Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Build Your Own Tipi - Teepee - Wigwam!

Last week as the sun started shining I wanted to get my little girl some exciting things for the garden.  I was initially looking into some little pop-up tents when I came across a couple of amazing tipis - so much prettier and lovelier!  They are so fun but I didn't really want to spend too much money so I decided to give one a go myself.

You will need:
- 4 metres of 44" width fabric or 2.5 metres of 60" width fabric for main body of tipi
- 5 x strips of fabric measuring 3" by 60" for the pole casing
- 5 x 6ft bamboo canes (or other similar poles)
- 2 x 44" pieces of bias binding
- 4 x 16" strips of fabric/bias binding for ties
- small piece of fabric and Bondaweb for star patch

I got my star fabric as an emergency purchase from Dunelm Mill - I desperately wanted to start making this and didn't want to spend the normal few days researching!  I had a meeting in Eastbourne and was passing so I popped in.  Saw this immediately and loved it! I also got 10 6ft bamboo canes from B&Q for under £4.

1. Cut 5 triangles to this size:
You'll need to do this in different ways depending on your width of fabric.  If you have 60" width fabric you can zigzag your way across the fabric until you have 5 pieces - they'll be slightly taller than 60" but that's fine (just adjust other measurements accordingly).  If you have 44" width fabric (like I did) it's a bit trickier but you can definitely do it with 4.5 metres. 

2.  Cut 6 inches off the top of each triangle.

3.  Fold down (twice) and press the hems at the top and bottom of each triangle.

4.  Stitch your hems.

5.  Measure the finished side length of your triangles.  Your 5 strips for pole casings need to be this length plus a couple of inches for your hems.  Mine measured 56" by 2.75".  Fold down (twice) press and stitch.

6.  Fold strips in half and press.

7.  Take 2 of your large hemmed triangle pieces.  Lay one right side up.  Line the pole casing up against the raw edge (as shown in photo) and lay another triangle piece right side down.  Pin in place.  Using a 3/8 inch seam allowance (approx. 1cm), sew this seam.  Trim seam allowance.

8.  Take another 2 triangles and repeat step 7.  You will now have 2 separate pieces made up of two large triangles with casing stitched in between.  Now repeat this step to join these two parts of your tipi together.  You will now have one single piece of work in the following order: triangle, casing, triangle, casing, triangle, casing, triangle.  Put this to one side for the moment.

9.  You should have one large triangle piece left.  Fold this in half and press.  Cut along the fold line until approx. 9 inches from the top of the piece - the cut will measure approx 44 inches.

10.  Take 2 pieces of bias binding (folded and pressed) and stitch in place along the cut fabric.  To neaten the bottom of opening allow an extra inch of binding and fold it up before sewing.

11.  Iron an 8cm x 8cm piece of Bondaweb to a piece of yellow fabric.  Cut out the shape of a star and then iron it to the top end of the opening, placing it a few millimetres over the top of the binding.  Of course you don't have to have a star - most other shapes will do the same job!

12.  Use a zigzag stitch to sew around the outside of the star patch, securing it in place as well as strengthening the opening.

13.  Use ribbon or binding (pressed and sewn in half) and place and pin somewhere along both sides of the opening using even spacing.  Mine were 14 inches apart.  Sew in place.

14.  Now sew this last triangle piece to the rest of the tipi along the two seams using the same process as in point 7, with the pole casing placed in between the fabrics.

15.  All your sewing should now be done!  Feed the bamboo canes into the pole casings.  Spread out the tipi and use ribbon, binding or a strip of fabric to tie the poles where they cross over (approx. 1ft from the top of the poles) to keep them secure.

16.  All done!  Have yourself a pow-wow!

If I'm honest my pole casings didn't always match the exact length of the side of the triangles - I think partly because I was so desperate to finish it before it stopped being sunny and partly because my triangles were a bit uneven too!  But fortunately little J doesn't seem to care!

1 comment:

  1. As an update to this tutorial, I have found that sometimes the poles slip from the desired position even with the tie around the top. To prevent this it is possible to make small holes through your poles (bamboo canes or whatever you used) at the point at which they criss-cross and feed some string or wire through and tie securely (although not too tight as they need enough space to fold up). This way they will always cross over at the desired point to ensure the sides of your teepee are in the right position.

    Please let me know how you get on!