The umbrella holder

How to attach my umbrella to my backpack

A pink umbrella clasped in an umbrella holder made of ribbon, attached to the side of a pink backpack.

The umbrella holder! Umbrella clasp? I wasn't sure what to call this lol. But, back before I moved to England, even during my first trip to James Smith & Sons, I had already been contemplating how I can attach this to the side of my backpack. Especially when moving to England, where the rain is common, and I generally want it with me daily, how I can I easily attach it to my bag.

On that note though, JAMES SMITH & SONS!!! I booked my first trip hotel entirely around this store! I had done research before the trip, looking for famous umbrella makers. I wanted a proper British bumpershoot, and somewhat based my trip around this store alone. Oh my goodness this store is incredible, lifetime warrantee, and I love this umbrella so much!

And so, after moving to England, we set about creating a way to attach the umbrella to my backpack. I first hunted around for some suitable ribbon, honestly a difficult task, but soon found this patterned pink ribbon that had a prairie vibe to it, and fit with the rest of the colours. Oh my goodness, now this thing took like... 15 hours of hand-stitching all told. I started with, of course, just the long length of it, and fitting the central ribbon to gently but not too losely hold onto the closed umbrella. Next was the bottom ring, which is actually, no not a chainmaille ring quite, I didn't have one of the exact right size, but a stainless steel keyring that was resized to just nicely fit up to the top of the metal tip of the umbrella. Also the metal was coated in rubber cement to make it waterproof. I then wrapped said ring in ribbon, and attached it to the main ribbon strip, picking the length based on, ok, I can attach the central ribbon to the backpack at X location, at the top of the wasteband of the backpack, and to then hang the umbrella midway up the backpack, meaning about equal amounts of umbrella extend past the backpack above and below. I ended up adjusting this by about a centimeter at the end, just a bit more sewing involved, all good all good. For the top, I created an open loop at the highest point of pink backpack fabric, where the pink extends below the back pocket zipper, basically making it as close to the zipper as possible without interfering with it.

I made a clasp for the upper loop using a metal clasp and chainmaille ring (1/4" 18ga stainless steel), but designed in a way that the ring is completely contained in ribbon where it's held, and the clasp slides through a loop and then doubles back to the ring, so that when clasped, none of the metal pieces will be touching the umbrella. Stainless steel all of them, but still, keeping the metal from touching the umbrella fabric. Also, and this was a bit of a coincidence, the wrist strap for the umbrella hangs just low enough that I can easily slide the open loop through it before clasping it closed, so that the strap doesn't swing around, and also acts as an extra insurance that the umbrella is incapable of falling out.

The basket at the bottom came last, after realizing that I wanted a way to stop the tip from getting scuffed when I set the bag down (the loops are loose enough that the umbrella easily swings forward when I set it down, enough to lay it down easily). I wanted a fairly solid bottom, and so when geocaching, I basically hunted around on the ground for hard bits of plastic that might suffice. Not only did I soon find one, but it had silicone on what would become the inside of the base of the basket for added protection! An unidentifiable round piece of plastic, may have been the cap to a silicone tube or something. In either case, I trimmed that to size, added a solid siding to the basket by way of another keyring, bend to the right size and extended to the right height, and also covered in rubber cement for protection. I then sewed ribbon overtop of the entire thing, inside and out (more inside padding!), two layers actually, since the ribbon looked slightly darker with only one layer over the metal (same with the ring above it). I then sewed on two small straps that held the basket to the bottom ring, and we were complete! It came out incredible, it works like a charm, and we were pleased ^_^

And so, the umbrella-holder complete. Simple, yet effective.

Finished April 20, 2023

A checkerboard patterned pink ribbon attached to the side of a pink backpack, with three loops, one at the top with a tightening clasp, one about two thirds down at a set size, and a tiny loop and basket at the bottom to hold the tip of the umbrella.

A pink umbrella clasped in the umbrella holder, the tip inside of the basket at the bottom, through the middle loop, and clipped in at the top, with the strap for the umbrella also held by the top ribbon.

Kabutroid standing outside, wearing a pink sweater, blue jeans, and her pink backpack with the umbrella attached. The base of the umbrella is held close to the body, while the handle is held a little bit away from the head, which works to keep the bottom from snagging onto anyone or anything that you pass beside, while the top is kept from bumping against your head as you look around. It wasn't planned this way, but it works better than expected!

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