Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Tutorial: posh bunting

As the long Jubilee weekend draws to an end, this is rather belated, but pretty bunting is still a nice way to decorate gardens and indeed inside for garden and tea parties. I recently made a whole load of what I call ‘posh’ bunting for my parents 40th wedding anniversary party, and thought it might be nice to share how I made it (although I did make it up as I went along, so there may be better ways of doing this). I call it ‘posh’ bunting because it’s properly put together and finished, so it looks a bit nicer and will last a bit better than doing it the easy, simple way. If you’re making bunting for street parties, you need a lot of it, so it’s probably best to make simple bunting, which essentially just involves cutting out lots of fabric triangles (I’d recommend using pinking shears to avoid the fabric fraying) and roughly sewing it to lengths of ribbon. But if you want to make something more finished and hard wearing, here’s how I go about it:

You will need:

A selection of fabrics of your choice, appropriate for the look you’re going for; I bought a selection of metre long strips of cotton gingham and ditzy floral patterns in a range of colours. If you do a lot of sewing and have a store of fabric off-cuts, its worth raiding your stash to see if there’s anything appropriate.
2cm wide bias binding slightly longer than the length of bunting you want to make.
Sewing machine
Thread matching the bias binding
Fabric chalk

1) lay out you fabric folded in half (you may want to pre cut the fabric if you want to make smaller bunting). Use a ruler and chalk to draw out triangles dividing up the fabric, like this:

Pin the fabric in place at the corner of each triangle so it doesn’t slip around when you’re sewing it.

2) The chalk lines are where you’re going to cut, so sew about ½ to 1cm on each side of the chalk line (depending on the size of bunting you’re making, to leave enough seam allowance). Cut along the chalk lines to make a nice pile of triangle shaped fabric pieces. The top side of each (that will be attached to the bias binding) needs to be open, so you will need to cut the closed side on half of them.

3) trim off the pointy end of the triangle, after the point of the sewing, so that you can now turn each triangle inside out without that tip creating a lunp at the end of the triange. It’s probably worth here sitting with a knitting needle or something else pointy to push the point of the triangle out nice and sharply.

4) Iron the triangles nice and flat:

 Arrange your triangle sinto nice neat piles so you can keep track of the order of colours OR if you prefer a more random look, just shuffle them all up together into one pile.

 5) fold your bias binding in half and start sewing it together so that it is a nice neat string about 1cm wide. About 20am along, stop and pin your first triangle in place so that the bias binding encases the open side of the triangle neatly. Continue sewing along the binding to fix in place:

Then continue sewing, leaving an appropriate gap to your taste between that triangle and the next. Attach each triangle in the same way until you have sewn right the way along the bias binding, leaving at least 20cm at the end after the last triangle.

6) create a neat loop by folding over the end of the bias binding and sewing together:

And that’s it; you should get something looking like this:

It’s pretty easy to do, but it is more time consuming and costly than the simple way of making bunting. It’s still cheaper than nicely made shop bought bunting – I made about 25 meters for just over £10, whereas 5 meters of similar bunting from Paperchase set me back about £15 last year. I also plan to get lots of use out of it, so for me it was worth the effort, and I’m pretty pleased with the result.

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