Changing Mat From Broken Umbrellas




Introduction: Changing Mat From Broken Umbrellas

About: I yam what I yam.

After getting in my way constantly I nearly discarded these broken umbrellas. I've been hanging on to them trying to figure out what to do with them. Inspiration to make this changing mat hit me while working on a diaper bag that my cousin requested of me. I've never used a diaper changing mat and wasn't quite sure what one looked like, so the design is unique.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

- One or two umbrellas (depending on the size of your mat and umbrellas)
- A towel
- Decorative material
- Rope


-  Sharp and pointed knife (X-acto type)
-  Scissor
-  Sewing machine
-  Yard stick

A note on material choices.

Consider using a shower curtain liner if you do not have an umbrella.

Your umbrella is probably plain nylon. Plain nylon will be water repellent but not water proof. If you let something sit on the surface long enough it will soak through. To have something waterproof you will need silnylon or a polyurethane coated nylon.

Step 2: Disassemble the Umbrella(s)

This is a fairly simple process. Most umbrellas are stitched fast to the hardware. Use a sharp pointed knife to cut the stitching that attaches the material to the frame. The very top of the umbrella will most likely unscrew.

Well, I found a use for the material; what shall I do with the hardware now?

Step 3: Prep and Cut the Nylon (umbrella Material)

There will be a hole in the center of your material. If you plan to use most of the material then you will need to get rid of the hole. That is an idea for a philosophical debate. Getting rid of the absence of something. Anyway, an easy way to do this is to fold the umbrella in half and create a new seem just to the side of the hole. Fold the umbrella in half so it's seams are facing out then sew your new seam.

Now that you have a piece of material without holes you can proceed to cut out your pieces. The mat I made was roughly the size of a hand towel. The towel will be used later in the mat.

Find a way to stretch out the umbrella material before cutting it. I cut a template out of a piece of cardboard and pulled the umbrella tight around it. You may try taping the umbrella to a flat surface before cutting it. We don't want too many wrinkles in our mat. Some add a quilted look but too many are just ugly.

Step 4: Cut Your Border Material.

"Measure" around the edge of your cut umbrella with the rope. Add a little extra length to your estimate and cut your rope. The rope I was using is old cloths line rope.

Cut strips of material that when put end to end will be as long as the rope. Each strip should also have a little extra (in the long direction) length so it can attach to the other pieces of material. The material must be wide enough to wrap around the rope and create a seam. 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide should be good.

Step 5: Make the Cording

Create a finished end:
Fold over the end of one strip to create a seam.
This will be the starting end of your cording.

Attach the strips of material together:
Place two pieces of material face to face and align the ends.
Create a seam where the two ends meet.

Sew the material around the cordage:
Fold the material in half around the rope/cordage.
Sew the material together using the zipper foot on your sewing machine.

The end of the strip of material with the seam is the beginning of your cording. Start sewing your material together a few inches in from this end. You will need the end of the cording loose later on.

Step 6: Attach the Cording

The rough edge of the cording should be to the outside of your material. Start somewhere in the middle of a side when attaching the cording, this will make finishing the loop easier. Leave a bit of the beginning of the material loose. Once you have sewn the cording all the way around the edges of your mat you will need to make the ends meet. Cut off some rope from the starting end of the cording but leave the material intact. Cut off the finishing end of the material so that it meets the beginning of the rope. Wrap the excess material from the start of your cording around the end of the rope then attach it to the mat.

Step 7: Attach the Second Piece of Material

Using the zipper foot again; Attach the second piece of material over top of the cording. Start sewing about 1/3 of the way from an end and end 1/3 of the way from an end. You need to leave a little gap in your sew line so the mat can be inverted and the towel can be inserted later. It may be helpful to leave the gap large enough to insert your hand.

I am uncertain if it would work to attach the towel now. I wanted to know I could stretch it out and quilt it fast to both the front and back layers of nylon so I decided to add it last. My thinking is that it may work some of the folds out of the nylon if I can stretch it out as I'm sewing it. If I sewed it to one layer first then I may have double sew lines on one side of the mat when I attach the second layer. If you are using a shower curtain or something that isn't bunched up like an umbrella it may be easiest to add the towel now. Just place it on top of the nylon piece you are adding.

Step 8: Cut and Insert Towel

Cut a towel so it fits the interior of your mat.

Roll the towel then insert it into the mat.

Unroll the towel inside of your mat.


Step 9: Smooth and Attach Towel

Work all the lumps and jumbles out of the towel. Push the towel as far into the bottom corners and ends as possible. If you discover the towel is too big, pull it out and trim it.

Once the towel is flat and aligned with the edges; attach it at the bottom (the side that is opposite your opening) of the mat by sewing through the two nylon layers and the towel. I attached the bottom corners first and then along the bottom edge.

Next, run a seam up the center of the mat. Start at the bottom and work towards the top. Be careful to keep the towel aligned and wrinkle free.

Next, create a series of seams that are perpendicular to the center line. Start at the bottom of the mat and work towards the top.

Lastly create two more seams on either side of the center line.

Step 10: Close the Opening

Finish the mat by closing the opening that you had inserted the towel into.

Step 11: Create a Storage Tube

I had extra material from the umbrella so I decided to use it to create a tube to keep the mat in. I added a stripe of color to match the rest of the accessories. I also added two loops so it can be attached to something.

Step 12: Cut the Storage Tube Material

Roll up your tube tightly.

Wrap a piece of material around your mat to determine how wide to make it. Leave a little extra material for the seam. Try not to go too big or too small with the tube diameter. Too big and the mat will not stay in there well. Too small and it will be difficult to put the mat in the tube.

I made the length of my tube slightly shorter than the width of the mat. The ends of my mat stick out a little bit on either end of the tube.

Step 13: Create Two Neat Edges

Do a double fold on the sides of the material that will be the ends of the tube. Sew the ends. It is important that the material remains a perfect rectangle. Be certain that both ends will meet up exactly when the tube is sealed.

Step 14: Create Attachment Loops

Cut two pieces of material to create loops from.
They should be long enough to make a loop and have enough length to sew both sides to the tube.
The width should be four times what you want your loop's width to be.

Fold the material in half the long way.

Sew the material together at the folded end (along the long side)

Invert the material.

Fold in the ends and fold the material in half the long way again.

Sew around the edges to close the open sides.

Determine where you want your loops and attach what you have just made to the open mat tube. Be sure to loop out the center of the strip you are attaching. If your loop is to be an inch long than the attachment points should only be 1/2 inch apart so the extra material sticks up.

Use a box and X pattern when attaching.

Step 15: Add a Splash of Color

Create a stripe of material.

Fold under both edges of the accent material and sew it fast to tube. Be sure that the ends of your accent material will meet up when the tube is sealed.

Step 16: Finish the Tube

Finish the tube by creating a French seam.
Fold the material in half the long way with the outside showing.
Create a seam.
Invert the material and sew a second seam to enclose the first.
Turn the material right side out again.

Step 17: Give the Mat to a Soon to Be Mom



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    3 Discussions

    I love how you used old umbrellas. So cool! Good source of waterproof fabric that you wouldn't ordinarily think of. gives me ideas - thanks

    2 replies

    I was searching online and I guess some umbrellas are made using waterproof fabric. The ones I had were pretty cheap and looked like nylon to me. One was a freebie with a company logo on it. A lot of them are made from polyester too.

    I try not to buy things. :) Be careful of the application. Umbrellas are just nylon, not silnylon. They are water resistant but not water proof. It will wick away water but if left on long enough can soak through. I did see a tutorial online where a person used baby oil(I think) and silicon caulking to make his own silnylon.