Dining Tent

A photo of the dining tent taken by Paul of AbbotsfordWe wanted a space to eat dinner with the whole household – up to 20 or so people.  I didn’t have the time or energy to go researching or designing a new tent.  So I grabbed the pattern I had for the circus tent and we inserted a single width of canvas between two poles.

Here’s what we made.  Paul took this beautiful photo and you can see the shadows of up to 40 people singing inside the tent.  You can see more great photos at Paul’s flickr site by clicking on the picture.

Then we booked a hall for four days over the christmas break.  We spent two days sewing and two days painting.

We shaped the wall pieces by cutting a triangle from one side of the trapezoid and rotating it 180degrees and matching the straight edges.  Like this:

We set up some long tables to feed the lengths of canvas through the industrial sewing machine.  This is the first pass for the flat fell seam on one of the wall pieces.  We roll the excess canvas before sewing each seam.  It’s easier to manage the bulk.

sewing tables

Then we open the seam and “press” it to make the flat fell seam.

Laura using "gino" to press the seam flat.close up flat fell seam

We sewed all the wall pieces together and the roof pieces together.  We left the last seam of the roof open so we could lay it flat for painting.  We used oil based paint like we have for all the painted tents.  Depending on the canvas we’ve sometimes thinned it with turps.

painterspaint drying

My husband turned and made the tent poles from 100mm x 100mm cypress pine.  It’s probably overengineered, but we are pretty confident that they won’t snap if the guy ropes shrink and the wind blows.  It’s a good feeling.

tent poleslathe with bed extension

And we all got together to sew leather kringles for the ropes and pegs to attach to the tent.  This isn’t one of ours.  this is a kringle from the extant tent in a museum in Basel, but ours are very similar.  We’ve used this style of hooks for the circus tent, but the dining tent just has the rope tied through the hole.

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