Sunday, June 22, 2008

Card Table Playhouse Tips

I used our piano bench and made a home for puppies and dolls that match the girls new playhouse. This playhouse was much, much easier and much quicker to make because I didn't add any windows. I opted to make a tent style door with two panels instead of the door flap like in the playhouse. It was a breeze to make while Gwen napped.

I thought I would post a How To Make A Card Table Playhouse with tips and hints for those curious minds out there. I tried to find some for myself when I was making mine, but didn't come up with any. So I didn't use a pattern or a tutorial for my English Cottage Playhouse. I would love to include a tutorial, but I don't have a plan to make one again any time soon, so I'll just share with you the basics from what I learned from doing mine. Hopefully with these simple guidelines you'll be on your way to creating a fabulous playhouse for your little ones.

- Your table playhouse can be made for any table size you want. Square or rectangle. I don't think a bigger table will result in a more difficult experience, it just may take longer to sew. Especially if you will be adding more than 1 window per side.

- First measure the table top length and width. Add two inches to each measurement when cutting fabric-I say fabric, but sheets work great and is much cheaper.

-Measure each side of your table lengths. Measure from the table top to the ground. Add one inch to each measurement and cut fabric.

-Label each piece that is cut so you remember what it is and where it goes. This is especially important if you are cutting coordinating fabric to line the tent with.

-Cut and sew your windows. Just a tip about the windows...don't make your window too big or too close to the bottom of your playhouse. If you do it starts to sag and doesn't hold it's rectangular shape. For the windows I simply cut a rectangle in the fabric, then cut slits in the corners, folded them in and sewed.

-Cut and sew your door. For the playhouse door, I cut slits in the fabric and made as small a seam allowance as I could and sewed so there wouldn't be a gap. For the puppy house, I measured the front of the piano bench and added 2 inches. I cut that piece in half, then sewed in the raw edges.

-Cut and add any borders to each individual piece.

-Start sewing the front door to the side walls and then to the back wall.

-Finally, sew the roof to the entire structure.

* It's important that you don't sew the walls and roof together before you sew in windows and the door. Trying to sew in the window and doors with that much fabric sewn together is hard work. So complete each panel fully before sewing it all together.

* I also lined the entire playhouse which is nice to give it a little bit of a stiffer structure, but not necessary. It also makes it a little darker inside which may be something you would or wouldn't like.

I hope that with these beginning tips, you can come up with the rest. I love the idea of these playhouses, because you can cater them to your child's personality...boy or girl. You can make one that looks like a pirate ship, or a barn. Or you can have a castle looking one or a ladybug house. If your child is obsessed with Cars or Dora, buy those sheets. Whatever it is your child loves, you can probably translate into a great little playhouse for them. Please share any that you make...I'd love to see them!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Table Playhouse Tent

When I saw the idea of a fabric playhouse tent to go over a card table, I had to do one. I thought it was the best idea ever. The girls are always trying to build homes out of pillows and blankets, and I thought that they would love an actual little playhouse. Luckily, my friend Jen wanted one for her kiddos too, so we were able to tackle them together.

I knew sheets would be the cheapest way to get the amount of fabric I needed, so I set out to find the perfect set. I never saw anything I loved that wasn't $30-$40 dollars. Those who know me, know I'm kinda thrifty (aka cheap) when it comes to that kind of stuff. I hate spending money on something, when I know I don't have to. But, I did remember a Pottery Barn duvet cover I bought at a garage sale a few years back that I never used. It was too cutesy to ever put in our bedroom, too matronly to put in the girls room, and too frilly to use in a guest room. I have looked at it several times for other projects, but I never liked it. I guess it was never the right project, because for some reason when I pulled it out again for this project, I loved it! I thought it would make an adorable playhouse.

I gave Gabriella the choice between if she wanted pink or orange coordinating colors. She choose pink. Shocker! So I bought a pink twin sheet set for $7.99 at Ross that I used to line the inside (yes, I'm crazy, I lined the entire thing) and for the roof. The pink pillow case was used for the drapes in the windows on both sides. As I was searching for the right color sheets, I saw a pink scalloped twin bed skirt for $4.99 that was perfect for the banner. I had no intentions of making the door frame, but there was a slight gap between the door and walls from the seam allowance, so I used the bed skirt to frame the door. I added the ribbon on the windows and door so they could be tied up. I also attached the flowers to add a little fun to it.

The girls have loved it so far. They especially love jumping in and out of the windows, which resulted in a tear. I'm sure it is only the first of many patching that I'll have to do.

It only took me about a day and a half to do it. It was nice having my friend over so I wasn't feeling guilty about neglecting the girls. We did feed them during the day didn't we Jen?
Honestly though, it was one of the most fun sewing projects I have done. I loved it. It was like I was making my little dream house once upon a time for my little girls. Jen so cleverly called it an English cottage. I liked that. So, here's my $13 English cottage. Much better than the $200 ones I found on line.