Kerry blogs at Kid Giddy and has lots of fun sewing news coming up in the next few weeks. She took a break in her busy sewing schedule to share this Mini-Tent Pattern + Tutorial with you. Learn more about Kerry in her introduction, and have fun whipping up a tent or two! You can download the Mini-Tent Pattern here. The finished tent is 11 1/2” x 11 1/2”, perfect for stuffed animals and other little friends. (If you’re looking for a bigger tent tutorial we have one of those too. Check out this Child-Size Teepee Tent Tutorial from our Summer Sewing series.)
From Kerry: I created this tent for my Designer Showcase this past January’s Craft & Hobby Association trade show. I love a challenge and I have always wanted to make a mini tent for my girls to play with. It’s perfect for stuffed animals, or little figurines. Have fun!
What You Need:
- Mini-Tent Pattern
- Tent – Fabric A: 4 Fat Quarters or approx 1 yard
- Flooring – Fabric B: 2 Fat Quarters or approx 1/2 yard
- 4 Corner Tabs – Fabric A, B, or C: your choice scraps – cut 3 1/2″ x 1 1/2″
- 16 Tent Pole Tabs – Fabric A, B, or C: your choice scraps – cut 3″ x 2 1/2″
- 1 Ribbon – 14″ piece
- 2 Poles – 3/8″ x 30″ Faucet Connector & a sharp knife or blade to shorten
- Sewing Machine
- Ruler Mat
Pre-wash and press all of your fabric. This will be completely washable if made with cotton, and pre-washing will prevent twisting and tugging later on.
Use all 1/4″ seam allowances, except on top stitching.
Trace pattern pieces onto your pattern paper (connect the red and blue line for the tent sides). This is the only way it would properly print on a standard 8 1/2 x 11. BE SURE TO PLACE PIECES ON THE FOLD AS DIRECTED.
Cut out all of your tab pieces (there are no pattern pieces for these). The tent pole tabs can be a combination of two fabrics, you choose, while the corner tabs are only one fabric.
Pin the pattern pieces onto your fabric and cut your fabric accordingly. The tent flooring square should be cut to 11 1/4 x 11 1/4. You can cut more doors out of the side panels if you wish, just be sure to cut additional door frames too.
Putting Your Mini Tent Together:
Step 1: With your Door panel right side up, place the door frame right side down on top of the doorway. Stitch from one side to the other.
Step 2: Press the frame to the inside of the tent, and top stitch that same seam.
Step 3: Sew your Tent pole tabs together. Place two pieces, right sides facing together and stitch both sides (a). Turn each piece inside out and press (b). Top stitch the side seams (c). The top and bottom are open, but they will be sewn into the tent panel seams so it’s OK.
Step 4: The image just shows that you can save time by running each tab in a continuous “running stitch.” You still need to lock in your beginning and ending stitch on each so they don’t tear apart when turning.
Step 5: Sew your corner tabs together. Lay a piece right side up (a). Fold that piece from left to right and stitch the right seam (b). Center the seam (c), and fold the sides together so the center seam is tucked inside. Stitch only one end closed (d).
Step 6: Carefully turn the corner pieces inside out. Find that center seam (a) and pull it over to one side. With a little wiggling, the corner will naturally want to be tucked in and the seam is on one side, and now looks like a little hood (b).
Step 7a: On the door panel, take a tab and fold it in half so the stitched seams are on the sides. Place the raw edge of the tab, up to the raw edge of the tent panel. You will place two tabs at the 3 inch mark, and two tabs at the 8″ mark as shown in the photo.
Step 7b: Place the corner tabs with the folded side down towards the bottom of the tent, and the opening facing the top of the tent, at the 5/8″ mark (note the red “X” marks in photo 7a).
Step 7c: Repeat steps 7a and 7b on the rear panel of the tent.
Step 8: Place one plain panel right side facing down, directly on top of the door panel. Sew only the right side seam from top to bottom, leaving 1/4″ open at the top for ribbon placement.
Step 9: Open the panel pieces, and place the other plain panel right side facing down, directly on top of the door panel. Sew the left side seam from top to bottom, leaving 1/4″ open at the top for ribbon placement. (You may notice in this picture that I forgot to put my corner tabs in… They magically appear in the next photo.)
Step 10: Place the read panel right side facing up and place the three-piece panel from Step 9, right side facing down. Line up one side and sew from top to bottom. You do not need to leave a 1/4″ open here. Repeat this step on the final edge of your tent and the top should now be complete, excluding the ribbon.
Step 11: Place the flooring right side facing up on your table and pin the top of the tent to the flooring. Carefully line up the corners and don’t pull or stretch your fabric.
Step 12: Take the other flooring piece and place it right side facing down directly on top of the whole tent. Place two pins near your tent door opening, to allow for turning it inside out. Pin the flooring in place around the entire tent, making sure to keep the corner tabs out of the way.
Step 13: Starting at one corner of the tent door opening, sew along the edge of the tent, all the way around to the other side of the tent door opening. Again, be sure your corner tabs have not been sewn into the seam!
Step 14: Turn your tent inside out through the opening. Press the opening if necessary, and top stitch this opening closed.
Step 15. Turn the tent inside out and place a piece of ribbon folded in half, up into the tip of the tent. The ends should be hanging out of the top, while the folded edge is on the inside, stitch this seam to secure the ribbon.
Step 16: CAREFULLY (adults only), trim your poles to size with a pocket knife or small blade (be sure to trim the end with the extra piece on it). One pole should be trimmed to 28″ and the other should be slightly shorter, about 27 1/2″. (One pole will sit under the other). You can cover up any printing on the poles or match them to your fabric by using duct tape. I used brown to make them look like twigs. Start at one end and twist the pole while holding the tape, and gently work your way up. Do not over wrap or the pole will not fit in through the tabs.
Step 17: Place both poles in through their tabs.
Step 18: Place two ends into their corner tabs. Then gently bend the poles to insert the opposite ends into their corner tabs.
Step 19: (not pictured) Tie the ribbon up around the two poles and you are finished.