Fabric Teepee Tutorial

Kristen from Pink Toes and Power Tools is here with a tutorial for a fun gift for kids of any age, a Fabric and PVC Teepee.  Kristen is a “Jane of all Trades” kind of gal, sewer, crafter, builder of Stuff…my kind of gal!

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I am so excited to be here at Sawdust and Paperscraps–thank you Sandra for having me! I’ve been coming to Sandra’s blog for awhile now for building inspiration and now I’m looking forward to being inspired by her Christmas in July series.

My post is a tutorial on building a PVC pipe teepee. I first did this about 13 years ago for my first born and all three of my kids enjoyed it so much over the years that I had to make one for my little nephew for Christmas this past year. Here is our 13 year old teepee:

And here is my nephew’s more Pottery Barn-esque teepee:

A perfect reading nook

…or a spot for a tea party (although I’m more of a coffee drinker myself).

 

If you sit still for long enough, you just might be lucky enough to see some wild animals around the teepee.

So here’s how you put it together.

Materials:

  • 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.

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.

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:

This is one side of the Lower Front. Add the other side to the left. The Lower Front pieces will overlap in the middle. Match up the edges and use a 1/2″ seam allowance.

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.

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.

My kids have really gotten a lot of use out of this over the years, inside the house and out. But I do have to warn you that one time it was used to hide two of my children while they played their Gameboys that they were not supposed to be playing. So do know that the teepee might promote juvenile delinquency.

Thanks again for having me over here Sandra! And I hope that all of you will drop in and say hi over at Pink Toes and Power Tools.

Comments

  1. Thank you for posting this!! I have been looking EVERYWHERE online for this design which I saw at a grandparent’s house and forgot to take measurements of. I thought this design would be all over the place, but it wasn’t. So thank you! ;)

    I do have one question: How big around is the bottom? I was hoping to find out before I make it so I can decide if I need to make it a little more tall and skinny so it will fit in my tiny house:P

  2. I just made this tonight. I don’t think the corners are to go flush to the top. I kept the corners same numbers as pattern, and my result was fine. (with a bit of fabric hanging down in the middle at the top, but I like the way it looks.)

  3. Making this now… For anybody else making it, the corner pieces should be longer! They are being sewn to 60″ sides, so I’d make them at least that. :)

  4. I’m trying to make this here teepee and I’m having a little problem. I’m cutting out the lower front pattern piece and I have the top, left and bottom measurements right, but the angle isn’t 40.5″. Is one of your numbers wrong? It seems like the bottom would need to be wider, but I don’t want to screw it up… Thanks! I’m super excited for this project!

  5. I just made this tonight and it was so much fun! I hope to blog about it soon, need better pictures though and it was raining today :(

  6. I had one years ago and gave it away..what was I thinking??Thank you! I’ve been looking for a pattern for these. I will be making some for my elementary school library for free read time. We are having a western theme this year.

  7. Such a cute teepee!

  8. Soooo cute! I almost bought a smaller version at a shi shi shop here in San Diego a few years ago for $350. This is so much better!!!

  9. Awesome. I was just telling my husband the other day that I’d love to make a tent for my son. I bookmarked this one for him for Christmas! THANKS!

    • Brandy are you on Pinterest yet? It is such a great way to file away your inspiration pics/posts and future projects…I love it. If you need an invitation, email me and I’ll send you one!

  10. I love how roomy this is- what a great design! Thanks so much, I’ll be linking.

  11. I’m totally building this and camping out in my backyard!

  12. Best teepee ever … we have the same one. My mom made it about thirteen years ago for my firstborn and all five kids have used it like crazy. Ours looks SO much like yours … almost identical fabric and everything!

  13. Beautiful job and a great gift!