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Tipi, anyone?

Added Dec 10, 2009

by lizajane09

Upstate, South C...






So—- I want to start first by explaining that my husband actually sewed this tipi, not me. But, I felt I needed to show it off for him and also explain that this tipi is the whole reason I started sewing! About ten months ago, he showed up with an old sewing machine and tons of canvas drop cloths and told me that he was going to make a real tipi (said it had been his dream since he was little). I had told him before that I learned to sew when I was really young, so we sat down together and learned how to use the machine. It all came back to me! I decided to try a project myself and haven’t put down the fabric since! He spent several months sewing (burned out the old sewing machine— got a new one) and we did lots of research about sewing as well. I was a consultant as well as the help when it came measuring the 30+ feet of canvas. The smoke flaps are working, so there could feasibly be a fire in the middle inside and we think it will sleep about 6-8 people. We haven’t taken it camping yet. He just finished the liner also. He split two by fours in half and used a draw knife to make the poles. They are two 10ft pieces connected by a piece of pvc pipe. There are 17 poles in all and the diameter of the tipi is 16 ft. It was the cause of many a headache since it was being sewn in my living room for ten months, but I am so impressed with the finished product— and so proud of him for actually doing it!

Material Notes

Canvas, waterproofed




Garment Type

32 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • Dscn0569_large

    Dec 10, 2009, 06.06 PMby kgallagher3

    This is the coolest thing I have ever seen, I can’t believe your husband made this, it is incredible. Did ya’ll find instructions online or from a book or was this completely his design? I would love to make a smaller one for backyard “camping”

    1 Reply
    • J_s_painting_large

      Dec 10, 2009, 10.09 PMby lizajane09

      Thanks! The book he used was called The Indian Tipi by Reginald and Gladys Laubin. It had all the plans and patterns to make a historically accurate tipi, a 9ft one and 19ft. one (he “graded” that one to 16ft!) There is also a book, Tipis by Linda A. Holley that has really nice instructions for lots of different size tipis and explains how to sew strips of canvas together as you sew it so you’re not pushing 30 ft. of canvas through your machine.

  • 67f2c04548980ff46226d7497d8692937bd29f9b_large

    Dec 10, 2009, 05.49 PMby dare

    Amazing! Full scale architectural sewing!

    • This is a question
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