I have such fond memories of when I was a little girl and had the My Little Pony tent bed (way back in the day!). So, when I saw this idea I immediately JUMPED to get this going too. I just know my nieces are going to love this! Plus, it makes for a great back-to-school pick-me-up when you realize summer is officially over. Womp Womp!
-fabric for the drapes (6 yards for a large hula hoop, 4 yards for a small one)
-fabric for the top of the tent (approximately 2 yards)
-velcro (heavy duty, non-adhesive type)
-hook to hang your tent from the ceiling
-fabric pencil (regular pencil will do)
-border template (Click here for free download)
Step One: Cut the drapery yardage into 2 yard sections. For a smaller hula hoop, you will need to connect two of these sections with one middle seam. For a larger hula hoop, I recommend connecting 3 two-yard sections at their sides. Make sure the pattern matches up at the seam. Then hem the bottom and sides of this now very large piece of fabric—but do not hem the top.
Step Two: Create two long strips of fabric for the border of the top of the tent. These strips should be 8" wide, and the length should be the circumference of your hula hoop plus one inch for hem allowance. I made my strips of fabric by piecing together three lengths of fabric rather than buying a long piece of fabric and not using all its width.
Step Three: Print and cut out this border template and trace it onto the length of fabric you made in the previous step. You may need to fudge it a bit by making the template close to the previously traced one or further from it. Because hula hoop circumferences vary, I can't say how many repetitions of this template will fit along your fabric strip.
You only need to trace it onto one strip of fabric—just layer the two strips before cutting in the next step.
Step Four: Layer the two strips of fabric and cut out the zigzag that you just drew in the previous step.
Step Five: Fold over each strip of zigzagged fabric and close the ends with pins. Stitch the ends together to make a big circle. Make sure it will fit around your hula hoop. Make both strips the exact same sized circle.
Step Six: Place the two zigzagged circles you just made face to face with each other (right sides facing each other) and pin them together along the zigzagged edge.
Step Seven: Stitch along the pinned zigzagged edges about 1/4" from the edge of the fabric.
Step Eight: After making your stitch to connect the two pieces, trim the peaks of the zigzags as shown above, and make a tiny slit in the valleys of the peaks, making sure not to cut into your stitching. This will help your fabric lay better and not pucker in the next step.
Step Nine: Flip the connected zigzag pieces right-side-out and iron flat the zigzag edges. You may need to use a pointy object to get the peaks to poke out to their fullest potential before ironing.
Step Ten: Stitch closed the straight edge of these connected strips with a wide stitch about 1/4" from the open edge. This step will keep the pieces from shifting apart when connecting them to the rest of the tent later.
Step Eleven: From the fabric allotted for the top of your tent (mine is white cotton), make the strip of fabric that allows the tent to hang from a ceiling hook. The length of this depends on the height of your ceiling and the length of the hook you use. I suggest making it on the longer side as you can always shorten it later.
Step Twelve: Iron the strip of fabric in half and stitch it closed along the length, about 1/4" from the raw edges of the fabric strip. This will create a tube of fabric. Flip the tube right-side out with the help of a safety pin. Just push the safety pin through the tube and out the other side.
Step Thirteen: Iron flat the little tube of fabric after it is right-side out.
Step Fourteen: Cut out 8 triangles, which you will piece together for the top of your tent. Your triangle size depends on the hula hoop measurements. Here's a formula:
width of the triangle base: 1/8 hula hoop circumference + 1.5"
length of the triangle: 3/4 of the hula hoop diameter
I also curved my triangles a bit to give the top of my tent that swoopy look when finished. I folded a triangle in half before cutting out the curve, to ensure it was symmetrical, and then I used that triangle as a template for the rest.
Step Fifteen: Pin together and stitch four of your triangles to make one half of the tent top. Then do the same to the other four triangles.
Keep your hem stitch only 1/4" from the edges of the fabric.
Before connecting the two halves together, make sure to add the tent hanger you made in steps 11-13. Arrange it as shown above and stitch it onto the peak of the conjoined triangles.
Step Sixteen: With your hanging strip tucked safely inside still, as was shown in step fifteen, pin together the two halves of the tent top as shown above. Then stitch them together, making a flat stitch at the peak, perpendicular to the the center stitch of the four triangles that make up one half of the tent top.
Step Seventeen: Lay the hula hoop over the finished tent top and trim the edges to make it a circle, about 1" larger than the size of the hula hoop if possible.
Step Eighteen: Connect the drapes of the tent to the completed zigzag border. To do this, you must first gather the fabric of the drapes. I did this by hand stitching a loose stitch at the top of my drapes and pulling on the thread to gather the fabric. Then I was able to loosen the gather to the exact circumference of the zigzag border as I pinned them together. After it was pinned in place, I stitched the pieces together on my sewing machine.
Step Nineteen: Now that your drapes and border are connected, you can add the tent top. Pin the right side of the tent top to the right side of your border+drapes. Then stitch them together on the sewing machine.
The circumference of your tent top might be bigger than your border when pinning them together. If that happens, just pin the border a bit inside the edge of the tent top, staying true to the circle of the tent top.
Step Twenty: Stitch velcro pieces to the inside hem where you have connected the tent top and the border together. Make sure they are facing the correct direction, as shown in the above image. This is how you will attach the tent to the hula hoop. Stitch two velcro pieces onto each triangle base to make sure there was plenty of support. The more the merrier!
How adorable and fabulous?! I hope you love this as much as me! I think Mandi Johnson of A Beautiful Mess did a great job of this. I intend to do the same thing but with some different fabric, like a calico.