right now on Ebay, a seller called fde1pce is selling these great looking reproductions in either white or black with a choice of handle styles.  Handle length is perfect and so is the price!  

Another choice, if you want to recover your own to match your dress, is to buy a nylon costume parasol, remove the cover and use it to create a pattern you can use to recover it with your own fabric. They are pretty inexpensive if you shop around (Ebay sellers for some reason charge double, I've found.)  These are from Halloween Supply Store and cost $8.50.

Here's a link to someone who created a tutorial, but grab it fast because I hear the Belle Alley is being taken down in March:  SO SAD!  I learned so much from the tutorials on that site.

One type of parasol that I avoid is the Battenburg lace parasol.  While they have a super pretty cover, the handle lengths are generally too short.  If you find one, make sure the handle from bottom to top is at least 30" long.  I also avoid the ones that have curved plastic handles.  The straight handles are a better choice for a parasol.

If you have some serious cash you are willing to plunk down for a reproduction, visit:


  1. I adore both the dresses you are wearing there! I need more money/time so I can have more Victorian gowns! Planning on starting on some simple patterns soon!

  2. Thanks, Laura! Good luck with your projects!

  3. Ooooh! All of those are fabulous! I especially like the one you are using with your faublous white dress!!

  4. Very nice selection! That first one is gorgeous.
    I collect and (when I find time) recover vintage and antique parasols. I'd caution that the super cheap ones listed last are what you'd expect for the price, and the mechanism doesn't last necessarily long (plastic slider). I used one for training before recovering a vintage frame. If you put a lot of time and nice fabric into it, you might consider looking for a vintage frame or one of the slightly more expensive parasols around.

  5. ProfessorBats, thanks for your insight on costume parasols! Yes, I also have recovered an antique frame. It's wonderful to bring those old beauties back to life for another round of parties and sunshine!