I was honored to be asked to make the cloth portion of the chuppah for the upcoming wedding I have been sewing my little guy all these fancy clothes for.
The groom made all of the wooden parts. He took 4 bamboo poles and staked them into the ground using Tiki Torch stakes. He wrapped the top of each with twine like this and had it taper a bit. He cut the front top and back top poles to six feet long and the side top poles to 54" long. Onto the ends of all 4 of these poles he screwed in metal rings that were 1 1/2" in diameter (I couldn't find anything similar in a quick Google search). He placed the side poles atop the ones in the ground, then put the front and back atop those.
They had debated whether or not to have the chuppah be free-standing or to have the holders actually hold it, and the stakes will allow them to do either, although I think they are going to keep it in the ground. If this is the case, then they will take the stickers off the stakes, or wrap them in some of the leftover silk. On the big day, they are also going to adorn the poles with lemon leaves like this wreath uses.
To make the chuppah cover, I made a sleeve for the pole to go into that was wide enough for the ring to pass through. They wanted a foot of material overhanging, so I measured 15 1/2" inches from the edge, then folded it over and marked it at 12 1/2" inches and made the seam there. I counted across six feet for the body of it, then added 15 1/2" inches, and made a cut. This cut was actually the hardest part of the chuppah, since the silk is pretty delicate and there wasn't any pattern to follow (on the material). I was afraid to rip it, like I cut most of my material, but was later told that would have been okay. Next time I use silk I will try it... Then I did the same measurements and seam on that side and hemmed both sides (pressing a hem first and tucking the excess fabric inside).
The width happened to be just wider than their chuppah (either luck on my part or good planning on their part), so I was able to keep the edges as the selvages.
The next step of the project was to make 4 little bags, one for each corner. The couple sent everyone a card to return with their RSVP and asked them to write on it a wish for the couple and their future together. These cards were to go into the bags. So to make the bags, I cut across the width of the silk a piece 11" tall. I cut it into 4 pieces, and pressed a hem into what would become the short side of the bag (a la my re-usable produce bags). I stitched on two sides, then made the hem on the top. To attach them to the chuppah, I made a strap for each by cutting a 4" strip of silk. I then pressed it in half, and pressed it closed. I stitched up and down this strip. I cut this into 4 pieces, so each turned out to be about a foot long, or just under. I took four rings like these and folded each strap in half around a ring, then stitched it to the hem on the side with a seam (remember these bags were made with only 2 seams; this way, the seam side stays up and the fabric side would be down towards the audience). To attach the bags to the structure, we just put them on top of the rings holding the sides up.
When we did a trial run of the chuppah put together, it was quite windy. This made me go back and add fabric rings to each end of both silk sleeves so they could be looped around with the metal hooks onto the poles. These were made the same way the bag straps were constructed, and were about 5" long.
Another adjustment after the trial was that the poles were originally made shorter in the back (see top photo). This was to make the cloth more visible and create a cozier "house" feeling (I think- I actually didn't ask but that was the impression I got). With the wind, it seemed like it would make the "house" too short, so we experimented with raising the back poles to the same height as the front (see bottom photo).
T-minus 8 days...