January 05, 2013

Native American Tipi for American Girl doll

Tipi is  36" high x 36" wide x 36" deep

See my other free Native American tutorials


What you need

  • beige suede fabric (min 38" x 73")
  • matching thread
  • 9 poles 40" long (dowls,branches,bamboo, ..  I used bamboo garden sticks from HomeDepot)
  • self sticking (commercial) Velcro
  • 2 - 3 medium sized safety pins

How to make the Tipi

download Tipi pattern here

Please use for home use only, this pattern is copyrighted by me, Read Creations !
Make sure you have page scaling set to none !

I made this Tipi without taking pictures, so I am just recreating the steps. To be able to capture it on camera, some of the pictures are not to scale, just for demonstration purpose.

1. Fold suede in half  right sides together so that long side is half the length (36 1/2")

2. On folded side go in 1" and mark the spot on the fold (this will be the center of your quarter circle)

3. Draw a quarter circle around that marked spot with a radius of 36" (to do that I took a marker and tied a 40" string on it, then I measured 36" from tip of marker and made a knot in the string at 36", then I held the knot on the marked spot on the fabric and started drawing my quarter circle, make sure you hold your marker straight down)

4. Stop with your circle 1" from the front of the fabric (the last 1" is your flap, see drawing)

5. Draw a straight line from the circle to the front of the fabric (this is part of you flap and chimney)

6. Cut along your quarter circle and the 1" straight line

7. Unfold, you should now have a half circle, 72" in diameter

8. Take Kaya's chimney cutout and center its cross onto your mark (center of your half circle), mark and cut (This will be the opening for the poles and the longer flaps will be part of the chimney

9. Take the Kaya's chimney liner pattern and put it on fold on some of the leftover suede and cut

10. Place the chimney liner onto the tipi (see above picture) right sides together

11. Sew along the front sides and around the opening

12. Turn liner to the inside and top stitch liner to the tipi around the unfinished sides (now, when the chimney flaps are open, it will have a finished look)

13. Top stitch around the opening and the front

14. At this point you could paint on it, if you wanted to decorate the Tipi

15. Layout your poles, space them evenly. Leave 6" on both fronts (this will form the door)
Space the other poles around 12" apart.

16. Put small pieces of the Velcro (soft part) on the bottom, (middle optional) and top where each pole goes (I had it tried with ties, but it didn't work, the poles were sliding out, that's when I added Velcro and it works great)

17. Put small pieces of the Velcro (rough part) on each pole corresponding to where the soft parts are on the tipi

18. Attach poles to the Velcro on the Tipi

19. Use the safety pins from the inside to close the top part of the Tipi (leave some room on top for the chimney, stay in the lined area)

20. Fold the chimney flaps outward

You are done, have fun !!!

For more Native American items see my blog


  1. Absolutely love your designs! You are very talented. I want to make these for my youngest granddaughter and her older sister will be helping me. Your creations encompass two of my passions; Miniatures and Native American crafts/decor, which I want to share with her. She is three so American Girl is a good size to start her out on. Thank you for making these available. One problem. I am having difficulty downloading the patterns. I click where it says "download here" and I see the patterns but I can't seem to download them. My first assumption is that I am doing something wrong or not doing something I should be. Any help or advice will be greatly appreciated. I will be checking out your blog and all of your other Native American tutorials. Thanks!

    1. Thank you very much. I am glad you like them. Sorry to hear that you have problems downloading. I just tried it and I don't have that problem (but I am the owner of the documents so it's hard to test for me). The patterns are all google docs. Check in the left top corner of the pattern tab and go to file then download. Let me know if it still doesn't work and I will email you the file.
      Does anybody else have this problem?

  2. I'm not having any problem at all downloading the files - once I click the link, a new tab opens up and I'm brought to the docs.google.com. From there I have to click the arrow that points down to download the file. Then I get a popup at the bottom left of my screen where I have to click Keep to keep the file. (I'm using Google Chrome as my browser.)

  3. hello, for a french challenge, I wanted to built a teepee for my kidz'n cats dolls and look for a pattern, I found yours and thank you very much for your work and for sharing it. If you want seeing what I done with :
    The teepee is talled than yours and the dresses slimest than your pattern, I must shrink the american girl dress I bought in the Manatthan store in June. friendly Patchie

    1. Very nice. Thanks for sharing. I loved reading the story and I am happy I was able to help.

  4. SO COOL!!!!! oh my gosh!! I will use this so much for my Kaya doll! It's AWESOME!!!!!!!

  5. Thank you so much for this pattern. I just finished making the tee pee for my daughter. She loves it.

  6. Does the Tipi Collapse for easy storage?

    1. Yes, it collapses completely. Since velcro is used to attach the poles, the poles can be removed and the fabric folded.

  7. I love reading your tutorials. I made a tipi years ago and had trouble with the poles too. So I just turned up the bottom edge about 1 1/2" and placed the poles where I wanted them and pinned pockets for them. Then I sewed the pockets and used the ties that I had already sewn on the inside to stabilize the poles. I also had a problem with the top stretching out, so I sewed a plastic 2 1/2" ring onto the top and this helped hold the poles also. I also made a bag to put the tipi and poles in when I needed to store it.

  8. Hello! Do you think that you can send me a PDF of your teepee pattern? I really want it for my Abby doll. My email is s.barb.archer@gmail.com thank you so very much.

    1. Just under the picture with the layout is a link. Just click on it and you can download the pattern.

  9. How do you attach the poles at the top?