Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Reading Play Tent

I've been working on Cai's big boy room behind the scenes and will have it ready to reveal to you in full soon! My favorite part of Cai's updated space is our new reading corner! Previously, I had a glider in this spot, but since I am no longer nursing him, I didn't really need it anymore + if you follow along on FB you probably saw that I recovered it for Beloved's room (photos to come of that).
Any place that fosters reading is good in my book! ha! 
The top of my play tent is actually separate from the bottom (the top is tied on with ribbons), because for the sides of the tent I used a SHOWER CURTAIN!!! I wanted to have a scalloped edge across the top, so I had to sew those to the top of the tent, which is made from a TABLE CLOTH! While the shower curtain was a custom made curtain, I believe it is normal in size, maybe a tad longer in length, so if you recreate it, just make sure to measure your length to double check.

I love that this play tent is there, but still open to the room, so it's not hot or in need of additional light, but still exciting to get in and read or play! 

If you'd like to make your own, all you need is: 
- a table cloth (for the top) or fabric (probably 2 yards)
- a shower curtain (for the sides)
- extra fabric for the scallops (1 - 2 yards)
- Hula hoop, mine was the smaller of the sizes from the Dollar Tree, but I didn't have tons of space in my room
- Ribbon 
- large paper to use to make a template pattern 

 Now, before we go on.... my really good online blog friend, Christina from 2 Little Hooligans actually has an amazing play tent made from twin bed sheets. She's done an amazing job on her tutorial with a bigger hula hoop, so I highly recommend it, as well! 

Make your template for the top of the tent using your hoop. Measure your hoop's diameter (that's across the center if you've forgotten 4th grade math). 
Now, divide that number by 2 and add 1''. That will be your radius or how far you will draw your lines from the side to the center. 
Note that the above photo says 14''. I ended up redrawing my template to make it larger. 
Use the hopp to draw your curve between your two lines (you are making a pie piece, fyi, so draw two lines like you are making a triangle and then use your hoop to make the curve, except use the OUTSIDE of the hoop, NOT the inside like the photo to make sure you allow for seam allowances. Do as I say, not as I do.
Once again, I made my template too small. Because I have skill (joke) I did not redraw my template, but made sure I had a good 1'' all the way around. If you add the 1'' in the beginning you should not have to make yours bigger.

Cut our 4 pattern pie pieces to use for the top of your tent. And sew the seams together. Sew two 1/4 pieces together. As a result you will now have two semi circle halves. DO NOT sew your two halves together yet.
Make your tie, so you can hang it. Cut some fabric about 2 inches x 6 inches in length.
Fold right sides together and sew down the sides. 
Turn right sides out with a safety pin or a fast turn tool. Fold in half to have about a 3 inch loop.
Insert at the center seams with raw edges at the center. Pin in place and pin your enter two halves together. Sew.
Now your 4 quarter pie pieces should be sewn and you have a loop in the center to hang your tent.

Next, cut a very long strip of fabric the size of your circumference of your hoop. You may need to do a little math to figure it out. Mine was about 88'' by 4'' and since I was using the longest side of my table cloth, I was able to use a side that was already hemmed. If you are going straight from fabric, you probably want to cut your circumference by 5'' and hem one long side. This side will show, so make sure you hem it. If you can't have one long continuous strip of fabric, then piece a few pieces together, just know that you need to take into account about 1'' each time to allow for seam allowances, but this method is just as fine.
Pin your long piece of fabric all the way around your top tent piece right sides together. When you come to the ends, pin those together, right sides together and sew these first, then sew around your circumference sewing this new strip and your top tent piece together.
Sorry for the blurred photos. I honestly take these so fast when I am working just to give you an idea.
Yay! Now you have the side of your tent top and your top pieces all together! Grab your ribbon at this point. Cut your ribbon into 12 pieces, 6'' in length. The Dollar Tree sells solid rograin colored ribbon for $1 a whole roll! You won't see these, so it really doesn't matter what color.
Pin all 12 ribbons to the inside of your top tent piece to the seams. Notice I only have a 6 ribbons. I realized that having double the amount allowed my top tent piece to stay secure.
When sewing on your ribbons, I found it extremely helpful to sew them twice in case little arms tug something. Note how I'm using my seam to sew the ribbon.

First things first... my shower curtain had these cute ropes that you tied onto a rod. I personally was able to use this to tie onto the hoop. You can use ribbon or even those cheap plastic ring shower hooks that completely close. Either one would work, I'm sure, but I would lead towards ribbon.
Put your shower curtain onto your hoop. 
Next, add the top tent piece to your hoop. I would do this just like when you create a muslin for something you might wear to get a good fit. You can adjust now if you need to take in any seams that ended up being too large, etc. 

Mine looked great to me, so I had no added steps here! Whoo hoo! So, on to making the scalloped edges to go from good to awesome in cuteness! 

Print my Scallop template or make your own. 

Trace out your scallops onto your desired fabric, then cut them out. I really can't say exactly how many you will need, but just keep cutting until you've got more than enough to go around your tent top. Obviously I alternated mine.
Put them right sides together and sew around the curved edge. 

Turn them right sides out and press flat with your iron.
Pin them to your tent top sides. 
And sew. 
Meanwhile... have your husband hang a hook from the ceiling. 
And hang it up to enjoy! 
I hope that was helpful! Let me know if you have any questions! And as usual, if you make one, please upload it to the DBS Flickr Group, so I can see and share with others! Have a blessed day!