Thursday, 19 June 2014

Ministry of Craft Tutorial: Wigwam Thank You Ma'am!


Meter rule (or long straight piece of wood for drawing long lines)
Flexible tape measure
6 m of brown paper, measuring 50 cm wide
Paper scissors
Sewing machine
Matching thread
Fabric scissors

4. 6 meters of light or medium weight woven fabric
1 x 10 cm pieces of elastic
1 x 30 cm elastic 

2 x 40-50 cm pieces ribbon
1 x 40 cm ribbon
5 x 190 cm garden canes
2 to 3 rolls of washi tape

Cut fabric pieces required to make your Wigwam
4 x Side panel piece (from paper pattern)
1 x Front triangle piece (from paper pattern)
2 x Door Panels (from paper pattern)
5 x Pole covers (drawn directly onto fabric)

Before you start

Seam allowances are included in the pattern. Use a 1.5 seam allowance throughout unless stated otherwise. Press all your fabrics before you begin. Use either a large table or the floor for drawing out, laying up your fabric and pinning to give the best results.
1. How to draw out your pattern pieces 
To make your ‘side panel pattern’, cut two 150 cm lengths of brown paper. Overlap the two pieces by approximately 3 cm. Using small pieces of masking tape join the two pieces together. Then tape over the small pieces of tape with two or three long pieces, so the whole join is concealed. Fold the paper in two along the taped line and place on a flat surface with the thin strip at the top of the paper, furthest way from you. 

2. Keeping the paper folded, use the folded edge of the paper to create your pattern centre line and mark two points, 144cm apart, along its length. At one point, mark a 36.5cm line at a right angle to the centre line (bottom of your pattern piece). At the

other end mark a 4 cm line, again at a right angle to the centre line (top of your pattern piece). Draw down a line to the measured marks.

3. Join the ends of the two lines together using a meter rule or long piece of straight wood. If you find this tricky, stick your tape measure, using masking tape to the paper and draw a faint

pencil line along it. Then straighten this to create a solid line. Leaving the paper still folded cut through both layers of paper along the lines and unfold.

4. To make your ‘front triangle pattern’, cut two 60 cm lengths of brown paper. Join together and fold as in step 1. Using the fold as the centre line mark out 55.5 cm.  As before mark down at right angles to each end a 26.5 cm line and a 4 cm line which will form the top and
bottom of your panel. Join the lines together and cut out the pattern as in Step 3.
If using the layout in Step 6, keep the pattern folded and fold over the 3 cm overlap over
the centre line.

5. To make your ‘door panel pattern’, cut two 90 cm lengths of brown paper and join together with masking tape as in step 1, but this time leave the paper unfolded. On the left hand side straight long edge of the paper, mark two points, 86cm apart. At a right angle to the straight edge mark a 59cm line, (bottom of pattern). At the opposite end mark a 26.5 cm line, at a right angle to the straight edge
(top of pattern). Join the ends of the two lines together and cut along the drawn lines.

6. To layout your pattern pieces lay out your fabric on a flat surface and double over, with the selvedges (the edges of the fabric that do not fray) on top of each other. Based on 150cm wide fabric layout your pattern pieces as in the diagram. Pin the pattern pieces into place, through both layers of fabric and cut out carefully. The folded front triangle piece should be placed on the fold of the fabric. For the pole cover pieces, measure 14 cm x 147 cm rectangle straight onto your fabric using tailors chalk, pins or erasable fabric pen. Alternatively you can make a paper pattern using the pattern making steps as a guide.

7. If you are using different fabric for each panel and pole cover as we did, layout your
pattern pieces individually and cut out carefully. Ensure the centre line of your pattern piece is parallel to the selvedge.

8. To start constructing your wigwam, take the first of your side panels and at the bottom fold over a 0. 5cm hem, press and then fold over
another 1cm hem. Pin in place and repeat this on:
-    Top and bottom of all side panels
-    top and bottom of all pole cover pieces.
Trim off any fabric that is not flush with the sides.

9. Fill your bobbin full with cotton and thread up your machine. Using a straight stitch, stitch close to the top of the folded hem. Remember to backstitch (or reverse) at the start and finish of your stitching lines. 

10. Layout a side panel onto a flat surface, with the right side of the fabric facing upwards. Fold a pole cover lengthwise, with
the wrong sides of the fabric together. Then lay the folded pole cover onto the side panel, matching together the long edges.

11. Lay another side panel with the right side facing down on
top of the pole cover and again match the long edge. Pin to the fabric, along the long length. Open up the pinned sections and check that each piece has the right side facing the correct way before sewing.

12. Using a 1.5 cm seam allowance sew through all our layers of fabric using a straight stitch. To reinforce the
wigwam, sew a

zig-zag on the seam allowance stitch as close to the fabric edge as possible to prevent any fraying. 

13. When you have sewn four panels and three pole covers together, open out the partially constructed teepee and pin and sew the final two pole cover pieces, to the edges of the outer
panels. The finished result should look like this.

14. Lay the door panel with the wrong side of the fabric facing up wards. Along the straight long edge and bottom edge and press the same hem as in Step 8, creating a neat fold on the corner edge. Sew along the door opening side and stop

approximately 0.5 cm away from the corner.  Pivot with the needle in the fabric and turn the fabric to continue sewing along the bottom seam. Repeat on the remaining door and sew down the hem only on the top front triangle panel piece.

15. Join the two door panels to the front triangle panel by placing the right sides of the fabric together along the bottom long edge of the front triangle panel and the short top sides of the 2 door panels. Ensure that that the doors meet in the middle and the outside edges meet. Pin and sew the seam
closed to form a full
wigwam panel. Zig zag to prevent any fraying and press the seam upwards towards the top of the wigwam.

16. To attach the ribbon ties, find the halfway point of the open section of the door and pin a piece of ribbon to the back. Fold a
piece of the elastic in half and pin at the same position as the ribbon on the front of the door. Each piece should have at least a 1.5 cm overhang into the seam. Repeat on the opposite side of the door. Hand sew the elastic into place to secure.

17. To sew the door panel to the
wigwam, take the part constructed wigwam and pin the door panel to the furthest left
pole cover as in Step 12, and sew a joining seam. Pin the final pole cover to the remaining front panel and sew together. The final result should look like this.

18. To create matching canes, wrap Japanese washi tape down from the top of the cane approximately 45cm and approximately 21 cm at the bottom of each cane.
Push each cane into the pole covers and hold together firmly at the top. Around 20 cm from the top, wrap a piece of elastic around the canes twice and then knot.  Splay the canes until and position until the
wigwam is standing up of its own accord. Take a piece of ribbon and wrap around the elastic as a finishing touch.

    Top Tips
  • When sewing ties or ribbons into such a large project pin any dangling ribbon away from the seam to stop it getting sewn inside your seam allowance!
  • If using heavier weight fabric consider using a walking foot for your machine which has ‘teeth’ or ‘feed dogs’ similar to the bottom of your machine and will feed the layers of fabric through more easily.
  • If using a patterned fabric, think about the direction of the pattern and if this will effect the way you lay out your pattern pieces or if you’ll need more fabric to allow for this.
  • To speed up your cutting, make two side panels that you can then pin and cut in one go, instead of unpinning and re-pinning.

If you have a go at this tutorial please send us pictures of your finished wigwams. Or tag us on Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest/Instagram etc. Happy

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