Saturday, 23 August 2014

Tepee for Sasha dolls

I made two tepees for Sasha dolls this week - one for Lorraine's Henry and one for our dolls.

The tepee pattern was based on a pattern in a book I've had since my early teens, it is called 'The Reader's Digest family book of Things to Make and Do'.  It is a firm favourite of mine and I spent many teenage hours being inspired by some of the projects in its pages.

My much loved copy of the Reader's Digest book 'Things to make and do'
For the tepee I scaled the pattern to suit a 16" doll.  I used a fine firm weave cotton canvas from the upholstery section (rather than the dress fabric section) of John Lewis as the fabric needed to have some weight and stiffness to work well.  I didn't need to have seams in the pattern (unlike the Reader's Digest original which was designed as a child's play tepee).  I was careful to make full use of the selvedges of the fabric for the front flaps so the only seam was for the hem, though I used the sewing machine and a zig zag stitch for sewing on the ties.

I used fabric paints and a brush to decorate the plain fabric.  7 bamboo canes cut to length for each tepee was one fewer than in the book pattern, such a small scale tepee didn't need 8 canes to hold it up.

The instructions for the Indian tepee in the Reader's Digest book
The meaning of symbols on tepees
according to the Reader's Digest book
I also referred to a more modern book about American Indians for inspiration.
My other source book for the tepee project
We did have some trouble getting the tepees to stand up on a gusty day in the garden as the canvas has a tendency to slide down the canes a little when it is breezy.  However I've modified the way the canes fix slightly to make it easier to set up the tepee (though it won't withstand a high wind!).  I did a better job of the painting on the tepee which Henry took home as I got the bison and the zig zag mountains lined up better on his tepee.

My tepee after minor modifications to the way the canes are fixed - standing up much better.
the tepee with the flaps open.  The circle means unity of the tribe.
Back view.  I painted the rainbow, the sun,
the world quarters and the quarters of the earth symbols in addition to the bison and circle.
side view showing the rainbow more clearly
the top of the tepee
To take these side and back photos I picked up the tepee, turned it and set it up again so that the sun and long shadows (late afternoon) would work for the camera - it didn't take long (certainly not the struggle we had the other day!)

7 comments:

Sharon said...

I'm not able to view all your photos at the moment for some reason but what I saw, I liked. I used to make things like this as a child, for myself, teepees and tents, although not as nice and detailed as yours!! I think the Sasha kids will love this!
Hugs Sharon in Spain x

DollMum said...

try a different browser and see if that displays the photos correctly. The Sasha kids did love it on Thursday - have you seen the earlier post?

Dee said...


Readers digest book's Love them, always so informative and useful.
A great job you have done on scaling down the pattern and making and decorating them.
Great size for the Sasha's and the other dolls.

Serenata said...

The tepee is certainly standing up so much better, so looks like the modifications worked well!

Theresa O'Neill said...

I love the Tepee's you have done a great job

Rosalind Laird said...

Love your teepees - most professional. Your decoration is top notch too!

Sharon said...

I can now see the photos and it looks great Anna, and funnily enough, I saw a child size one this morning....I was almost tempted to get inside it myself!!!