Repairing my patio umbrella fabric


Im trying to sew the many split portions of the thick canvas that have come apart. i am using a heavy duty needle and thread but it is very difficult to push through and is taking me forever to do. Do any of my Hometalk members have a better and easier solution for me.

  11 answers
  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Jun 12, 2021

    Hello. I have the same problem with sewing thick difficult or multilayered fabrics . I find that if you obtain an inexpensive medical needle holder from Amazon or use a fishing hook forcept found in the ( Walmart) sporting department to be very useful for in and out application of my difficult sewing needs. It may be a worthwhile purchase for you to consider. This type of equipment gives you driving strength to push the needle through your material. They come in several sizes which is the length of the tool. I purchased a small and a taller one. Personally I use my needle holders over and over as projects demand.

    Additionally I find a curved upholstery needle that is a semi circle shaped to be the easiest to try to make edges meet. (Actually that’s the same way it’s done in the operating room)

  • Cheryl A Cheryl A on Jun 12, 2021

    see if any of these help you if not wait for a sale and replace it

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Jun 12, 2021

    A curved shaped needle for upholstery would work, to make it go through the heavy fabric easier you could put bar soap on it, especially on the point. Use a thimble to help push it through. Once through the fabric, it could be pulled with needle nosed pliers.

  • Janice Janice on Jun 12, 2021

    Hi Sharon, a curved upholstery needle may help you a lot with your project. Dritz makes them in several different sizes in a package you can probably find at a JoAnns, Michaels or Hobby Lobby. Somehow the curve seems to help get the needle through the material much easier. Hope this helps

  • Hi Sharon,

    The previous suggestions are all good options if you're certain that you want to sew it. However, if you're just looking for a quick fix, you could use a canvas patch kit. It's easy to find these online, and they don't require any great!

    Hope this helps you get back to the shade quickly! icon

  • Mogie Mogie on Jun 12, 2021
    How to Sew a Patio Umbrella

  • Dee Dee on Jun 12, 2021

    Use Tent Patch kits, they are strong and require no sewing. They last.

    1. Take a piece of canvas and cut a small patch. ...
    2. Glue the patch to the inside of the umbrella being sure to completely cover the tear.
    3. Repeat the process by gluing another patch over the tear to the outside of the umbrella.
    4. Apply weight to the patches and allow the glue to dry completely.

  • Betsy Betsy on Jun 12, 2021

    Hi Sharon: Use a thinner needle if you can, and outdoor thread. If you can pull the thread through a bar of soap as you go along, or even a candle, to make it slippery, that may help. If the tears are in an area where you can put a patch, cut a patch larger, at least 1/2 inch all around, glue it down top and bottom sides with an outdoor glue, and then you can do a blanket stitch around the edges for a better hold. You can even glue patches of different types of material to give your umbrella a sort of Bohemian look, like you patched it on purpose :) Instead of sewing the blanket stitch on all of these patches, use a permanent marker, narrow tip, and 'paint' stitches all around :) You can get Tear Mender Instant Fabric and Leather Adhesive or Gorilla Waterproof Fabric Glue at Walmart

    Good luck

  • Flipturn Flipturn on Jun 12, 2021

    I would not recommend using a curved needle.

    Curved needles are not always thicker or stronger than heavy duty needles, and they are not the easiest to work with. Curved needles are intended to be used to sew areas for which the needle can not reach through to the underside (such as upholstery covers.) They are generally not used for flat sewing projects. As well, many curved needles widely available in 'mini kits' are not very good quality as they bend or break easily.

    Vimarhonar has the correct answer: to use a needle gripper when pushing and pulling the needle through the heavy fabric.

    Of course, extra strong thread should also be used when sewing outdoor canvas items.

  • Flipturn Flipturn on Jun 13, 2021


    From re-reading your question again, I am wondering if I have the correct understanding of what you are referring to as 'split portions'. icon Has the canvas ripped and is pulling apart, or has the stitching in one of the seams come undone? The nature of the 'split' will determine the best way to repair the area.

    Might you be able to post a picture so we can see what exactly you are working with?

  • You can get upholstery needles or needles made to stitch heavy materials like boat canvas.

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