Through cosplay, I have met some of my best friends ever. Although we live in different parts of the country, we come together for conventions and do group photos etc. For the last two conventions, we have also made a little “corner” to showcase our costumes and help create a good atmosphere and entertain the other con guests. 5 of us attended Koyocon in November 2015 together and were invited to set up one such corner. Prior to the event, we brainstormed what we could do, and had the crazy idea of making a big tent – both as a decoration and as a practical place for storage and sleep. The choice fell on the colourful and easily recognizable Darkmoon Faire-tents. I volunteered to make it.
Since the time was short and I had no experience whatsoever with tent-sewing, I chose to go the “simple” route of using a pavilion tent as base and building my tent on top of that.
First thing’s first: I put up the tent to measure out how big everything needed to be. I knew the overall measurements of the tent was 2 by 2 meter, but that was all the info I had from the start. The tent is 2 meters tall at the sides and 3,6 meters in the middle. It’s a super cheap tent that I doubt was made for outside use – I’m sure the smallest gust of wind would knock it over!
The tent in all it’s boring, out-of-the-box glory!
I especially noted how the bar along the edge inside could be used for hanging the sides – and how the corner would prevent me from doing it nicely in the middle.
I calculated the fabric requirement – the type I had chosen was 140 cms wide, so 2 stripes would fit in the width. I purchased 38 meters for the tent in total, which was a pretty fitting amount.
The simple part was making the sides, as they consist only of straight lines. I made these 54 cm wide and 210 cm long, resulting in a seam allowance of 2 cm along the sides and 10 cm for the height. This resulted in sides that were slightly longer than the tent height, but this looks good, so I would advice to do just that! As for the width, making each strip a few cms wider would not have hurt at all!
I made 4 sides in total, each is attached in such a way that they go from middle of a side to middle of the next side. Each side has 6 stripes.
I overlocked/serged all sides first, then stitched them together. Top and bottom were serged/overlocked after the sides were stitched together.
When I finished the sides, I got started on the roof, which was the more challenging part. I started out calculating how tall the stripes needed to be. Originally, I made all of them 50 cms wide, but after some measuring, I found out the smallest closest to the corner needed to be 5 cms shorter.
Drawing showing the measurements for the roof pieces.
Measuring out and cutting all the pieces was a complicated task that required a lot of space – a small mistake could have ruined it all. I managed, though, despite my fabric seemingly being a cat magnet.
All roof sides were serged, then stitched, just like the sides. The finished roof sides were then all serged together, resulting in something that already resembles a tent!
First test-fit of the roof! Half the legs have not yet been attached in this photo, which is why it looks so short.
The last parts to make were the rounded edges. Although the furthest to the corner strips of the roof were only 45 cm, I made all of these 50 cms wide (plus 1 cm of seam allowance on each side). I didn’t want there to be uneven half-circles, so later when I stitched them together, I just stitched them not straight, but from wherever the sides met and out to the circle’s end. I made the pattern by measuring out the side I needed and used a compass to draw the half-circles, which each have a radius of 6,25 cms.
Once they were cut out, I added trim. I didn’t do it the “correct” way, I just folded it, pinned it in place and stitched through both layers with the fabric inbetween.I cut it up to allow some to reach a bit further up than the circle end and folded this to make a pointy end where the trim pieces meet.
Explaining how I did this is complicated, so I hope the photo explains itself!
I had measured out pretty precisely, so the edge and the roof parts fit together nicely! I stitched them on on all three sides first, then stitched the sides together, corner to edge.
Tent roof with edges – too large to lay out in my apartment!
The tent seen from inside – this photo shows how the sides are attached. There’s a velcro strip with a hook and a loop in each corner of the stripes, and for the ones that cross the corner, only the loop is required and a hook stitched to the original pavillon to hold it up in the corner.
The last thing I did was to add ribbon to the edges that tie together, so the tent isn’t open all the way around. The ribbons at the opening can be tied to the side sticks to hold them together.
Finished tent – closed, but not tied.
Finished tent – open!
We added a few more details to the faire – like the eye pictured above. It’s actually just a rice paper spray painted and then the black pupil painted with black acrylics. Below a close-up
Another last-minute idea was to make arrows pointing the way to the hall we were setup in. This was an idea we had the evening before the con, so it was made very simply with cardboard, spray paint and battery-driven christmas lights.
Our Faire had a lot of other things, and will grow bigger as we attend more cons!