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The Near-Perfect Tent: Design and Build a Recycled Tent

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Step 6: Making Windows, Doors

C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Desktop\ouside foot.JPG
C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Desktop\inside foot.JPG
1.) Cutting out the Doors and Windows
The next step is to put doors and windows in the tent's wall pieces. All you have to do is decide what size you want them to be, draw them onto the cloth using a yadstick, and cut them out. If you're making the Pretty Great Tent, you'll cut out three sides of the foot vent and side doors, leaving the third side uncut as a hinge. Doing this while the cloth is in the frame would be best, but laying out the material without the frame works fine too. I drew the doors and vent in with angular corners, using a yardstick. Then I used a big coffee can to round out the corners. Just be careful to cut along the rounded line.

2.) 'Sewing in Zippers'
Once you make the cuts, you'll sew the zipper on. Sew the zipper onto the door (or window) first--as opposed to sewing it onto the door or window "frame" edge first.
a.) First, fold 1/4" of the cloth under itself, and pin it to itself from the neat or unfolded side. Make sure you pin exclusively from the side you'll be sewing from (the 'top' side as you fold the material under, or the outside of the tent.)
b.) Then pin the zipper to this folded edge, pinning from the same side you did before. Pin it close to the teeth but not too close. Let a couple of inches of extra zipper overlap each end of the door cut.
c.) Sew the zipper onto the door or window edge, removing pins as you go. Keep your magnet in close by as you sew so the pins get sucked over to it while you're running the cloth through--it's a drag messing with a pin cushion; just pull the pins out as the cloth goes into the foot, and sweep them towards the needle.

3.) Once you've sewn the zipper to the door or window, repeat these steps to sew the zipper onto the edge of the door or window frame. Keep the zipper closed during these steps.

4.) When you've got the zipper completely sewn in, feed the sliders in and then run a bunch of stitches across its terminal ends so that the sliders won't come off. Then get some scrap material and sew a nice little patch over the outside side of the zipper ends to cover up the cuts/mess underneath (pictures in following steps).

When you're finished, you can unzip the zipper and admire your new door or window.

5.) Screens:
When you're done sewing the zippers for the doors and windows in, zip them shut, then lay the screen out over the door or window hole and cut your window screen to size, leaving 1/2" overlap. Fold the edge of the screen over 1/4" all around, and pin it to itself, leaving the heads of all the pins on one side of the screen.
For Screen Windows and/or the Foot Vent:
Think about which side of the tent wall you're dealing with (screens should be on the outside of the foot vent or window so you can unzip the solid panels from inside,) and after folding the edges of the window screen over 1/4", pin them to the wall material. Make sure the door is clear of where you'll be sewing and will still work right when you're done, and sew the screen on, being sure not to sew the door shut.

'For Screen Doors:'
a.) Fold the 3 edges of the screen door that will have a zipper running around them over 1/4 ", then pin and sew the zipper onto this edge like you did the solid doors.
b.) Then, with the ripstop door unzipped (open), sew the other side of the screen doors' zippers to the tent wall even with the solid panel's zipper.

c.) Once these three sides are sewn in, fold over the "hinge" side of the screen door, pin it to the ripstop wall/door hinge, and sew it. I might use a zig zag stitch the next time I do it, but for the great tent, a straight one worked fine.

You should now have both solid and screen doors that will open and close sewn into the wall.
 
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