Eyelets and Sewing Illustrations

The next part of the construction process was to add eyelets along the seams of the tepee. These eyelets were necessary so as I can transport and give extra strength to the structure. Before the eyelets were fitted, the fabric panels were fed through the top of the beams, and then the beams were spread to fit the tent shape. This was adicquate, but a lot of strain was put on the front opening and therefore it seemed best to tie the corners of the tent to the matching beam to stop the tepee sliding out of shape. I decided to mark out the eyelets in three positions down the side of the seams, one level to the opening, mid-way and at the bottom. The eyelets were made with a kit consisting of two metal eyelet parts and a stamp. Firstly, a circular hole was cut into the fabric by the sharp edge of the metal piece.  The bottom half of the stamp was then placed underneath the fabric with the larger part of the eyelet resting on the top. The fabric hole was then placed over the pieces, followed by the washer and stamp. A hammer was then used to link the eyelet together. This process was repeated until all the eyelets were in place, and then the tepee could be reconstructed with each seam tied to the wooden beams. This means that when it is time for the tepee to be moved, we can collapse the structure and wrap the fabric around like an umbrella.

The nest stage was to attach the appliqued designs to the inside of the panels. I decided that most effective way of doing this was by hand sewing/ tacking the designs on when the structure was standing. This meant that I could both pin the designs up and sew them whilst seeing the final display. I sorted the illustrations into size and colour categories as I wanted balance throughout. The brighter backgrounds such as purples and oranges where placed opposite one another, whilst the sizes were arranged to create a pyramid shape. To sew on each design, I added one stitch at each corner (adding extra support for the heavier and larger designs) and then left two loose ends which I then threaded through buttons and knotted securely from the inside. The problem I faced was that the panels caved in slightly so it was difficult to get the designs to line up and to be tight against the calico. To overcome this, I had to pull the backing tight and be patient with the pinning process to make sure each one was acceptable. I wasn’t too precious with the gridding system as I felt this would work against the concept, especially as when I cut the fabrics to size I didn’t have a perfectly straight cut.

The next step is to add the fairy lights, and then transport the tepee to university.

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