Friday, 15 February 2013

Circus Inspired Corner Tent

Noah loves circuses and a little while ago he said he wanted to live in a circus tent.  Well, how could I refuse his request?  Obviously being only two I wasn't enamoured with the idea of him running away to the circus so I thought I better get a wiggle on and make him his own life-size (correction - Noah size) circus tent.
The only problem is that his room is tiny!  I did think about making a stand alone circular tent using a hula hoop and suspending it from the ceiling - which would have looked really cool - but a chance conversation at the school gate led me to this little invention.  One of Will's classmate's mums asked me if I'd seen a 'corner tent'.  I had absolutely no idea what she meant until she explained that the daughter of a friend of hers had one which I presume is similar in design to the one I eventually made for Noah except it used a net curtain wire hooked across the corner of a room where the bunting is on Noah's one.  

So, a couple of metres of fabric and a string of bunting later, Noah has his very own circus tent (he promises he will not now run away to join the clowns - phew!) and . . .

and I have somewhere to hide all of those toys still needing to be given a home after Christmas!


I used pinking shears to make the bunting flags as they are pretty small . . .

and made little ties with mini poppers on to draw back the curtains when it's show time.

I haven't written a full tutorial on this as it is really as simple as hemming two rectangles and a triangle, sewing them together and stitching the bunting strip to the joining line (the tie backs are so thin that they are a little tricky so below I show you how to make these).  I sewed a loop of string to the tip of the tent roof and at the two ends of the bunting strip and nailed three hooks at these points on the walls. I also added two hooks for the tie backs to attach to, otherwise the sides gape inwards when tied back.

I made the ties by cutting a rectangle and sewing it along three sides (leaving a small opening through which to turn it through the right way.  The ties are quite narrow so this would have been a pretty awkward thing to do if it hadn't been for this clever little trick. It's an old trick but a really useful one to know so, here's how you do it:


1. Take your rectangle of fabric


2. pull out a long length of thread from the bobbin and needle - make sure it is at least a couple of inches longer than the length of the fabric you are about to sew

3. before you begin to stitch, open the fabric and tuck the length of thread from your machine down the centre, making sure it is poking out of the end - sew the top end and long side of the fabric, finishing as above. Secure the stitching on the long length with a couple of reverse stitches . .

4. and then place it in front of you on the table.

5. take your preferred poking instrument (mine is an oh, so technical half a wooden BBQ skewer!The snapped end does the poking so as not to skewer the fabric!) and push the top end in on itself (the end where the long length of cotton is attached to the fabric)


6. begin to pull the fabric in on itself . . .

7. until it is completely  reversed. Snip the long threads from the end  - et voila!  Your thin little tie back is looking lovely and right-side-out-able!  Hand stitch the remaining gap and you're ready to sew on your poppers, buttons or velcro - whatever you decide will secure your tie backs.
OK, so the inevitable is now happening - big brother Will decides to do the 'Look, I've got no body' gag.

 Noah didn't quite get the idea - but spent the next half hour playing peek-a-boo!  Think he's pretty chuffed though and happy to have all the fun of the circus in his very own shoebox of a room!
To make this, I used:


  1. Rae that's so cute! I really want to make one for my nephew. Such a fab idea x

    1. Thanks, Lucy! It would make a great present, wouldn't it?

  2. Can you explain what hooks you used for the walls?

    1. Hi Jenna, I just used a little cup hooks like these Hope that helps. Rae