Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Doorway/Puppet Theatre

Here in Arizona, summertime is our "indoor" season. When the afternoon temperatures are 104 degrees or hotter, even in a swimming pool, it simply gets too hot to be outside. So, the kids and I spend several hours in the house together every afternoon, and if you've ever had that pleasure, you know it can get old. Very quickly.

So, yesterday afternoon, I finally went ahead and made the Doorway/Puppet Theatre that's been noodling around in the back of my mind since December.

I took the kids to our favorite discount fabric store where they picked out these two fabrics.

The red is a plain poly-cotton blend, a little over 3 yards and the blue and white stripe is an outdoor canvas, about 1 1/2 yards. The doorway I planned to use is 48" wide by 82" inches tall, so this is plenty of fabric.

The red cotton is 45" wide, so all I did was fold the piece in half, line up the edges, trim them to make them even and straight, then cut the whole piece in half to make 2 curtain panels.

To finish the edges, I put a 2" rod pocket at the top and a 1" inch hem at the bottom. These literally took me 15 minutes to make and hang. And I even ironed my hems!

Once I had them hung, the kids immediately ran to their bedroom to get out the dress up clothes and start performing. Whew! So, they stayed out of my hair while I made the top piece.

I measured down from the top edge of the doorway to the top of the curtain, which is 20", then added an extra 8" so the bottom of my "roof" would overlap the curtain. So, my first step is to cut a rectangle 28" long by 48" wide.

Then I folded my fabric in half and cut an angle on the outer edge. I didn't measure this at all, I just angled the ruler how I thought it looked good and drew a line.

I unfolded it, took it to the doorway and looked at it in place. Next, I hemmed the two angled sides, then sewed a pocket in the top for the rod, and 2 small pockets on the straight sides.

Now, if you wanted to be done right here, you could just hem the bottom, hang it and call it a day. But I wanted to make the shape more like an awning. 

So, on the wrong side of my fabric, starting from the center, (it's important to start in the center so that both sides come out even) I drew a rectangle 4 1/2" from the bottom edge and 5 1/2" wide across the length of the fabric.

Using the lines as a guide, I sewed along the outer edge and on the lines all the way across the fabric. Think of this like a stay stitch, it eliminates the need to hem or serge this edge.

Then I carefully cut along the inside edges of my squares near the stitching giving the top more of a bunting-like feel. Is that a real thing? But you can see what I mean. Anyway, I hung it up and it didn't hold the shape quite the way I wanted so I added some small wood strips to the side pockets. 

And that still didn't quite solve the problem, so I added a pocket to the back just at the bottom of the angled sides.

I put a piece of dowel through this pocket and re-hung the whole thing. Much better!

What I really like about this is that it can be used like this, for human performers.

Or I can separate the two pieces and it can be used as a puppet theatre.

Tons 'o fun!! I'm sure we will be adding details to this, for example, my daughter and I think the bottom of the red curtains needs some lovely gold fringe. The boy is, as yet, unconvinced. I also think it may need some kind of marquee or signage to announce our upcoming shows. And of course we need some new puppets! 

Yep, definitely an ongoing project. Here's to summer!!

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  1. Great idea! Thanks for your lovely comment. You can replace the cornflour with all purpose flour but let it cool completely before slicing....

    1. Thanks! I will give them a try. Thanks for stopping by!


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