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Puppet theater in the door frame.

All the world's a stage, including the space defined by a door frame. This easy-to-sew puppet theater is suspended between two doorposts, creating a place where children can act out dramatic fantasies.

Quilted fabric surrounds the stage opening, which remains covered by a curtain until show time. When the performance begins, string through plastic rings draws the curtain up dramatically. The stage--quilted fabric reinfroced with cardboard--is suspended between two wooden dowels and held by a decorative cord. Tassels attached to the cord where it frames the top of the stage add a final flourish. The theater rolls up for easy storage. Materials cost about $36.

For the panel, you'll need: 1-1/3 yards of 45-inch-wide quilted (or other substantial) fabric 1 yard double-fold bias tape to match quilted fabric 8 yards double-fold quilt binding to contrast with quilted fabric Metal spring-tension curtain rod to fit the width of your doorway 2 wooden dowels: one 3/8 inch wide and 20 inches long, one 1/2 inch wide and 30 inches long 2 wooden beads, 1-inch diameter, or drawer pulls (optional) Wood glue One 5-1/2- by 16-inch piece of carboard or foam-core board 2-1/2 yards 1/4-inch cording 3 tassels (optional)

For the curtain, you'll need: 1 piece contrasting velvet or other fabric, 22 by 28 inches 18 plastic rings, 1/2-inch diameter 4 yards twine 1 wood strip, 1-1/4 by 21 inches 1 cup hook

Making the quilted panel

Using the full width of the fabric, cut a 35-1/2-inch-long piece; cut a 10- by 35-inch piece from the remainder. With right sides together, machine-stitch between E and F, as shown in the diagram, allowing a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Trim one edge of seam, press the other edge over the cut edge, and machine-stitch. On right side of fabric, pin folded quilt binding, wider side up, over the seam, and top-stitch both edges in place.

Next, round off bottom corners of the fabric as pictured. Encase the bottom and side edges in quilt binding, placing the narrower side of the binding on the right side of the fabric. Baste, then stitch close to inner edge of binding.

To make a casing for the metal spring rod, turn under top raw edge of the fabric 1/4 inch. Turn under another 1-1/2 inches; pin, then secure with a zigzag stitch.

Lay the fabric panel flat and cut an opening for the stage, as shown above, leaving lower edge AB uncut. Fold down the flap that results and baste the matching bias seam tape to flap's side edges. Stitch. Next, fold the top edge of the flap 1-1/2 inches toward the wrong side of the fabric; baste. Fold the flap through the opening until its edge is 1-1/2 inches below AB on the wrong side of the panel.

Pin edge; machine-stitch at CD and AB to make a casing for the dowel. Then stitch a 1-inch casing at the folded edge of the stage platform. Hand-stitch one side of the stage platform closed to form an openended pouch.

Baste quilt binding from A to B around three sides of stage opening, turning ends under and mitering binding at corners. Machine-stitch close to inner edge.

Making the curtain

On curtain fabric, press each of the 28-inch edges under 1/4 inch toward wrong side. Press under an additional 1/4 inch and machine-stitch close to edge. Turn the bottom 22-inch edge under 1/4 inch, then 1-1/2 inches to form casing; stitch.

On the top edge, press 1/4 inch toward the curtain's right side; baste. Sew 18 plastic rings, spaced as indicated in the diagram above, to the wrong side of the fabric and string twine through them as shown.

Next, on the wrong side of the panel and with the right side of the curtain facing the stage opening, center and pin the top edge of the curtain just overlapping at panel's casing stitching line. Baste, then zigzag-stitch to quilted fabric. About 2-1/2 inches below stitching line, tack both sides of curtain to quilted fabric.

To complete the theater, insert the metal rod in the casing at panel's top edge and the 1/2-inch dowel in the casing at AB. Tack dowel to fabric near ends, if needed. Install cup hook (to secure string when curtain is raised) in the 1/2-inch dowel, about 3 inches from the right-hand end. Insert the 1-1/4-inch wood strip in the casing at the bottom of the curtain, and the carboard in the stage pouch.

Next, insert the 3/8-inch dowel in the casing along the fold of the stage and glue the wooden beads or the drawer pulls on each end (the pulls must have a 3/8-inch hole drilled through half of their diameter). Knot the ends of the cording around each end of the dowel. Frame the stage opening with the rest of the cording (see photograph on page 164), stitching it to quilting at three points along opening's upper edge. Sew on tassels if desired.

Design was by Heidi Merry Ecker of Aptos, California.
COPYRIGHT 1985 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:May 1, 1985
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