Kid’s Fabric Tee-Pee Tutorial!

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Last year for Christmas I made Etta a little tent.  Look how little she was!  it is amazing how fast they grow.  Okay so be prepared for a long post!…

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I was inspired by a tent in BHG that I saved:

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Sorry if the image quality is bad, I‘ve had this page kicking around for a year or so!

Well, I wanted to show you how to make the tent last year, but I sort a made it up as I went, and I did it in a really strange way!   I thought of some ways to fix it, but it just never materialized!  Especially since I didn’t have the time to test it out.

Well, my babysitter Catelin who has a daughter the exact age of Etta, wanted to make here daughter one… so I helped her, and actually it went really smoothly.  Took a bit of childfree time (about 6 hours)  but I also now have a better pattern for you all to see.

 

Now, I will admit it is not perfect… and I need to make some changes, but I hope you get the drift… and I must ask if you make this, please let me know how I can clarify things.

 

I do ask, that if you make this, please do not recreate this pattern on your own blogs, and please link to this post if you show your project on the blog.

 

Supplies

2 10 ft white PVC pipes (3/4” inch)

2 yards accent fabric

4 1/2 yards tent wall fabric 45” is best but 60” wide would work as well

(optional another 4 1/2 yards accent lining)

matching thread

Approx. 20 3/8” grommets with a setting tool (this is sometimes included in the box, just double check)

3-4 yards coordinating ribbon

 

If you have the chance to prewash your fabric, please do.  The tent can easily be washed in the future, you just want to make sure it doesn’t shrink once washed.

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Step 1:

Cut out your fabric.

Walls: You need 3 equal pieces- 1 1/2 yard long.  Fold them in half and cut from corner to corner creating a large triangle and two small (repeat with all three pieces.  (if you are lining them do the same thing with the lining fabric)

 

3 cuts

diagonal cut

pieces

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We used a straight line and then marked the line with a pencil and cut along the line.

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The coordinating fabric needs to be cut next!

 

cut sheet

4 strips of 6” inch wide fabric (full length) for the poles

2 strips of 3″ inch fabric for the door opening

3-4 strips of 1 1/2” inch fabric for the bottom edge banding

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Step 2:

Sew the walls together

Start sewing!

First make one simple cut across the top of the three large triangles.  Cut no more than 1 inch off the top.  I cut off too much!  Don’t do as the picture says to! (which I had to fix later…FYI)

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Roll that small raw edge (or fold over twice about a 1/4 of an inch) then sew along the line to secure.  (this tip has to be cut in order to fit the thickness of the pipes together!! without having to sew through 7 or 8 layers of fabric!)

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The tent I made last year has already started to show wear at the top of the pole pocket.  So, this time I decided to double just the tops of the pole pockets (no need to waste fabric over the rest of it.  To make it simple, I decided to just fold over the fabric just at the top of the pole down about 13 inches.

side and pole

With the good sides together, line the sides up with the top of the pole overlapping by about 1 inch. Sew down the side.

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Add the next triangle

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You will have something that looks like this:

layout

Step 3:

Trim and bind bottom edge.

Once you get all the pieces together!  Trim all the bottom edge.  So that it is even (see above, and then below for the difference) – and of course there is laundry on the couch… cuz I was making a tent, not cleaning!

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Lay the edging pieces at a right angle and sew diagonally  (I matched up the pattern which is why there is some excess but that isn’t necessary)  You could cut this on the bias, but it isn’t necessary and would have taken a longer time.

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Lay out the tent good side up and add the trim good side down

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Once that binding piece is sewn on, fold it over, fold the raw edge in and finally fold it one more time, and secure in place.  See images below for the process I am trying to explain!

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Step 4:

Add Center Door Binding

Once the bottom binding is installed it is time to add the center door edging/binding.  Start by placing good side to the back side of the door.  Over lap the end by at least a 1/2 inch.  Sew edges together.

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Flip the edging piece over and fold the raw end down to the back side, like below.

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Now fold over to the front of the door.

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Fold the raw edge, secure with pins and sew a straight line 1/8th of an inch in to secure.

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This is what it looks like, behind the scenes when I am doing projects like this!

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Just for looks I added another small seam an 1/8th inch in down the center line.  So it looks like the second image below when done!

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Step 5:

Add ties to bottom of poles.

Add two ribbons to the bottom of each pole.

**At this point, if I had thought of it, I should have added the ribbon ties to the bottom of the poles.  I sewed them on by hand after the fact.  See the last step below for images…  BUT DO THAT RIGHT NOW before closing up the pole!

Step 6:

Close up the poles.

Now moving on to the top of the poles. Here is what they look like up to this point.IMG_8488

Fold the good sides together and sew a the top several times (this is where you need some extra  strength.  Then sew just down the line to the top of the ten sides.  So your seam will look like an “L”.IMG_8492

Then flip the finished side out and it should look like the image below.IMG_8495

Now to hide the raw edges in on the inside, you need to tuck the seam in to the pole pocket.then pin in place.

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When the seams are laying and pinned in, sew on the outside of the tent wall right inside the pole pocket. to be sure the seams are hidden.  Once this has been sewn, go ahead and sew another seam about a 1/4 of an inch into the edge of the pole pocket (a 1/4-1/2 inch from the seam you just sewd)

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Step 7:

Pin the walls at the top to collect extra fabric

Now, I ran into one issue, that I will have to address in the next pattern, but hopefully also addressed earlier, when you cut off less of the tippy top triangle.  Because the gaps between poles was so big, it didn’t stand well, so I took that excess fabric, pinched it together onto the inside of the tent, and sewed a really quick little loop stitch.  to hold the tops of the poles closer together.

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Step 8:

Add Grommets

I added grommets to the front doors, to be able to tie the structure together.  I used 1/4 inch grommets.  (the BHG version is A solid piece with a lining just sewn shut, but I like the detail of the ribbons and grommets!

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Step 9:

Ribbon Ties (installed in step 5 hopefully!)  If no now!

Lastly, I had sewn the ribbons in place at the bottom of each pole opening by hand… Tyr to make this your 5th step to save the hand sewing hassle!

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Step 10:

Install poles

Install the poles and tie them in place!  (Catelin purchased 1” conduit, but I personally like the 3/4”  PVC pipes size a little better!)  but either should work!  (I would cut them to length after you have measured the pole pockets in their finished size!)

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All done!

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Now it is time to play!

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About 

Cassity started Remodelaholic with her husband, Justin, to share their love for knocking out walls together. She is an interior designer, wife, and mother of two. She and Justin have remodeled three homes from top to bottom and are working on their fourth. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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Comments

  1. Eliza Shumway says

    WOW! that’s amazing. Lots of hard work i’m sure. lydia is SOOO STINKING CUTE!!!!! she’s so tiny! it doesn’t seem like she should be standing so straight like that yet haha. and I love that picture where etta and lydia are wrestling ;D

  2. says

    That is awesome! My kids are so into building forts right now, and this is so much better looking laying around the house than the shabby blankets they have been using!

  3. Stevie M says

    That is the cutest thing!! I’m going to pin it… and see if mom will help me make it :) I can not sew. However, your tutorial seemed to step it out nicely so I may give it a shot!

  4. Erin says

    Thank you for this! I had a similar homemade tepee tent for my barbies growing up. And just the other day I thought, I am going to make one of those for my kids! I’m on your site a lot, and happened to come across this this morning. Stoked! Thank you again for sharing.

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