Last year I promised Elsie a teepee for Christmas but with more on my plate than I anticipated (duh! this happens EVERY year) she and Jeremy had to settle for an embroidered teepee!
This year I was scheming to get it done before Christmas so she could enjoy the twinkly lights and coziness a little early. There were many occasions when I had to bite my tongue so I wouldn't let my excitement slip and I didn't want to let her know I was hoping to make one in case something else came up and I couldn't finish in time.
The evening before I knew I'd have it finished for sure, I had Brett call Jeremy to make sure it didn't look suspicious in case Elsie were around. Once the coast was clear I took the phone and we arranged for him to take her out to dinner and for me to get the key to the loft from Erin who would be at work in the store below. It all went off without a hitch and ... I think she likes it!
I've had more than a few people ask for a tutorial on this teepee but I didn't take step by step pictures so the best I can share is the process I went through to get what I got. Here you go.
* 6 - eight foot 1" x 2" x 8' pieces of pine from Lowe's @ about $1.75 each (I'd go with the next grade of wood if you're going to make this for rambunctious little Indians)
* 1 - 9' x 12' canvas drop cloth from Ace Hardware (although I'm sure I could've picked this up at Lowe's had I been more efficient with my errands)
* 1 tube of acrylic paint
* 1 paint brush
* 2 rolls of cream satin ribbon 3/4" wide
* 15" of 1/4" elastic
I also used a drill to make the holes at the tops of each pole, thrifted yarn to help keep my poles spaced evenly while I measured them, a yardstick, a long cut of canvas to tie the poles together (although I would recommend leather cord or a leather shoelace).
I decided on the 8' poles because I knew I wanted a large teepee but you can always cut them down. I measured 12" from the top and drilled holes using a 1/8" bit. After tying them together with a little slack between them all, I stood them up to decide how far apart I wanted the poles.
I went with 36" between the bases of all poles except for the opening which was 58" wide.
I then laid out my canvas so that I had five panels that measured 4" at the top and 38" at the bottom and were 80" tall. To get this rectangular shape I started at the bottom and measured out 38" and made a mark. From the center of that I measured up 80" and made a mark. I then measured 2" on each side of the center of that last mark to get 4" at the top. Next, it's best to use two yard sticks taped together, or tack down some yarn at one edge of the top and pull it taught to meet the bottom edge of the same side. This will help you get a long, straight angled line between the top and bottom. Cut out your first panel and use it as your template for the rest.
Your front panel will have a different measurement. I used a top piece that measured 5" x 21" x 19" and then two door panels that measured 12.5" on each top, 33" on each bottom and 58" on the angled sides.
After all of your pieces are cut out, sew your five large panels together at the sides, making sure all the top edges are even.
Next, assemble the front panel. Hem your door panels on the straight sides that will meet in the middle. Then pin them to the top part of this panel. Sew them together making sure they hang straight once you're done. Add some back stitching where the two panels meet on the top panel for extra reinforcement. Then sew one side of this panel to the rest of your teepee.
Fold the entire top edge down towards the inside of your teepee 1/2" or more and stitch. Then using a safety pin, string some elastic through. Stitch one end down and then pull taught before carefully stitching the other end down. Once your top has this pocket panel with elastic in it, you can sew together the last long sides of your teepee together. It should be inside out when you are done. Almost there! Fold your bottom edge in 1/2" twice to form your bottom hem. You'll have a little extra at each seam but your machine probably wouldn't have the ability to make it over these little hills anyway.
Hand-stitch three 12" cuts of ribbon on the inside seams of each panel. This will hold your panels in place once you've tied and knotted them around each pole. You will also want to hand-stitch three sets of ribbon ties to your door panels. Be sure to space them evenly starting with one close to the bottom of the door. If you'd like your door panels to hang open as shown, hand-stitch a ribbon tie to the outside of your teepee where your panel would draw up. See picture for example.
Slip your canvas over your poles, straighten, and marvel at your accomplishment. Decorate with acrylic paint or embroider your heart out. Be sure to send me pictures!