Recently I've done a few little craft projects to liven up Sebastian's side of the room that he shares with Jasmine. I thought some bunting would be a perfect finishing touch to go with the hand prints and stitcherys (which you can find in the new issue of Etzcetera). Sebastian is also the only one of the kids who is lucky enough to have two quilts that I have made especially for him.
The new one, folded at the end of the bed is also in Etzcetera. He also got some 'new' sheets. I bought the surfboard sheets from a thrift shop in California and was planning on making happy shirts with them for Green Dandelion but when I was folding them to put them away after washing I decided that they would be perfect for his bed, and they are in a whole lot better condition that the ones he had on there.
My fabric scrap basket had reached overflowing so it was the perfect place to start on my scavenger hunt to find fabric for the bunting. I started by finding pieces larger than about 9" square, ideally at least twice that to give me a back and a front for each flag. To my pile of scraps I added a few random fat quarters and eighths that weren't put away in the right place and were ripe for the picking.
I ended up with a selection of new fabric as well as some pieces of vintage sheeting and a couple of old dresses that had ended up in the unfixable part of my mending pile.
I ironed everything then cut triangles. I chose to cut equilateral triangles because I have a 30 degree line on my quilting ruler that made it easy to do so. If you don't have a quilting ruler you will need to make up a template from templastic, cardboard or some recycled plastic (ice cream lids and old xrays are both great for making templates). Your top measurement should be 10" across when cut but feel free to make the triangles longer.
For equilateral triangles the distance from the straight edge at the top to the tip will be about 8.5"
Once I had finished cutting triangles I paired them up and divided them into two sets, one for Sebastian's bunting (mostly reds & blues) and a second in pinks and greens which I thought would suit Lil nicely.
I decided to construct my two sets of triangles slightly differently. For the Red and Blue set I sewed the triangles together using a standard foot and right sides facing out. I used contrast cotton to make a feature of the stitching and finished each flag with the pinking shears.
To give the second set a more polished finish I started by sewing right sides together using the 1/4 inch foot to give me a smaller seam. Then I trimmed the points to remove some bulk then turned through, pushing the point out using a chop stick. I pressed with the iron and finished by top stitching the edges using a neutral thread (although I used red for my example to make it easy to see).
Once I had all my little pennants finished it was time to assemble my bunting. Each flag is a little under 25cm so you will need 4 for each metre of finished bunting you want. I recommend leaving at least 50cm at each end to give you plenty of length to tie the bunting up.
There are a number of different things you can use to string your pennants on. I made my own binding but you can buy 3/4" binding to make assembly super fast.
A long length of wide 3/4"-1"twill tape would also look lovely although the tops of the flags will be exposed on the back side so you won't be able to double them back (unless you sew them on reverse side of course!).
To make my binding I cut some 2 1/4" strips of fabric from some yardage. You will need 1 strip per metre of binding with an extra strip if you have a multiple of 4 pennants (Eg: There are 16 pennants on the red and blue bunting so I cut 5 strips but there are only 14 in the pink and green so I stuck with 4 strips).
You don't need to worry about cutting them on the bias, cutting them straight will work just fine.
Trim off selvedges and join the strips end to end to make one long length. Iron in about 1/4" on either side of your long strip as shown.
Finish by ironing in half by matching the edges. It is worth pinning as you iron at this point to stop everything springing apart.
Arrange your pennants into an order that you like, mixing up the colours, playing around until you are happy. Split the pile in half, we will be assembling from the centre out.
Find the centre of your binding tape, place your first pennant so that the edge lines up with the folded up 1/4". Stitch in place using your top stitching foot. Continue adding pennants until you reach the end of your first pile of pennants then start from the middle again and add pennants until finished.
Finish you pennants by topstiching the top edge of your binding, this isn't essential but it does give them a nice, polished look.
Hang them up and smile.
Bunting is really quick and easy to assemble, particularly if you assemble them and finish with pinking shears. They make great last minute birthday gifts for those invitations that appear at last minute from the murky depths of a school bag! They are also a great project for beginner sewers to practice your straight stitching.
Hope you found this easy to follow! Feel free to ask questions and definitely leave me a link if you share some bunting you make. Got any specific sewing questions you would like me to answer, fire away!
I'll leave you with a little note about the feet I use most commonly on my sewing machine.
My Standard Foot - This is the standard sewing foot for general sewing. I used the edge of this foot as a guide for the bunting with pinked edges. I can't tell you how wide it is off the top of my head, when I am sewing with it I am usually using one of the marks on the needle plate as my guide.
The Foot I use for Top Stitching - It is actually a blind hem foot but I use it for all my top stitching. There is a guide up the middle that I guide along the edge or a seam in what I am sewing. I move the needle position to one side of the centre (depending on where my fabric sits) to offset it from the edge. I love this foot. I love topstitching. It gives such a polished look to the finish of what you are sewing. I can never get my topstitching anywhere near as neat using a foot or line as a guide.
Quarter Inch Foot - This is a staple foot for quilt making as quilts are pieced with 1/4" seams. The edge of the foot is used as a guide for perfect 1/4 inch seams. It is so much easier to keep your foot aligned with something above it than below it.