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How to Make a Fabric Playhouse

Updated on December 22, 2015
Preppy Playhouse
Preppy Playhouse | Source

The most successful of outdoor toys exploit and develop children's imagination. This play house will do just that.

It is simple to make and much cheaper than the manufactured equivalents.

An old established favorite because it creates a little private world for your child.

Any number of situations that interest and preoccupy them can be acted out in this plain and simple structure. For example; it can double as a home, hospital, shop or secret hideaway.

What You Need:

  • 4 1/8 yards yellow denim, 36 inches wide (vinyl would also work good)
  • 3 yards red denim, 36 inches wide (vinyl would also work good)
  • Needle and strong matching thread
  • Marking chalk - Paper - Pencil - Ruler - Scissors
  • Wooden dowels - 3/8 inch in diameter, six 50 inches long and four 30 inches long and one 35½ inches long
  • Optional for window - transparent plastic about 12 inches by 9 inches
  • Adhesive tape

Making the Walls

Take the length of yellow denim and trim it to measure exactly 4 yards 1¼ inches.

Lay it out flat, wrong side up.

Leave a margin of 5/8 inch at each end and mark five vertical lines at 36 inch intervals to divide the fabric into four 36 inch square panels. (Figure 1)

Figure 1

All Measurements on Figures are in Inches
All Measurements on Figures are in Inches | Source

In the first panel, mark out the area for the doorway, 15 inches wide by 20 inches high, placing it 4 inches up from the bottom and 10½ inches in from the side lines you have already marked.

If you are able to do zig-zag machine stitching, use it to sew around the whole doorway, just outside the line.

If your machine will not sew zig-zag stitch, use two rows of straight stitching, close together for strength. In this case you may need to hand stitch the edge when it is cut, to prevent fraying.

Cut out the door section inside the stitching line.

From the discarded fabric cut the triangular pieces to be used as fillets to hold the dowel rods. Cut six of shape A and four of shape B in Figure 2.

Figure 2


Attach these in position as shown in Figure 1, still working on the wrong side of the fabric, leaving open the edges into which you are going to insert the dowel rods indicated by broken lines in Figure 1, and placing shapes A and B as shown.

Make a 1 inch vertical buttonhole at the top of each of the vertical marking lines, lining them up and starting ½ inch in from the edge of the fabric.

The Door Flap

Cut a pice of red fabric 24 inches by 19 inches for the door flap as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3


Fold in a ½ inch hem all around and stitch this on both 24 inch sides and the bottom 19 inch side.

Position the top edge centered over the doorway, 1¾ inches above it and stitch along this line.

Assembling The Walls

Join the two ends of the wall piece, right sides together.

The 5/8 inch margin will become the seam allowance and the buttonholes will be aligned.

Turn the work right side out so that the fillets are now on the inside.

Insert six 50 inch dowel rods diagonally across the three wall panels (see Figure 1) and slot the 35½ inch rod through the fillets above the door panel.

Fabric Playhouse
Fabric Playhouse | Source
Figure 4
Figure 4 | Source
Figure 5
Figure 5 | Source
Figure 6
Figure 6 | Source
Figure 7
Figure 7 | Source

Making The Roof

Make a pattern of a triangle with 41 inch base and 32 inch sides.

From red denim, opened out to a single thickness, cut four triangles as shown in Figure 3, placing the bases to the selvages.

Stitch sections 1 and 2 together down one side (Figure 4), taking ½ inch seams, then join sections 3 and 4.

Now sew the two halves of the roof together along the center (Figure 5).

From the left-over pieces of red fabric, cut a 6 inch square.

Turn in a ¼ inch hem all round and stitch. This section will be used for the casings for the roof rods.

Place the square, right side up, on the inside of the roof at the center point (Figure 6).

Pin in position with the center of the square matching up with the center point of the roof where the seams cross.

Look at Figure 7 and stitch the lines marked, starting with the two diagonals across the center.

Then stitch from A to B and from B to C along a line just outside the edges of the seam allowance underneath.

Repeat in the other three corners. This makes the rod casings.

Turn Bunk Beds into a Playhouse

Figure 8
Figure 8 | Source
Figure 9
Figure 9 | Source

Cut four triangles from the left-over red fabric as shown in Figure 8.

These will fit the lower corners of the roof and will hold the other ends of the support rods.

Turn under and stitch a ½ inch hem on the 7 inch side of each triangle.

Place the triangles, wrong side down, on the inside of the roof corners, pinning them in position ½ inch in from the edge (Figure 9).

Turn the selvage edges over the triangles, miter the corners and stitch together.

Continue the stitching line, with the selvages turned in, the whole way around the bottom edge of the roof to neaten and strengthen it.

Take four pieces of fabric, about 4 inches by 2½ inches and fold to form tubes (Figure 10a).

Stitch one to each of the inside seams as shown in Figure 10b, machine stitching along the seam line through all the fabric thicknesses.

Figure 10


These tubes will help to prevent the rods being dislodged when the playhouse is in use.

Slot the 30 inch long roof dowels through these tubes and then into the center casings.

Then push them through the buttonholes on the wall panels of the house and finally pull the roof corners neatly over the rod ends.

Making The Window

Some children prefer the absolute privacy of a playhouse without windows. Others love a little peep-hole.

In the above fabric playhouse, a window was added by cutting out an oblong shape from one side wall, and machine stitching round the opening.

Then a sheet of transparent plastic was stuck on, from the inside, with adhesive tape.

The window is decorated with some more sticky tape.

This completes the instructions for making a fabric play house.

Cardboard Playhouses
Cardboard Playhouses | Source

All kids love having their own 'space' to play in. These directions are very simple and easy to follow, there are more elaborate patterns on the internet, and there are 'packages' you can buy that only require assembly.

Sometimes all you need is a table and some blankets.

Thanks for stopping by & Happy Crafting!

Another great idea for a playhouse.

© 2013 Dawn


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