One of my best friends from uni has recently had a baby, so I needed to send them a pressie.
I have done bunting before for friend’s babies, so went with convention, and made some more, but this time I thought I would share it with all you lucky peeps…
Before I start, a disclaimer. I am by no means an expert sewer. I can get by with the basics, but still struggle a little with things like getting my straight lines straight. So, if you are an expert sewer, then look away now. I have assumed very little sewing knowledge, so if I’m teaching you all to suck eggs, then you can tell me (kindly!)
Ok, so here we go…
This is what you need:
- a sewing machine-not essential by any means, but it certainly helps. I think my hand sewing would fall apart.
- material for the bunting triangles-I have a load of old lining type material I inherited from my Nana’s fabric stash, and use this
- patterned material for your letters-I used a shirt I found in a charity shop. Good patterned fabric is hard to find for boys, so if you see something you like, snap it up!
- material to make your binding tape-you can use the same material as your patterned letters, or a contrasting one-I used a red bed sheet I found in a charity shop
- bondaweb-iron on stuff-makes it much easier to sew on your letters, but again, not essential
- threads to match your patterned material, and your binding tape
- iron and ironing board
- triangle template-I made mine from an old cereal box, and it is 20cmx20cmx14.5cm
- letter templates-I printed out a font I liked and then once I was happy with the size, I glued it to card, and cut them out
- decorative buttons/star shapes/flowers etc dependant on the flavour of your recipient
This is what you do:
- draw around your template and cut your triangles-you need two triangles per flag (if that makes sense). I make 2 extra flags to go either side of the name. So for this baby, he is called Rex (cool name hey!), so I needed 3 flags for R E X, + 2 extra for the ends, so 5 flags, so I cut 10 triangles
(The posh word for what I am about to show you is applique. If you can follow this tutorial, you can applique. Check you out.)
- I ironed some bondaweb onto the wrong side of my patterned fabric
- and then drew around my letters onto the papery side of the bondaweb (remember to mirror your letters, so that you end up with the letter the right way around on the right side of your fabric), and then cut them out
- then you peel off the papery bit of the bondaweb, and place the letters where you want them on your triangles (i just eyeball vaguely the middle, and try to get them all lined up!) and iron on
- next, you need to sew the letters in place. You could just leave it, as you are unlikely to ever need to wash bunting, and this is when the bondaweb is most likely to come unstuck. But I think it looks a bit nicer and a bit more finished if you stitch over it. You can use the machine, or you could blanket stitch or something by hand. I used the machine, on a zigzag stitch, on number 3 long, and very close to zero stitch spacing, to get a kind of satin/buttonhole stitch. Like this
If you have letters that usually have a hole in them, like R or A etc, then you can: try and carefully cut out the hole; or sew a button on where the hole would be; or do what I did and just do a short row of close together zig zag stitches where the hole would be
- next step is to make up your flags. Pin your triangles together with right sides facing, and then sew along the 2 long sides. I start at the top, and line up the edge of the presser foot with the edge of the fabric (see pic), then sew down to the point, leave the needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot and turn the fabric so that you are facing back up the other side of the triangle. Remember to go forwards and back a cm or so at the start and the end
- then you simply turn them inside out (so they are then the right way around) and iron (or press, if you’re a sewing type!)
- I did this, and then decided that my end two flags either side of the name looked a bit, well, blank. If I had realised this would be the case earlier, I would have tried to cut out some stars or something, and applied them inthe same way as the letters, but I didn’t, so I couldn’t. And I really couldn’t face unpicking the finished flags to do this, so I decided on buttons! I picked three that I though looked nice and complemented the colour scheme, and then poked my hand down inside the flag to sew them on just to the front triangle of the flag. It was a little fiddly, and it would have been easier to do it before sewing the flags up, but hey-ho.
- next step is the binding tape. The easiest thing to do would be to use ready made bias binding tape, and you can definitely do this, but in the spirit of Make Do and Mend, I decided to make my own. Mine isn’t strictly bias binding, as I didn’t cut the fabric on the bias (this is a technicality. Cutting it on the bias will mean that the binding should stretch around corners and things should you want it to. I don’t want mine to stretch, nobody wants saggy bunting, so I just cut the fabric straight)
- I used a red bed sheet I found in a charity shop (it has been washed..), and my trusty ruler, to make a ruler width strip (approx 6cmish)all the way along a length of fabric (obviously you need to make it as long as your bunting is-measure your flags across the top, multiply this by the number of flags, then add on approx 50-100cm depending how long you want your ‘tails’ either end). My flags were approx 15cm wide, and I had 5, so I needed 75cm+50cm, approx 1.25m
- Cut out you strip, and then set to work with the iron. (You can get little gadgets to do this for you in one step, or I have even seen people make their own gadget using craft knives and the like, but I am only doing a small amount, so went for the easiest, butpossibly the most labour intensive way..)
- First, fold your strip in half widthways and press (iron!) along the length
- Then open it out, and fold one half back in to meet the fold line in the middle (this is already sounding WAY more complicated than it is..), and press
- Then fold the other half into the middle and repeat
- Then fold the whole thing in half widthways again,and press!
Tadaaa! Homemade binding tape!
- For those of you who haven’t already lost the will to live, we are nearly there now I promise. Line up your flags next to each other (I don’t leave any kind of gap in between, but you can if you want to and have enough binding tape, and are more accurate than me at making sure your gaps are the same size..)and fold your binding tape over the tops of your flags, and pin in place
- Then simply sew along the length of the binding tape in a matching colour with a straight stitch.
- All done-hurrah!