Friday, 16 October 2015


Today, I interrupt my usual stream of girly pretty things to bring you something a little different - a tipi!

It was my nephew's first birthday the other weekend, so obviously I needed to make something suitably fun for him.

The idea to make a tipi first came to me by chance when I was mistakenly sent the checked fabric you see here instead of what I'd actually ordered. The problem was quickly sorted, but the company said that I could keep the fabric they'd originally sent as well as the right stuff. To me, it seemed to be begging to be made into something for children, and I had masses of it so it might as well be something big; enter the tipi!

I decided that having all of the sides in the check might be a bit too overwhelming though, so wanted to get something plain to go with it. The canvas that I ended up using also came from a slightly unusual source, namely an army surplus shop. It's a really good quality fabric, and I picked up a massive piece for just £10. So combine that with the check fabric, which was effectively free, and bamboo canes which I stole (with permission!) from my parents, and it turned out to be a fairly cost-effective present.

To make the tipi, I basically followed this tutorial but calculated my own measurements based on the canes that I was using, although they ended up being not all that far away from the ones in the tutorial anyway.

I left off the extra embellishments used in the tutorial - I thought that with the busy check fabric it didn't really need anything extra and it possibly looks a bit more boyish plain anyway.

The only other slight difference is that I used buttons for fastening the tie backs on the front "door" sections instead of velcro, mainly because the velcro that I could have sworn I had seems to have disappeared. Rather appropriately though, the two buttons that I used were actually left over from a pack of buttons I got to use on a little coat I made for my nephew last Christmas which now fits him just right!

The tipi was pretty simple to make, after all it does just involve sewing a lot of straight lines. The only slight difficulty was manoeuvering the large amounts of fabric through my machine, but even that wasn't much of a hassle.

As you can see here, my nephew was very excited at the arrival of the tipi - although at first he did seem to think that it was just there for him to pull down! I think he has now realised it's quite fun to leave it standing and have a place to play too.

I really like making presents for people (well, people who I know will appreciate them anyway!) and, even though it seems ages away at the moment, I've already started making a list of present ideas for a certain day in December. Where do you stand on making presents?

In the meantime, I've got a finished dress that needs to be blogged so normal girly-pretty-things service will resume soon! See you then!


  1. Fabulous present, lucky boy. He'll play with this for years and years to come. We have a bought one and even aged 9 my eldest adores putting it up and playing bases in the summer. Re: Xmas just debating whether to make or buy presents. It's a lot of effort to make and I am not entirely convinced that effort would be appreciated! Still deciding!

    1. Thank you Louise! I'm hoping that it'll be enjoyed for many years to come! I'm very selective in who I make presents for - you're right, it is a lot of effort so only worth it if the effort is appreciated!

  2. What a cool present, he'll definitely have loads of fun playing in that for years to come. I've also been thinking about the "C" word recently as I tend to make a few presents for those I know will appreciate it. More often than not it's baked gifts as I'm rarely organised enough to make time for lots of crochet/knit/sewn pieces.

    1. Thank you Jo! Yes, hopefully it will be enjoyed for many years. Baked presents always go down well - people are always happy to be given something tasty!

  3. Your nephew is one lucky fella! Good decision on breaking the pattern with a plain white cloth. I think we all agree that bright colors suits kids’ taste. But I think it will hurt any adults’ eye if the tipi was covered entirely with the checked pattern.

    1. Thank you! Yes, the print was hurting my eyes slightly when I was sewing it up with the plain panels in between so I think it's safe to say it would have been a bit overwhelming if I'd made it only using the checks!


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