Glorias’ employers gifted us a cast aluminium “bistro-style” patio table, four chairs and a matching love seat as a wedding present back in May 1988, shortly afterwards we purchased a parasol, table cloth and cushions for the set. We weren’t keen on the typical ’80s floral pattern but they were needed. Whilst looking the part, cold hard aluminium was not the most comfortable thing to sit on.
When we moved to my family home our “wedding present” came with us.
After erecting our summerhouse a couple of years later we decided it needed some roller blinds to “dress” the windows and french doors. While searching one of the local markets for suitable material we found a wide striped green and white fabric we both loved and purchased as much as we could afford. We had enough to make the summerhouse roller blinds, to re-cover the parasol, make a new tablecloth and cushion covers and, later, to add a roller blind to the shed window.
Some 15 years on, the material was starting to look a little jaded and we began hunting for a suitable replacement, preferably a similar green stripe. We had looked after the original as best we could but the ravages of time, sunshine and the weather eventually started to fade and weaken it.
Sadly, we never found a suitable replacement in Glorias’ lifetime.
Our story picks up again in the early spring of 2020. Neighbours were moving away and they had a similar cast aluminium patio set. It was surplus to their requirements and had suffered the ravages of the weather as well, but stripped and re-painted, with cushions a table cloth and a parasol it would look the part once again. I asked if they wanted it and before I knew it, it was mine.
Now more cushions and a table cloth and parasol needed to be made, as well as updating our originals and so the hunt for our green stripe material started again.
Gloria must have been in cohorts with Google the day I stumbled on the website for “Lush Fabric” in Liverpool. They appeared to have exactly what we had been looking for all those years. A sample was quickly dispatched, and shortly after I purchased enough material for “everything” with some to spare. (It was Gloria who was amazing at sewing, I can only do the basics and buttonholes! The extra couple of metres is my “safety blanket”…)
Matching the material turned out to be the easy part, trying to get a snap-in ring for the parasol hole in the second tablecloth was just about impossible (I still had the original for the cloth we made which is perfectly fine). Fruitless googling found some which were far too big for my needs and the wrong colour, but the 3D printer and a pair of callipers came to the rescue…
I printed this in white PLA with an infill of 100% which probably wasn’t necessary because the model is quite thin, but a resolution of 0.12mm gave a nice finish. The “snap” was printed upside down to provide the best finish on the “outside” of the ring when assembled.
The ring has an outer diameter around 54mm and a clearance hole for the parasol shaft of 32mm. The hole in the tablecloth needs to be around 36mm in diameter but it is better to err on the side of caution when cutting the material, the hole can always be enlarged, making it smaller, that’s another story!
The only tricky part in the design was getting the size of the snap correct, no so tight that it was difficult to fit or broke the extrusion when removing, and not so loose that it fell off with the slightest tug.