- 9 years ago
- Wedding: October 2009
Our synagogue has poles for a chuppah, but does not own a cover. When we initially talked to our rabbi, he recommended renting the chuppah. However, we discovered that we really didn’t like the ones that were within our price range. The ones we did like were often several hundred dollars just for a rental. Notwithstanding the fact that I had last sewed anything in junior high school, I decided I could make a nice one more cheaply than that. Although this is a large sewing project, it is one that will end up looking good even if your sewing skills are pretty much nonexistent.
* Frame from a popup portable gazebo
* 19 yards of ivory charmeuse fabric, 5′ wide
* Floral tape (like Velcro in which the front of the tape will automatically stick to the back when pressed into place
* Velcro strips (in which one side will stick to the other when pressed into place)
* Two spools of ivory thread
* Eight 108″ x 7″ gold satin sashes
* One ivory pew bow
* Two Wilton White Rose Lighted Bridal Garlands
First step was the frame. We live in DC and got married in Massachusetts, so we needed something that was easy to transport. At the same time, we wanted one that we, the rabbi, our maid of honor, and our dude of honor could stand under, with room for a table to put things like the ketubah during signing, the kiddush cup and wine, etc. on.
One day as I was strolling around the waterfront of a nearby city, I saw a band playing under what I later learned was a portable popup gazebo. I took one look at it, and said, “There is our chuppah!” I found an 8′ x 8′ portable popup gazebo on eBay. The cloth cover is completely removable, so I was able to use the frame.
Next stop was finding the fabric for the cover. We ordered several fabric samples from Online Fabric Store, and finally decided on an ivory charmeuse fabric. We ordered 19 yards of fabric. (This was more than we really needed, but we wanted to make sure we didn’t run out.)
I used the cover that came with the gazebo as a pattern to cut the fabric, but allowed some extra fabric for seam allowances. I cut four triangles, each one a little over 8 feet wide at the base. I put them wrong sides together, and sewed the four triangles to each other along the sides. I then folded the cloth back and sewed the right sides together, creating French seams (to prevent fraying). Here is a picture of the top, made from the four triangles:
I then sewed a long strip of the floral tape horizontally at each corner of the cover, and also vertically at each place where the mechanism of the frame met the cover. The corner ones were used to wrap around the corner poles to hold the corners of the cover in place. The others were used to pull the fabric tight at the sides. Since they are just Velcro strips, they can be put on and taken off of the frame easily.
I got the gold satin sashes from Elegant Perspectives. I actually got 80 of them, because we will also be using them on the chairs at our reception.
I used four of the sashes as the edging for the cover. I sewed them end to end, using about a 6 inch seam allowance so that each 9′ sash would be shortened enough to exactly cover the 8′ wide frame. I then sewed the circle of sashes to the edge of the cover.
The next step was to make sleeves for the legs of the frame. I did this by cutting a 9′ long piece of the fabric, and then cutting it in half lengthwise, so that I ended up with two pieces, each 9′ long by 2.5′ wide. I repeated that step, so that I had a total of four pieces, each 9′ long by 2.5′ wide. I then took each piece and sewed the long edges, right sides, together to form a 9′ long by 1.25′ wide cylinder. I then turned the cylinder inside out.
Here is a picture with the sashes and sleeves pinned in place, and four more sashes used as tiebacks for the sleeves:
I then sewed one side of a strip of Velcro to the inside of the gold sashes at each corner. I then hemmed the top of each sleeve, and sewed the other side of the strip of Velcro to the outside of the sleeve. That way, the sleeves could easily be removed and reattached as necessary. I then hemmed the bottom of each sleeve. Because the sleeves are somewhat longer than the poles, they puddle a bit at the bottom. This creates an elegant effect–and also covers up any unevenness in the hem.
Once I had the whole chuppah sewn together, I tied a gold sash around each sleeve. I stuck the battery pack from each of the lighted rose garlancs into a pocket I made and sewed into the the underside of the chuppah, and then sewed Velcro to the outside of the chuppah, just above where the sash joined the top, to hold the garland in swags along the top front of the fabric. Where the two garlands joined, I sewed an ivory pew bow.
Here is the finished chuppah:
My sewing is far from professional quality. The four triangles are of somewhat uneven size, there are seams that are not straight, etc., etc. However, the chuppah is normally seen only from the front, and only from several feet away. Thus, I was able to put the side that looked the best at the front, and not worry about anyone inspecting the seams closely. As you can see, the overall impression is good, even when the craftsmanship is lacking.