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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

31 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • Missing

    Sep 3, 2010, 02.54 PMby Linda Holley

    I am late in makeing a statement here….but nice job on the tipi. As a tipi maker I can appreciate all the work that goes into makeing a lodge.

    Linda Holley

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    Dec 14, 2009, 05.12 PMby kleinfee

    unbelievable! So great!

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    Dec 14, 2009, 12.21 AMby marinaglory

    No. Way. This is too cool for words!!!!

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    Dec 13, 2009, 09.38 AMby rubygloom

    i am so jealous!

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    Dec 12, 2009, 03.57 PMby reliablechef


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    Dec 11, 2009, 10.28 PMby chelsesaurusrex

    Yes, Tipi! This is weird: I just finished having a conversation with someone about how awesome it would be to make your own, but that it was probably too hard and not at all feasible. YOU JUST TOTALLY CHANGED MY MIND. Way to go – being able to sew your own shelter is quite a skill.

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    Dec 11, 2009, 10.22 PMby nicoya

    So…when is the yurt pattern coming? Just kidding. Kudos for extending your sewing skills from clothing to shelter. It’s a good reminder of what a fundamental skill it is.

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    Dec 11, 2009, 09.50 PMby susanne2011

    Oh my god, what a big project! And it came out so beautiful and looks very ‘sturdy’. Congratulations, this is very nice. I guess this could also be very cool in a kids size…

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    Dec 11, 2009, 09.08 PMby fatenriad

    It’s cool to have a childhood dream that you make it true at the end…. Happy for both of you! Congrats

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    Dec 11, 2009, 11.56 AMby badyan

    I used to spend three weeks of every July in such a teepee… We made a fire in the middle and sang with guitar. Old scouting days :-) It is well done, congratulations!

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    Dec 11, 2009, 07.25 AMby Ruffles Gazebo

    this is so amazing! i am very very jealous! one for me? :O

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    Dec 11, 2009, 07.24 AMby kdrodgers

    Amazing…it looks so authentic. You would never know the difference! Great job!

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    Dec 11, 2009, 06.02 AMby galatina

    This is absolutely incredible. You should both be so proud. Hope you get to use it loads.

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    Dec 11, 2009, 05.16 AMby smallone

    OMG! this is soooo cool and sooooo amazing. I am in awe of you two to have the perseverance, skill and patience to make this….it rocks!!!!!!

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    Dec 11, 2009, 04.17 AMby charlierose

    whoa! i want one

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    Dec 11, 2009, 02.17 AMby calicocouture

    Wow! What an impressive first sewing project. It’s amazing. =D

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    Dec 11, 2009, 01.56 AMby gillthecat

    this is beyond great i used to drive past some hippies who lived in a camp of these in scotland and alway thought how cool they were,. what a mission, id love one in my garden,, i might just move into it, well done to u and husband

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    Dec 11, 2009, 12.20 AMby freakusbzzz

    That’s a tipi on steroids!

    Wel done to you both. Can I have a husband like yours?

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    Dec 10, 2009, 10.22 PMby passthepins

    Wow, this is incredible! I have always wanted to make a tipi but it seems like such a huge job. i have the greatest admiration for your husband and your commitment to the project. Did you need an industrial machine, or did you manage with a domestic and heavy needles?

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    Dec 10, 2009, 09.56 PMby flosiepoos

    WOW!! That’s impressive, I hope you have lots of fun camping in it, I am sure it will be really special!

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    Dec 10, 2009, 09.06 PMby babybearhugz

    That’s really cool. Good job to you both.

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    Dec 10, 2009, 08.38 PMby machelefranklin

    Incredible ! I want one on my balcony !!

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    Dec 10, 2009, 08.26 PMby minnietheminks

    That is so cool, I love how you are so proud too :)

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    Dec 10, 2009, 08.03 PMby ashchaser

    This is BAD A**! I am proud of your husband, that is a huge project and I’m so glad you shared it on here!

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    Dec 10, 2009, 07.28 PMby twoboos

    I WANT ONE!!!!! Seriously when we buy a house, the backyard will have to be big enough for one!!! Well done you two!!! AWESOME!!

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    Dec 10, 2009, 07.23 PMby sew-fabulous

    this is incredible!

    Is it easy to fold down to take camping??

    This is so great, and I could never imagine 10 months sewing something so big! I am an instant gratification type of girl!

    1 Reply
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      Dec 10, 2009, 10.11 PMby lizajane09

      Thank you! He made the poles in 10ft. pieces so it’s portable, although we’ll need a truck I think to transport them. The canvas cover folds up and fits in a rubbermaid container.

      Thanks for all the compliments, everyone!

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    Dec 10, 2009, 07.21 PMby kirsimarjukka

    So cool! And a really cute story too :)

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    Dec 10, 2009, 06.51 PMby beebo1004

    Incredible, I have tipi envy. Well done both of you for such hard work.

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    Dec 10, 2009, 06.08 PMby xnickerxje

    That is seriously impressive.

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    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
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      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.

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