Neil's Tent: what to do when you have too much time on your hands

This weekend I made a tent for my cat, Neil. He loves to sleep underneath blankets, so I've been wanting to make him a tent for a long time. I got the idea from a homemade toddler gym that was made out of hula hoops. This child's tent craft project was also inspiring: I tried not to make Neil's tent very complicated; I didn't want to spend much time on it, though I did want it to look presentable as part of our living room decor.

To begin, I cut a small hula hoop in half, punched holes through the middle of each piece, and wired them together to make the tent frame. Then, I measured the sides and bottom of the outside of the frame to create the pattern pieces. I made them to fit over the frame to save the trouble of sewing in loops to thread the hoops through. This method also disguises the appearance of the hula hoop; I would have covered the hoops in fabric if they were to show on the outside, and this would be an extra step, taking more time and effort.

I cut a U-shaped hole in one of the side pieces for the door. Then, I basted the four sides together with the seam facing outward. Next, I covered the raw edges, including the door, with 1/2 inch double-fold bias tape. Finally, I basted the tent floor onto the side pieces and covered the edges in bias tape. The frame could then be inserted through the door.
I spent a lot of time on this project because it took me a while to think of the exact design. I also wanted it to look attractive without being over-the-top, and it had to be durable enough to withstand cat activity. At the end, however, it turned out to be simplistic enough that if I were to make it again, it should go fast. I still need to make a cushion to put inside, but otherwise it is finished.
For the materials, I used a poly/cotton sheet (thrift store find years ago; maybe $2) and homemade cotton bias tape leftover from a Civil War dress that I made recently. I've had the hula hoop since I was a kid, but I'm sure hoops can be bought at dollar stores for minimal cost. The poly/cotton fabric is durable and easily washable.
Before Neil even got a chance to try his tent, one of our other cats, Anastasia, jumped into it and punched Neil in the face to defend the fort. I think I'll have to make another one. Neil loves it also and immediately began playing in it. He'll love it even more when there's a fun fleece cushion inside!


  1. McDonald's has a new cheeseburger that looks really good. It's called the BBQ Ranch Burger. Yum! I usually don't like McDonald's that much, though. Excellent blog!

  2. I'll have to enable comment approval so that I won't get spam comments.

  3. LOL. A BBQ Ranch burger sounds like an awful combination!

    On a more serious note, I'm happy to check out your blog again! Such a cute cat tent (I saw it in real life), and it's great that you included the pattern pieces! I wonder if "it"would like me to make her one. lol.

  4. :) You probably guessed who wrote that comment. Hint: It's someone in my household.

    Neil's sleeping in his tent right now. I made the cushion for it the other day. It's worth making one just to watch the cats playing in it--Neil likes to hide in his and punch people through the tent walls.


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