Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fabric Forts and Canopy's

Beautiful Fabric Fort by Justina Blakeney, check out Design Sponge for the super easy "How To"
I love Fabric Forts!  Who hasn't tried to build one at some point in their life?
The end of my first year of grad school is quickly approaching.  Late nights combine with early mornings, group meals, and lots of stress.  The constant hum of machinery, sewing, hammering, cutting, chatter and music, the studio is bustling with energy with our end of the year show May 6th-8th.
Everyone is busy working on their projects for the show.  This semester I decided to do something I have never done before...create an installation, on purpose:)  I am building a Fabric Canopy/Fort!
It's going to be structured like a typical bed canopy, with the feel of a child like fort.  I am really excited about this project and have been hard at work.
The photo above is one of my inspiration photos.  I love the eclectic look and the cozy feel of it, although what I have in mind will be quite different.  Mine will be made to resemble a fairy-tale forest, one of my favorite places!  I will be dying the fabric in colors to simulate my fairy-tale forest, a gorgeous blue at the top to resemble the sky cascading into rich greens of foliage, and finally transitioning into a deep earth brown.  The interior will be decorated with lots of pillows, some over sized leaf shapes, regular squares with floral prints, and some soft furry ones to create a comfortable and cozy feel.  I am also going to add crocheted vines and flowers cascading from the top center down to the floor. 

Soooooo...Time to get to work!  So far I have been doing lots of dye tests to figure out which fabric I want to use, how to get the colors I want, and what techniques to use.  So far some have been successful and others...not so much.

In the photo above the 2 on the left were tests in technique and color.  The blues and greens I love but the brown came out waaaay too red.  So that led me to do some smaller tests to see if I could get a better brown.
Not so much here either:(  After a bit of internet research I learned that brown is apparently a very hard color to mix, and that even the browns that are sold premixed don't always look so great.  But luckily there were a few good tips about how to get a good brown that I will hopefully be able to work on tomorrow. 
To try and distract me from getting too discouraged about my unsuccessful dying experiments, I decided to work on the measurements for the canopy and made a small model out of scrap fabric and wire.  I only cut out 2 of the 4 fabric panels for the model, but it was good enough for me to see the drape and get a good idea of how it will look.  I am happy to see that my pattern and measurements worked out nicely.  Now all I have to do is make the actual size pattern and start cutting the fabric pieces (exciting).  My model is made at about 1/3 the size.  The finished canopy will be about 8ft wide at the floor and 7ft off the ground.
This is the view from the inside, the clothespins are merely acting as weights:)

This is the view from the back/outside
How do you feel about fabric forts?  Do you have a memory of a favorite fabric fort that you built as a kid?  Feel free to share in the comments below:)  
Till next time, wish me luck with the brown dye!


  1. Wow! what a wonderful & challenging project - I love it! :)
    I'm looking forward to seeing it's progression. Do not get discouraged - it's supposed to be a learning experience, right? :)
    The harder it is, the more proud you'll be at the end when it is done.
    I remember my sister and I creating a tent city in the rec (wreck) room. We'd have every blanket, sheet & bath towel we could find strewn across the furniture from one end of the room to the other. The only way across the room was on your hands & knees. Then we'd fill it with every pillow and cushion to lounge out underneath and to play games. (sigh) those were the good ol' days. :)

  2. Thanks Justine:)
    And what a great memory, Im not sure I was ever able to make one quite that big, but I definitely tried!