About: Sewing machine, needle, thread and all sorts of different fabrics are the objects like to work with in my spare time. Ilike creating something out of waste or anything at hand. The activity of growing plants...

The Netherlands are famous for Tulips, Stroopwafels, mills, but also for the rainy weather!

Dutch people don't seems that worried though and walking on the streets you suddenly see a popping out of colourful umbrellas.

Certainly for an Italian spirit like me at the beginning was a bit of a shock but It didn't take very long for me to realised the potential of it.

During these tutorial I will guide you throw the realisation of a swimming short starting from a broken umbrella.


As I said in the Netherlands it Is pretty easy to find umbrellas on the floor but I'm sure it is possible quite everywhere, consider that:

- every umbrellas are good for these (may be not the transparent one).

- from each umbrella you can make 1 swimming short!

- choosing the right umbrella means choosing the pattern of your future swimming shorts.

So let's get started!!


Remove all the metallic components and wash the fabric


There are many ways to make a pattern.

My suggestion is to take same an old shorts that still fits you in size and mark the outline as template.

below a valid example:


Step 4: LAYOUT

- Divide the octagon in the middle in order to work on the right and Left side of your shorts separately.

- position the pattern on the fabric according to the drawing you want to obtain (I made a sketch first just to have an idea)

- mark the outline of the pattern and start cutting.

And don't worry umbrella's fabric don't frays!

Step 5: SEW

After created all the pieces we start sewing them together.

We join in a chronological way the front, the back and just after the inseam.

But before sewing the side we have to make the pockets!

Step 6: POCKET

Once again we are going to cut out the pattern of a pocket from the left over of the umbrella.

- remember to integrate the velcro closure typical of the umbrella, it will be useful to wrap your swimming shorts after!

Step 7: STRING

I really wanted to use only components taken from the umbrella but I didn't make it for the string.
From the moment I break in the rule I allowed you, than, to use an elastic band if you prefer!

Step 8: Enjoy!

the aim of project is to recycled old and broken umbrella to create new objects taking advantage of the main proprieties. I have sewed this pair of swimming shorts using the waterproof fabric of just one umbrella. the result is a light, funny, coloured and quickly drying shorts.

Unusual Uses Challenge 2017

Grand Prize in the
Unusual Uses Challenge 2017



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    13 Discussions

    Hey congrats! Going to be walking the streets looking for abandoned umbrellas now.

    Very good idea! I made it with a light blue umbrella. It wasn't so nice as yours, but...

    I had never thought to put a pattern vertically on a door or wall either. Great tip. Save my back!!

    1 reply

    Very cool - and resourceful! You got my vote, too :)

    1 reply

    This is brilliant. I live in Brussels, the city of abandoned broken umbrellas! I actually kept one at home waiting for inspiration to do something with it, but it's transparent so it won't be a good bathing suit LOL.

    You got my vote! (I'm new to this, what do you get if people vote for you?)

    1 reply

    The transparent version is the future!

    Thanks a lot for your vote and I suggest you to try to apply as well to some contest.

    For each contest there are numerous important prices; take a look under the voice 'prizes' (top left) or at the bottom of the page.

    brilliant. I have an old sentimental brolly and had never thought to repurpose it. I have now a project. Thank you. M