How to make a backyard tipi
- Five 10-foot bamboo poles (2 inch diameter; we used Tonkin species from Cali Bamboo: $8 each with minimum order of 10)
- 3 yards of 3/8-inch sisal rope
- 15 yards of weather-resistant fabric like Sunbrella: We used 11 yards of Spectrum Daffodil #48024 for the exterior; 1½ yards (optional) of Caroline Seabreeze #5644 for the inside front flaps; and 2½ yards of Spectrum Graphite #48030 for the liner under the mattress
- Sewing machine
On a flat surface in your yard, measure out a rectangle that’s 81 inches by 59 inches. Place 4 bamboo poles upright, 1 at each corner of this rectangle. Place pole 5 between 2 back poles for stability. Tether the 5 poles with the sisal rope.
Front and back panels: Hem tops 1/2 inch and turn again 1/2 inch. Hem bottoms 1/2 inch and turn again 1/2 inch.
Back panels only: Stitch center back seams together to make 1 solid back panel.
Fold seam to outside and top-stitch. Hem top 1/2 inch, turn again 1/2 inch, stitch. Hem bottom 1/2 inch, turn again 1/2 inch, stitch.
Make the ties for the front flaps and base loops: Cut 18 pieces, each 10 inches by 2 inches; fold twice and stitch. Use 14 of these 10-inch ties on the front flaps of the tipi, evenly spacing and sewing 7 on each flap (see figure). Use 2 of these 10-inch ties as “tie backs,” sewing 1 on each front edge of the tipi (see figure). Reserve the remaining 2 of these 10-inch ties to use in the final step as base loops, to attach the base liner to 2 of the bamboo poles (explained in next figure).
Make the interior bamboo pole ties (including a 20-inch loop for the top of the tipi): Cut 16 pieces, 20 inches by 2 inches each; fold twice and stitch. You’ll use 15 of these 20-inch ties on the interior of the tipi.
Sew side seams together.
Using the 20-inch ties made above, position 3 of the 20-inch ties along each of the 5 interior seams (these will secure the tipi to the 5 bamboo poles): place 1 at bottom of tipi, 1 at 30 inches up, and 1 at 70 inches up; stitch each into place.
Sew the remaining 20-inch tie in the tipi’s top right corner. This will loop around all 5 bamboo poles to further secure the tipi.
Cut a 3-inch by 3-inch square from the back edge of the base liner (see figure), to allow the rear bamboo pole (pole 5) to remain in contact with the ground.
Hem all sides and cutouts toward wrong side.
Following the figure, sew 2 remaining 10-inch ties (created in last step) into loops at the left side corners of base liner. These loops attach the base liner to 2 of the tipi’s side bamboo poles.
Finally, attach the base liner to one side of the tipi: Following the figure, stitch the loop-free 59-inch side of the base liner to the bottom of one 59-inch side of the base of the tipi.
Design: Trisha Olson, Out-N-In, Sausalito, CA (415/935-5929)