This DIY TeePee sewing tutorial has gotten a bit of attention on the web since I wrote it up. Welcome to Pink Toes and Power Tools if you are visiting from Pinterest, Dressthisnest.com, Handimania.com or one of the other blogs that has used this teepee sewing tutorial!
Dress This Nest has some great directions on how she created her project out of different colored stripes that customized it to the colors in her son’s nursery–it turned out fantastic so I recommend checking it out for some additional inspiration.
I also recommend that you read through the comments because there are more links to finished projects for you to see, as well as some tips and tricks people have suggested that are good. I’ve also answered some questions from readers in there that you might be wondering about. I’m glad to have you here!
My DIY Teepee
A sewing machine is a power tool. It is probably not the first thing that a person thinks of when starting a conversation about power tools, but it is one nonetheless. Need proof? My mom sewed right through her finger once. THAT takes some power to accomplish. Nuff said.
So sewing projects have a place on Pink Toes and Power Tools blog and I have sewed a lot of projects for my home over the years. The following tutorial might not be furthering me toward my goal of finishing up this house, but it has been on my to-do list since my nephew was born and my kids got a lot of use out of (and still do, my son pointed out just tonight) the one I made for them many years ago. My nephew is finally old enough to appreciate this gift and I hope that he enjoys it as much as my kids did/do. Here’s his teepee:
DIY Teepee Sewing Tutorial
- 4 (3/4″) PVC pipes cut to 67″ and sanded smooth
- 8 end caps for PVC pipes (optional)
- shoe lace (or cord)
- thread to match your material
- 5 1/2 yds. heavier weight fabric at least 54″ wide (no more than this–I had a little left over because I always get a little more “just in case”)
- 1 yd. fabric at least 45″ wide (if you are going for cheaper and are going to piece your loops in order to get the length you need. Otherwise you need 1 and 2/3 yards to get the correct length).
I used denim for the heavier fabric. The fabric for the tubes is 45″ wide decorator fabric, but I used regular cotton for my original teepee and it has held up well.
Cutting out the fabric:
Make some patterns with the following dimensions (I used tissue paper), or draw the dimensions on the back side of your fabric and cut it out:
IMPORTANT! Make sure you cut 2 of the Lower Front pattern piece, but as mirror images of each other. If you cut the two pieces out at the same time with the fabric folded right sides together OR wrong sides together you’ll be fine.
All pattern dimensions include a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Notice that the middle pattern (one of the three side pieces) is ON THE FOLD.
Directions for constructing the teepee:
1. Hem the top of the Upper Front piece (5″ section). Hem the 35 3/4″ side of the two Lower Front pieces.
2. Right sides together, you are going to stitch the two Lower Front pieces to the Upper Front piece to form the front triangle teepee piece. Use the following picture for placement of the pieces:
They end up like this:
3. Zigzag the edges of the seam you just stitched to finish them.
4. Iron the entire seam up toward the top. Stitch this seam up:
How it looks from the outside (I did a double row of stitching because I thought it looked nice. This is optional):
5. Straighten the bottom hem if needed so it is the same length the entire way across and hem.
6. Hem the tops of all three of the sides.
7. Even up the bottoms of all three sides so they will end up the same length as the finished front panel. Keep in mind that you still need to hem these so don’t cut them the same length as your front panel–if you are turning them up 1/2″ twice to form the hem, then they should be 1″ longer than the front panel) ; hem all three.
8. Piece together your loops so that you have the length you need–if you only bought a yard for the loop fabric. My original had the loops 1 3/4″ shorter than the actual teepee sides. I don’t know if that was a mistake I made back then, or not, but I followed what I had done before and make the loops shorter than the sides this time too. Edit: A suggestion in the comments from a reader who made this: make the loops the same length as the sides. She found that it helped the teepee hold its shape better on wood floors. It certainly won’t hurt to do this, so if I were to make it again, I would take her suggestion. Thanks Minka!
9. Now you will sew all of the sides of the teepee together, with the loop sides sandwiched in. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE LOOPS INSERTED IN WITH THEIR WRONG SIDES TOGETHER. I put that in all caps because I was watching TV and sewed up one of the loops the wrong way. I had finished the seams before I realized my error. That. was. not. fun. to. fix. If one of the pieces is longer than the others, see this post for easing in that extra fabric.
10. Reinforce this seam by stitching again 1/8″ in from the last row of stitching.
11. Zigzag all the layers together to prevent raveling.
12. Drill holes through the PVC pipe about 3 1/2″ down from top.
13. String the shoe lace through the holes. I used some masking tape wrapped around the end of the shoe lace (down about 2″) to make it stiff enough to lace through.
14. Put the end caps on the tops and bottoms of the PVC. I find that the legs of the teepee stay in place on the carpet better without the PVC end caps, but the caps keep the loops from slipping down off the ends of the pipe. You might want to glue the caps on also, if you are worried about little ones and choking.
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If you end up making this teepee
If you end up making one of these, please give me the link to your project in the comments section or send me a photo so I can check it out. My plan is to write up a post with the photos from reader’s projects who used the DIY teepee sewing tutorial, and I’d love to have a photo from you! Send them to pinktoesandpowertools (at) gmail (dot) com