Saturday, August 12, 2017

All decked out in white stripes and ball fringe and nowhere to go but my own backyard!

A happy weekend to all you lovely creatures!

You may be wondering what kind of outfit I've created with the items in this photo.'s a five-year project. Not that I've worked on it for five years, but I finally finished it in year five! And it's not an outfit as you will see.

It all started in the summer of 2012. On one particular Sunday in July our home would be the meeting place for a morning church service. The new church that we were instrumental in starting back in 2012 had been meeting in a room at the Stratford Town Hall. A few times during that year, the meeting room was reserved for the Town Hall Board of Directors. Consequently, the church group needed to have their morning worship service elsewhere and we opened our home for two of those times.

On one of two occasions we hosted the church service was in July, and after the morning service a pot luck lunch would be served. As it was summer, using our back deck at midday meant lots of hot sunshine and no shade other than sitting under the umbrella table which could only accommodate eight people. Our budget didn't allow for some type of overhead covering to be constructed to provide shade nor did we have the knowledge of tackling that kind of project. Here is where my brainstorm came into play.

I wanted to sew a canopy of sorts but this required some logistical measures and creativity of how to hang such canopy over part of the deck to provide a decent area of shade.

Here is what I came up with:
Here is the back wall of our deck as it looks today. See those three skinny wooden poles sticking up above the wall? I provided the ideas - husband provided the skill of attaching such poles. At the top of each skinny pole is a hook. The large pole you see in the foreground needed to be added as well and there are wires connecting that pole to the clothes line pole (to the left - out of sight in the photo) and to the house (to the right - out of sight in the photo). Later, an additional wire was secured to this pole and the skinny one on the right side of the back deck wall.

My idea - two triangle-shaped canopies would be attached to the back deck wall (via the hooks) and the pointed ends of both canopies would be hooked to the large pole you see in the foreground.

Regular outdoor fabric would be expensive and bulky to work with and I wanted something I could throw in the washing machine. I was very fortunate that the local fabric store was having a sale on double-wide tablecloth fabric - buy one meter, get two free!! Yes!

I don't have photos of the whole process - only the end result. Didn't know I would someday have a blog and post about it! Picture this - After determining how long each triangle canopy would be, plus extra fabric, I started with a long rectangle of fabric. I measured and marked where the two back corners would be (of the rectangle)  and where they'd be hooked to the skinny poles on the deck wall.

I then hemmed the end of the rectangle, inserted a grommet into each corner, then hung that end on the hooks on two of the skinny poles (on the deck wall). Next, I grabbed the other end of this long fabric rectangle and went to the large pole in the middle of the deck. Using a step stool to get up to where there were two hooks side by side on this large pole (where the top points of the triangle canopies would be hooked), I grabbed the center of this end of the rectangle fabric and marked where I would put a single grommet.

If you can follow what I'm doing - I'm still working with a very long piece of fabric still in a rectangle shape. I would cut the excess off after the canopy was hung and thus create a triangle canopy. Get it?

After marking the spot on the "triangle" end of this rectangle fabric, I put in one grommet and hung it on the large pole. I repeated this process with the other large piece of rectangle fabric for the second canopy. Here they are hanging side by side. See the photos below. I had loads of fabric hanging down each side - because you remember, one end was "square" with a grommet in each corner and the opposite end was a triangle point with one grommet - hooked to the large center pole.  (I don't have a photo of the canopies before I chopped off the sides.) Then I took my scissors and roughly chopped off the excess fabric, making a long rectangle canopy into a triangle canopy - two triangle canopies hanging side by side!
Photo taken in 2012.

In this photo, you can see the edge of our white umbrella - which we don't have anymore. We now have a red umbrella over our table. This photo was from 2012.
This photo is from 2012.
As you can see, the sides of the canopy and the triangle end still have excess fabric. But at this time, the canopy was finished enough and ready for the church potluck!

Because it is very windy here and this part of the deck gets hit hard, we've had to put rubber grommets over the hooks to keep the canopies from flying off!  Really!  And because of the high winds at times, the grommets on the rectangle end of the canopies had to be replaced and the fabric reinforced since then.

Two summers ago the grommets on one canopy had to be replaced a second time and I put that project off. I also didn't finish the sides nor did I trim the excess fabric from the pointed end which hangs down around the large pole. Last summer the canopies lay dormant in storage. But this summer - though it's almost over - I was determined to finally finish the canopies with white ball fringe! And I reinforced and replaced the grommets on one canopy.

As these canopies are made with regular fabric, I can only leave them hanging out for a few days at a time before rain and/or moisture causes mold. I pop them into the washer and they're as good as new!

And now they look even better trimmed and sewn with tiny ball fringe! I originally wanted to do red ball fringe but was afraid that washing the canopies would turn them pink and I didn't want to take the chance.

Here's my process of sewing the fringe on and installing new grommets. The red/white striped squares you see are the first reinforcement I had to do, and now I've had to add extra fabric (a triple layer of woven interfacing) for a second reinforcement to one of the canopies.

This is one canopy folded in half so I can trim the sides of excess fabric - even it out as best I can so the tiny ball fringe can be sew on two sides of the triangle canopy.
Here are the two end corners of one canopy.

Adding the tiny ball fringe.
Here's where I install the grommets - on a cement block covered with a towel on the floor of my sewing room.

I reinforced one canopy in the two corners with woven interfacing. Then installed new grommets.

Here's my cement block that I asked Bill to carry upstairs to my sewing room. It sits on a small blue towel so I can easily slide it under my sewing table and easily pull it out when I want to use it. I use the white towel on top to protect the project I'm working on from getting dirty, etc.

I use a rubber mallet when installing the grommets.
Here are the two canopies attached at the triangle ends to the large center pole in the middle of the deck. You can see that I didn't bother hemming the end! :-) But I did trim off the excess fabric that used to hang down around the pole.
Here's a view where one corner of the rectangle end is attached to a skinny pole on the deck wall.
Here's a view of the left side of the deck wall.
Here's a view of both canopies attached to the large center pole
A close up view of the ball fringe.

And a view of underneath where the two canopies hang side by side.

More views for you to enjoy!

My canopy project is finally finished! It works very well and I must say I'm quite pleased that I was able to craft this canopy creation from the crevices of my mind! Perhaps this project will get your creative juices flowing and you'll brainstorm a backyard beauty for yourself!

Until next time.....
"Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established." Proverbs 16:3


  1. Oh Linda, it looks fabulous! I just love what you did with this pretty white fabric and it looks perfect on your back porch. What a beautiful and relaxing place to sit during the summertime.

    Congratulations on finishing your fun project. Hugs to you!

    1. Hi Stephanie! Thanks! It is a very nice place to sit and relax. I love having my breakfast out there at the umbrella table. Glad to have finished the canopy project. HUGS back! :-)