My sister asked me to help her make a Tee Pee for my niece Eva. It was entertaining to make and took us a couple of leisurely afternoons. This Tee Pee is a fun weekend project that can be used either indoors on a rainy day, or in the back yard when the sun is out. We’ve made it with an old bed sheet to save money on fabric. This is a very detailed tutorial so this project will stretch over two posts.
I know you are all super excited to get started on your Tee Pees. This part requires some basic straight line sewing skills. Don’t be intimidated by all the measurements and charts, there are lots of diagrams and pictures to guide you through every step.
So here is Part 2 – Making the outer covering of the Tee Pee
Finished size: around 120cm wide floor space and about 160cm tall.
If you shorten the poles you will get a smaller result
For Part 2 you will need:
- 1x queen size bed sheet (flat) – Choose one that has plenty of life in it, you don’t want a super worn out one that will tear after a few uses.
- Sewing machine and general sewing supplies
- 3 meters 1″ wide bias tape for trims and ties
- measuring tape (with inches)
- soluble fabric marker or tailors chalk
- long ruler or piece of dowel
I have drawn and included measurements for the panels. Please note all measurements are in inches (sorry Aussies). And remember – MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE
The following measurements were calculated once the frame was made, so if you change the length of the poles, the fabric panels may need adjusting.
Study the cutting layout to become familiar with the best way to draft your pattern. Directional prints will need extra fabric as all the panels will have to fall in the same direction.
a) Using a tape measure and ruler mark out the first panel. Mark out the measurements without seam allowance then add seam allowances (to the outside). Start close to the edge of the sheet to ensure all panels will fit.
b) Cut out your first panel then use it as a template for subsequent panels using the cutting layout as a guide. For the door panel, cut a slit for the door.
c) Here is our cute assistant. She was fascinated by the measuring tape.
d) Add bias tape/binding around the door opening, I added a cute button to the top of the door opening where the binding overlapped.
e) Make 6 x 12″ bias tape tie cords by sewing your bias in half. Pin and sew 4 ties to the door panel about 12″ apart so they are equally spaced from the top and the bottom. Reserve the 2 remaining ties for later.
f) With WRONG sides of fabric together, sew together the long edges of the 5 panels. The seams should be on the outside of the cover at this stage (as pictured). Don’t worry you haven’t made a mistake.
g) Now we will hem the top opening edge. Roll a small edge over twice so there are no raw edges exposed towards what will be the inside of the tent and sew hem 1/2″ seam.
h) This part is crucial! Now we are making the tubes that the poles will feed through to keep everything together. Pay attention.
Now we want to sew a seam down the long sides of each long panel with the RIGHT sides of the fabric facing each other. The seam width should be about 1″ but depending on your dowel or your first seam you may have to make it just slightly wider or narrower. Try testing if the dowel fits snugly though one tube before you sew the rest. I had to make mine a little wider so some unpicking was involved.
The photo (h) shows you what the top of the cover should look like inside out.
i) *** this photo is slightly deceptive as we accidentally missed photographing one step.*** Before feeding your frame through the cover, the bottom seam needs finishing. Hem as in (g) with a slightly wider seam allowance closing up the end of the tubes in the process. Poles should not stick out the bottom (see image j)
Feed frame in to guide tubes through top opening. Two people may be required as some man handling is called for.
j) Tie backs. Here we are using the two remaining ties that we reserved earlier. Pin them in your desired position. These tie onto the bottom door ties to hold the door open. Sew into position. Either take the cover off again to sew, or the way I did it, with some help maneuver the whole tee pee including poles around the sewing machine.
OPTIONAL – My sister later added/sewed on small loops for tent pegs at the base of each pole. By pegging the Tee Pee in place when outdoors, it prevents gusts of wind blowing it over. No need to use tent pegs indoors.
SET UP: The frame opens up just like an umbrella. Fill it with pillows and decorate with some bunting to personalize.
That’s it!! All done. I hope the directions were clear enough. It’s one of those projects that seem more logical as you are putting it together, so don’t let all the steps intimidate you.
Part 2 took my sister and I a leisurely afternoon with a 1yo under our feet. (It’s almost taken me longer to edit and write the blog post, lol)
Please feel free to leave any questions as a comment and I’ll try to respond as a reply as soon as practicable.
I’d love to see photos of your finished Tee Pee. Why not post them to the My Poppet facebook fan page?
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