Return to Captain America – making a parasol (or parashield or shieldasol)

So the last time I posted about Cap was over a year ago 😬

Somewhere in the beginning of the year, I decided to go back to this costume, just in case Jordan Con ended up happening. Well, it didn’t get rescheduled for April, but it did get scheduled for July, plus vaccines seemed pretty darn effective (no really, get vaccinated for fucks sake so we can all play dressup together). So luckily in February I started work on something that would take no fitting (because fitting is hard and I don’t like it wah) but was a million percent integral to my costume – the shield / parasol!

This was literally the entire genesis of the costume idea. “How can I make a recognizable Victorian Avenger -> that shield is round like a parasol -> heeeeeeyo”

I got myself a parasol frame from Vena Cava, borrowed the Truly Victorian parasol pattern from my friend at Pigs in Pajamas, and got to work.

A quick test cutting out 10 triangles of muslin wasn’t long enough even though I swear I measured?

Do you know how long it takes to cut out 10 triangles? A WHILE.

But it was close enough that I cut the next “mockup” out of the lining with a bunch of extra seam allowance on the bottom, figuring that I could always tweak that if it didn’t work. In a great stroke of luck, I already had this gray cotton sateen from Renaissance Fabrics (purchased a while ago from a gift card with no project in mind!), and it’s the perfect lining – stiff enough not to get stretched out of shape in a parasol, and also mimicking silver metal. System win for the stash!

Yeah that’s good
A little extra squidge at the top, but I figured I could get rid of that in the outer fabric by sewing my lines more carefully

Thank Thor that my frame had 10 spokes, and the Captain America shield is a 5 pointed star, because holy deities that made my life infinitely easier in trying to do the math. Aka 2 triangles of spokes would make up one point of the star and all my seam lines would line up with spokes (instead of the awfulness of drawing a 5 pointed star pattern on a 6 or 8 spoke frame).

I figured out the proportions by holding a ruler up to pictures of the shield on my computer. Turns out I could have just divided the radius by 4 because each section was an equal size.

Then the BEYOND TEDIOUS work of cutting out each pattern piece. 6 pieces times 10 panels equals SIXTY PIECES to cut out. And I traced each one individually and added seam allowance because this needed to be absolutely precise to line up in a circle by the end.

I do not understand people who like quilting and do this on a regular basis.

Then just the job of sewing them together. I ended up sewing each piece together right side to right side, pressing all the seams towards the outside of the shield, and topstitching each piece for extra security (since I figured there would be a lot of tension on them when the parasol was open).

And yes I changed the thread color each time to match.
It’s so great when your project starts to look like an Actual Thing.

Next up sewing the pieces together, and it turns out when things shift by a millimeter it is FRIGGIN NOTICEABLE. (At least to me).

I was resigned to sewing all 10 panels together by hand, when I had the revelation that the problem was because of how I was pinning these.

I was putting the pin straight up and down matching the spot where the pin poked through. But because this had 4 layers hopping down to 2 layers (because of the topstitching), the pin was shifting things by that fractional amount when I angled it to stick the pin back through. Behold crappy mspaint drawing to explain:

The layers start out together, but the top and bottom pink dots end up off when the pin is angled.

I ended up basting all the layers together by hand using quilters clips to hold them together, and phew that worked!

So matched!

Ok some of them still ended up a bit off but at that point I could not be bothered to fix it.

womp womp, please don’t stare this close at my parasol.

Then it got placed on the frame, and the seam allowance was tacked through the rib tips.

I apparently also basted the hem down to ensure it would be even. Note how badly the supima cotton wants to fray.
Same for the lining on the underside, tacked to the ribs in a couple places to make sure it wouldn’t droop down.

And then carefully whipstitched the outer fabric to the lining to hide all the insides!

While lined parasols are historical (if not super common to my understanding), I’m not sure that the rib tips were encased between the two layers the way I did here. I did this to make it look more like a shield and less like a parasol, but I can’t document this at all.

And the para-shield was done! Quick sneak peak of what it looked like open (cropping out the full costume for a future post coming soon).

Your reminder that it’s morally ok to punch Nazis, because they would literally like to wipe people like me from existence.

The best part of this really is that this cutie now calls this shirt his umbrella shirt, because he thinks this is a pattern for umbrellas, not having a damn clue what Captain America or shields or the MCU are.

This entry was posted in 1880s, Accessories, Captain America Bustle. Bookmark the permalink.

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