Teepee time – sew your own tent

All sewn up - the teepee

This has been the most popular thing that I have made for my daughters. They love it and it really seems to be great for collaborative play. Honey even managed to put it up herself this afternoon.

So here’s the rundown on how I made it. I used this tutorial from My Poppet but didn’t follow it to the letter.


6 x 18mm dowel (210cm long)

4 metres home decorating weight cotton (lilac polka dots)

2 metres navy heavy cotton twill (from my stash)

(My Poppet suggests using a sheet, I wanted something more durable and stronger)


Cotton tape

3 reels of thread

Firstly I measured up to decide how big I wanted the finished teepee to be. I was aiming for 180cm high x 180 cm wide. I then used some maths (and bit of help from this) to calculate what size I needed to cut the panels.


Measurements for each panel

I drew the shape directly onto the reverse of the fabric with a fabric pencil. I have a long ruler that I use for curtain and blind making which came in handy for joining all the lines. I added a 4cm seam allowance on either side, 2 cm at the top and 4cm at the bottom. As suggested I then used my initial panels as templates to cut the rest which made things go pretty quickly.

As my fabric was only 137cm wide, I cut 3 whole panels and 6 halves (which I then joined).

I used french seams to join the panels to keep the inside nice and neat and one of the joined panels became the door opening.

I should have added the ribbons to tie the door before joining everything together – it would have been so much easier but  hindsight is a wonderful thing! I used the cotton tape to make 12 loops for tent pegs to secure it when being used outside. In practice, six would have been plenty (and we only have 6 tent pegs – doh)!

All in all everything went together quite easily and it was a fairly quick make with lots of straight stitching. It did use A LOT of thread. I went through about 3 reels (all in slightly varying shades of neutral!).

And there you have it! A children’s teepee that will hopefully last them many years to come. Why not have a go yourself?

Ribbons blowing in the wind

Ribbons blowing in the wind


All measured up


Who would have thought measuring up for a tee pee would be so tricky? Thank heavens for the internet! Ian has A level maths but with a slipped disk he really isn’t thinking straight. After much head scratching, a great internet site and a scale diagram I have finally worked out the dimensions for the panels I need to cut for the teepee.

The instructions that I have been following made the frame first and then measured it. We took the rather more challenging route. Even with the help of the internet it required me wracking my brains for those lessons in trigonometry.

*Update* I’ve now cut out the six panels needed. The first one ended up being drawn 3 times before we got it right. Realised that I’d worked out the wrong measurements! Well I was close but not close enough. A 3-D diagram would really have helped – ho hum.

The best laid plans ….

Measuring up the teepee

As any project manager knows, plans do change. Things may take longer than expected, staff or other resources may become unavailable. It happens. My plans this week have been turned upside down.

A website that I work on (voluntarily) had to be put ‘live’ due to the existing site being taken down with no notice. The first I knew about it was staff calling me asking why they couldn’t access their emails. I had a very fraught 48 hours getting the site up and working. I have nothing but nice things to say about the host (Clook) they were great and pointed me in the right direction when I was really, really stuck. I then had to down tools for a whole range of reasons (funerals, hospital appointments, birthdays).

Sewing therefore, has had to take a bit of a back seat. But as I’m on a deadline (Honey’s birthday) it can’t stop altogether!

I have now finished her Oliver & S Sailboat skirt and a top that I’ve made from a self-drafted block. Pictures will have to wait until she is able to model them! Fingers crossed they fit…

Oliver & S Sailboat Top and Skirt

Making things from old, unloved clothes was not as straightforward as I thought! Firstly, it’s hard to find where the grain should be once you’ve unpicked everything – I guessed! Secondly, some clothes just aren’t as big as you think they are and getting a whole skirt back from one leg of jeans was challenging.

The latter was the reason why I end up drafting my own pattern. The sailboat top has a lovely boat neckline which fastens with buttons. I tried adapting it but I just wasn’t confident that it was going to work and it still wouldn’t fit on the fabric I had, so I decided to draft my own. At least that way, I know exactly what the measurements are and where to adjust if necessary.

sleeveless-blockIt was pretty straightforward to draft and one big bonus of the sleeveless block is that the armscyes (armholes to you and me!) are the same for the front and back.

That’s two projects down for the big birthday bash and one to go. As you can see we’ve measured up for the teepee. Ian just needs to put his maths skills into practice and tell me exactly how large my panels need to be so I can cut them out. That will be tomorrows job – along with lots more tidying!!

Everyone needs a plan…

When I decided I wanted to start blogging I hadn’t realised how much my head would be buzzing with ideas – things to sew, patterns to draft, things to knit, presents to make. There is so much inspiration out there, it’s hard for me to know where to start.
So with my best project managers hat on (ohhhh that life before children!), I need a plan.
Setting deadlines and tracking milestones isn’t really going to work for my current lifestyle where everything needs to be moveable but I need some kind of task list to keep my objectives at the fore.

I also took heart from So Zo’s recent post about refashioning and using your fabric stash. It just fits in with the rest of my ethos for life and yet it hadn’t occurred to me before that it was an area that I could address. That said, I have boxes of fabric (dressmaking and home dec) that are crying out to be used (and I need to reclaim the space).

So incorporating both those ideas, here is the first in a series of posts on my sewing, knitting and crafting plans.

May is always a busy month for me as there are two birthdays – and well they’re a big deal for Honey (she’ll be 7). I always try to make something for the girl’s birthdays. Last year, Honey was feeling left out because I’d made things for Poppet so I made her a bear.

Birthday Bear

A birthday bear for Honey

This year my plans are probably a little more ambitious – if not larger in scale!

Here’s what I have planned

  • Teepee

This will be loosely based on My Poppet’s DIY Tee Pee although I plan to make it a little larger and I may put a bottom in it. I’m hoping I have enough pieces of fabric in my stash in suitable weights to mean I don’ t need to buy anything.

  • Denim skirt

I’m going to use an old pair of Ian’s (my husband!) jeans as he always wears them out in the seat area and do something with my Oliver & S Sailboat skirt pattern

  • Top

I’m still undecided on the top. I may use the Oliver & S Sailboat top pattern and turn it into either a sleeveless or short sleeve top in woven fabric or as a t-shirt. I have hand-me-down items that could be refashioned into either.

I love planning things to make for the girls and I’m hoping the the Tee Pee will be a big hit. Hopefully, she’ll be able to use it both indoors and out. I’m sure I’ll be asked if she can sleep out in it!!