Wednesday, March 11, 2015

TeePee for Cove

My daughter Elaine began sending me pictures of TeePees a month or two before Cove's first birthday.  She wanted a camping theme for his party and wondered if I could make one.  I agreed, and began looking around for a pattern.  There were a bunch of different tutorials on the web too, and I found one I liked a lot from Pink Toes and Power Tools.  There were clear instructions for materials, do's and don'ts, and it was a good size.  I especially liked that there were seam finishing instructions, something that doesn't always appear in the "make this in one hour"- type tutorials. I wanted this teepee to last!  Many folks who had made one of the teepees had left good suggestions in the comments, too. 

Piecing together tissue paper, drawing and cutting out the patterns, laying them out on the fabric and cutting the fabric took about the amount of  time expected, about 2 hours. Add onto that about 2 hours of first spraying and ironing the 5.5 yards canvas duck I foolishly chose to wash before use, and I was multiple hours into the project before I sewed a stitch. But I've always been a pre-washer!

I did a dry run of the crucial front flap sections before sewing.  I used a larger needle, a size 90/14 sharp, with my favorite Gutterman 50wt cotton thread for all the stitching. After all the curves I've been sewing on the Winding Ways blocks, it was a nice change to only sew straight seams :).  The front went together easily and then I followed the directions and hemmed the tops of all four sides, laid them out to make sure they were all the same length, and hemmed the bottoms of the panels.

For the sleeves to hold the teepee poles, I chose this striped outdoor fabric.  Fun, right? The sleeve was sandwiched between the side pieces before sewing.  Overcasting/zig-zag stitching was especially important on this fabric due to its tendency to ravel easily.  After looking at the blog comments I had decided to finish off all my other inside seams with double-fold seam tape for a cleaner look. Rummaging through my supplies, I came up with packages of different colored seam tape dating back to 1973, 1980, and 1986!  Great way to use it up and add more color to the project. 

 I made tiebacks by folding  a good length of the 1/2" seam tape in half and stitching, then inserting it to hang down inside and outside the front panel flaps before sewing the sleeves on. 

Here's the whole teepee laid out on the floor.  All the seam finishing meant more time spent pulling and tugging on that heavy canvas, but I did manage to finish this teepee in one day.  Although the tutorial called for plastic pipe, I bought six foot 3/4" wooden dowels at Home Depot and some leather shoelaces at Target to use for the poles and lacing.  My son-in-law drilled holes a few inches from one end, as directed in the tutorial, to feed the laces through. 

Here it is set up in their dining room.  Cove loved it...he's inside it there...
...and popping out!  He is just small enough now to run in and out without ducking and did so numerous times on the first dry run of the teepee.  It stands about five feet tall.  The sleeves do have a tendency to slide down, and in the future we may want to add some buttonholes or grommets to the top of the side panels and lace it to the poles to keep it from sliding down. 

On party day, they had it all set up as a playroom for the kids, but the adults liked it too!  I had to take this photo of their friend lying in the teepee :).  Sorry the glare from a window distorts it a bit.


Kate said...

What a great birthday gift. I really like the striped fabric you used to hold the poles. Very cool. Looks like Cove is already appreciating it.

Janet O. said...

Great job! I love that the adults enjoyed it, too. : )
My kids grew up with one my MIL made for them and it was a hit.

Patrica said...

Very happy birthday to Cove I can't believe he's already 1 ! The tee pee is adorable and he'll be playing in it for a long time to come, way to go Gram.

Quilt Hollow said...

This teepee is brilliant! I love it! How fun!!! You rock Gram!

Joyful Quilter said...

Way too cute! You are definitely the fun grandma!

Tanya said...

Your Tee-Pee is a stroke of genius!

Prairie Patch Quilts said...

Love the tee-pee; what a great idea. I am sure it was the hit of the party for the little ones. And yes, I as an adult am in love with it too.