Tent making is an advanced project for a group interested in lightweight equipment for trip or primitive camping. The making of the tent will probably be an in-town activity, in preparation for camping. When boys and girls have had experience in making group tents, they often become interested in making their own individual tents. As with other equipment-making projects, the basic plan should be altered to carry out individual desires and to meet particular needs. The project described here is for a two-person tent. This plan is based upon tents made by a group of Senior Girl Scouts in Cincinnati, Ohio, for use on international camping trips in Canada and Europe.

In making a tent, it is a good plan to make a small model, cut to scale and basted together; this helps in seeing how the tent will look and in planning stitching, etc. When the actual tent material is cut, it is good to pin it together, and to insert patches, tapes, and other small pieces, so that one stitching will secure them into seams or hems as the sewing progresses. Planning and testing are essential parts of the procedure in making a large object such as a tent.

Equipment needed: scissors or pinking shears; large work space; sewing machine; pins; grommet setting tools; brush or spray for waterproofing.

Materials needed.- 3 sheets of fine quality, 81" x 108"- "seconds" serve very well-white, or colored as desired; or 7 yds. 81" unbleached muslin sheeting, or similar material; 19' one-inch twill tape; 28 grommets or D-rings; heavy duty cotton thread cord for guy lines; dye, if desired; waterproofing material; material for poles and ridge.


1. Read directions through first; think through the whole project; plan whether you want tapes, rings, grommets, sod cloth, overhang, etc.

Make a cloth model, one inch to a foot; baste it together; set it up to see how the tent will look. Check each detail.

2. If using sheets, take out hem; wash and press. If using new material, wash and dye before cutting, to shrink material and to remove sizing.

3. To cut (Figs. XVI-55 R, M, and W) :

Sheet No. 1 makes the roof, as is.


FIg. XVI-55-R.

Cut To Make Front And Back Pieces

Sheet No. 2 (Fig. XVI-55 M) is cut to make front and back pieces.

Sheet No. 3 (Fig. XVI-55 W) is cut in three strips each 3'; two of these strips are for the side walls; the other is for small pieces, such as patches and strips. Cut six pieces 5" x 10" to make 5" doubled squares for reinforcement patches. Cut a strip 6" x 72" to extend front flap at opening; cut a similar strip for back, if back is to be open. 4. To stitch:

Roof: fold roof piece in half, through center, for 81" ridge. Turn in edges of two patches and pin at each end of ridge, running selvage under 1/2". Pin tape across ridge, turning under at ends, or extending to make loops or to hold D-rings for guy ropes. Stitch tape in three places-at edges and in middle. Stitch patches, crisscrossing stitching.

Walls; turn 3" hem on sides of roof for eaves; turn 1/2 hem at top of wall pieces and pin into roof hem, so that there are overhangs or eaves of about 3" (Fig. XVI-56 x). Insert tapes at middle of hem, for rolling up wall y (Fig. XVI-57 y); half of tape inside, half outside tent.

Front and back: double the 6" x 72" strip and turn edges in; stitch it to the left front section (A-G) to extend the 3" overlap provided (Fig. XVI-55 M A-a). Do the same with the left section of back, if back is to be open. If back is not open, stitch tape across from corner at top of wall to opposite corner before seaming.

Stitch Tape Across

Hem length of right-hand section (s) (Fig. XVI-55 M) G-H.

Pin front sections to roof, turning edges under, starting at a to E, and c to E (Fig. XVI-55 M), making flat seam. Do same with back piece (s) (Fig. XVI-58).

Insert tapes through corners so that half of each piece is on the outside of tent, half on the inside, to tie rolled flaps (Fig. XVI-56E).

Pin patches at corners of tent (Fig. XVI-56); insert tapes and D-rings, if desired. (Put grommets in later.) Stitch all seams and patches.

Join corners at sides of wall and front and back with flat seams A-B, C-D, E-F. Or, these may be hemmed, and left open, with tapes to tie, or with grommets for lacing.

Turn hem all around the bottom of the tent, from front to back; insert tape for loops for ground pegs, or put grommets in later; stitch. If sod cloth is desired, stitch in with hem (see below). Stitch tapes in place in front (and back) opening (s), to tie overlap (Fig. XVI-57).

5. Grommets may be placed at the spots where guy ropes will be used, for ground pegs at bottom hem and for tent pole spikes at ridge. Guy lines will go at the four corners, in the middle of the roof eaves, at peak of roof, front and back, if no ridge pole is planned. D-rings may be used instead of grommets. Handmade grommets are preferred by some for lightweight material; make with small ring and buttonholing. (See techniques in this chapter for fastening patches, D-rings, grommets, etc.)

6. Waterproof as desired. It is easiest to waterproof a tent when it is standing; brush or spray the solution evenly and thoroughly. L.et it dry thoroughly. If wax base is used, press with warm iron. (See techniques in this chapter.)

7. Place guy ropes as needed; a taut line hitch (see any knot book) may be used to shorten ropes, or small wooden or metal "runners" may be used. Whip all ends.

8. Desirable additions:

Sod cloth: a 6" to 10" strip may be sewed to bottom of walls and front and back pieces, making a sod cloth to go under a ground sheet. Stitch into bottom hems, and hem as needed. Place grommets in the four corners, inside the tent.

Ground cloth: a ground cloth may be made of waterproofed material, such as plastic; make it the size of the floor of the tent; hem it all around; put grommets in the four corners, to correspond with grommets in the sod cloth, so the ground cloth can be pegged down through the sod cloth with skewer pegs.

Overhangs: these may be made for the front and back openings; cut as in Figure XVI-59; hem edges; stitch to roof when front and back pieces are stitched (Fig. XVI-60).

9. Tent poles (see Figs. XVI-31 and 32) : poles for the front and back of the tent should be 6', with spike at top to go through grommet in ridge. Tent poles may be made of saplings, wooden poles, or of metal.

A ridge pole stretches the length of the ridge, with holes in the end, through which the pole spikes are placed. Guy ropes at front and back overhangs or at ends of tent ridge will do away with need for a ridge and should be satisfactory in this small tent.

Tapes on the outside of the tent ridge will make it possible to use an outside ridge pole, with shears for poles at front and back. This outside ridge may be suspended from a tree (Fig. XVI-62).

Electrician's thin wall conduits with couplings may be used to make collapsible poles and ridge. These are lightweight and rust resistant. They are used inside the tent without spikes, so no grommets are needed in ridge of tent (Fig. XVI-61). 10. Ropes for ground pegs: small lengths of rope are put in the grommets in hem of tent, for pegging tent to ground. Put loop through grommet from inside of hem, and tie ends together with overhand knot-see Braiding and Knotting chapter, Figure 11-21 (Fig. XVI-63).