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How to make your own wonderful bunting!

18 Apr

To celebrate the royal wedding I know that a handful of you lovely people out there care enough to have a street celebration. I am sad because I know no one who is bothered about the royals enough to have a party that does not involve drinking loads of beer at the pub. So I plan to have my own small celebration at my mothers house and hope for good weather so that we can sit outside eat cake. Lovely lovely cake.

If you are lovely and having any type of party, bunting is a must. Bunting also makes a great hand made gift to share with your loved ones for birthdays, Easter, Christmas, valentines day and even Halloween. All you have to do is theme the fabric appropriately! Also a fab way to get your youngsters involved in sewing as it gives them time to experience sewing in straight lines, how to use a sewing machine and inspires them with a wonderful finished product. Its a lovely vintage item that can be used all over the house and garden to make an instant impact, and by the sea! That is were bunting looks best. Both me and my mother dream of living by the sea so I decided for Easter to make her some bunting to inspire her to move.

I thought I would add a tutorial as I have had many people visit my site after searching the word ‘Bunting’. There are many ways of making bunting. Using paper for quick and cheap option, one piece fabric cut with pinking shears for a more weekend friendly option but my favorite uses a sewing machine and double sided fabric. Here we go:

You will need.

1) A sewing machine with thread or needle and thread

2) A template triangle shaped made from card- mine is about 16cms across and 20cms long. Start thinking early about size as this has a huge impact on the finish projects look and cost. I chose a size that meant I could top and tail the template on my fabric to get the most bunts possible. Be economical!

3) Bias binding, ribbon or string (Skip to FIG 6 to figure out how much binding you will need)

4) A good pair of scissors to cut fabric (i recommend these from merchant and mills to see you trough your whole life)

5) A theme and fabric coloured appropriately (all mine for this make are remnants from previous makes)

6) An afternoon, make a pot of tea and keep some nibbled at hand. Today I am eating garden picked strawberry’s and drinking earl gray.

Bunting template

Here is my template. I used the free paper bunting from a Bodens cataolgue adding extra size   because I plan to make double sided bunting. Double sided uses a seam like when you make clothes. This means you need to leave ‘ease’ as your triangle bunt will end up smaller than your template as shown in the picture below.

A sewn bunt and a ready to sew bunt showing the ease amount

So with this in mind, always cut your template bigger than you intend the finished bunt to be. Next you need to consider your theme. This is the fun bit! Ask yourself what are these bunts going to be used for. Is this a birthday? Maybe you would use that persons favorite colours, or colours relevant to the season like red and green for Christmas. There are a wealth of insperation out there on the net like The bunting Queen, so get goggling and creative. As I am making these for the royal wedding so I am using union Jack inspired colours but without actually being union jacks. I want my mum to be able to use the bunting for any event and her garden/house is very country themed.

Blues, reds, creams and flowers!

Here is are the fabrics remnants I am using. A mix of union jack colours and vintage patterns. Yum Yum. So using your lovely sharp scissors cut your fabric the most economic way, which could be top and tailing or if your using recycled remnants where ever there is enough material! So you have your bits for each bunt. Now you need to place two bits of fabric together to prepare to sew each bunt. You will be sewing each bunt right sides of the fabric together as you turn the bunt inside out before sewing to the tape or bias binding.

right sides together for that perfect bunt

You can get creative at this point and if you have only a little bit of your favorite fabric why not use a plain fabric to ‘back’ the bunt. For instance I have only enough for 6 double sided bunts in the above fabric so I could use the pale blue plain fabric on the back to make more red heart bunts. It looks individual and interesting. So get some coordinating thread ready. I am using white to sew up all the bunts as you will not see it when you iron the bunts out flat. To sew a bunt by machine set your machine to a straight stitch, at a medium stitch length and a medium tension. We do not want to do any gathering so make sure that tension is right.

FIG A: The bits on your sewing machine

Using your machines guide plate (the bit of metal with lines on it underneath the pressure foot in FIG A) place bunt so you leave about 5mm of fabric to create that seam on the edge of the fabric and lower the pressure foot.

FIG 2: Sew down from A to B

Sew down towards point B stopping about 5mm before the point of the triangle as indicated by the blue dashed lines in FIG 2  making sure your needle remains in the fabric as indicated in FIG 3.

FIG 3. Pivot the fabric 45 dregrees

Lift pressure foot and turn the bunt about 45 degrees placing the fabric with the same 5mm on the edge of the bunt and drop the pressure foot again. When you start to sew it should look like FIG 4.

FIG 4: Your bunt should be looking like this as you sew.

Now stitch along the bunt from B to C leaving C to A un-sewn as pictured in FIG 5. This will mean your bunt is now sewn! Simple. Now repeat these steps as many times as you want to get all your bunts ready to make your bunting! Get your iron all hot and steamy and turn each bunt right way out and press along seam. You may have to carefully trim around the sewn edges to get the point to that point nice and pointy. I suggest using pinking shears as this will give your seams more wear and tear.

FIG 5. After turning the fabric sew from B to C

After you have made as many bunts as you want its time to think about what you want to use to string them all together. You have quite a few options it seems. There is Bias binding, which is made from bias cut fabric. You can make your own bias binding, here is a great site to inspire you. You can also use bias binding to cover the edges of if you do not want to turn them inside out. Remember if you do this sew bunts fabric wrong sides together. You can also use ribbon by ironing the ribbon in half, but make sure the ribbon is wide enough and in proportion with your finished bunt triangle. You could also use string if your going for a rural look, use brown waxed string if they are going to be used outside.

Bias binding and ribbon

I am using pale blue bias binding in keeping with my theme and will be using red thread to give it some details as I sew along the binding as shown in FIG 6.

FIG 6: How to work out length of your Bias Binding

Lets figure out (in FIG 6) how much Binding you will need. A represents how long each bunt is (15cm) B indicates how much room you intend to leave between each bunt (5cms) and C shows how much extra binding you will leave in order to tie/pin it up (25cms). Using A, B and C we can find D. Wow, my maths teacher would be proud of me. If only he had used bunting as an equation! I want at least 3m of bunting so A + B = 20. 300/20 = 15 bunts. So I will use 3.5 of binding for my bunting! Yay.

Its a good idea to mark out all your required measurements using tailors chalk before you start sewing your bunts to the binding and what coloured bunts are going where. How do I attach my bunt to the binding? Here is how! Remember that bit on the bunt we left open (C to A)? We will use that end to attach it to the biding thus closing the bunt and finishing off! Place your ironed bunt about half way under then Binding as shown in figure 7.

FIG 7: How a bunt attaches to the binding

Then turn the binding in half, which covers the other side of the bunt hiding all the raw edges As shown in FIG 8.

FIG 8: Sew the binding to the bunt

Once you have repeated this across your binding with all your bunts you are done! You should now have some wonderful professional looking bunting that your family and friends will keep asking you to make them more. If you enjoyed making this Bunting then why not invest in a few gismos that will help you create even better bunting? Simplicity sells a bias binding making machine so you can co-ordinate your bunts perfectly. Also using the big shot pro die cutter means you can cut shaped into or out of fabric, making lettering bunting easy! Have fun and show me those buntings!


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