Thursday, 22 March 2012

Make your own bunting!

For the past few weeks I have been responsible for organising a bingo and raffle night at the College of Law in Manchester which is where I spend my days, training to be a solicitor.

I wanted to decorate the room we were using for the event and I thought that bunting would do the trick.  I used 3 different fabrics that I already had and I bought a ½ metre of 4 other patterned fabrics which set me back £9.  Not a bad start on the money side of things. 

I calculated that  double sided triangles using the template I made and the amount of fabric I had would make 12 metres of bunting.  I decided to make a 5 metre length and a 7 metre length using complementary colours.  I bought a 25 metre reel of white bias binding and got to work!

I made the bunting using the method below and I would estimate that it took 2 full days to complete.  This is quite a lengthy process but if you enjoy sewing and making things then time doesn’t seem to matter. 

So for anyone keen to try something new, why not make your own bunting for the Queen’s Jubilee or for a family birthday?  It’s a great way to use up old fabric and experiment with themed colour choices.  Best of all, it's easy to do and perfect for beginners to machine sewing.

·         Selection of fabrics;
·         Triangle template;
·         Tailors chalk;
·         Pinking shears;
·         Sewing machine and thread; and
·         Bias binding in colour and width of your choice (length depends on how much bunting you want to make).


Step 1:  Make a template.  I used Microsoft word and inserted a triangle from their range of shapes into a document.  The triangle I used measured 20cm wide x 25cm height.   I then printed it and cut it out for use as a template.  If you want a slightly stronger template then simply stick the paper template to thick card and cut out the shape from the card.

Step 2:  Place your template in the left hand corner of your fabric.  Using tailors chalk draw around the template.  Then flip the template over and position it so that the tip of the template is in line with the base of the first triangle drawn.

Step 3:  From ½ metre of fabric I could draw out 18 triangles in 2 rows of 9.  Once you have drawn all of your triangles cut them out using pinking shears (to prevent fraying).

Step 4:  Pin 2 triangles together, right sides facing in, and position the material under the foot of the sewing machine with the needle on the right of the base with the tip of the triangle pointing in your direction.  Sew with straight stitch using the foot of the machine as your seam allowance guide.  When you reach the tip of the triangle, with the needle in the fabric, lift the foot and rotate the triangle 180 degrees anti-clockwise.  Now sew down the other side of the triangle.  Repeat for all of your triangles.

Step 5:  To turn the triangles the right way out first snip the tip of the triangle off being sure to cut as close to the stitching as possible without actually cutting the stitches.  Then trim the seam allowance down on both edges near the tip to reduce the bulk of fabric.

Step 6:  Keep your finger positioned on the blunt tip and use you other hand to turn the triangle inside out.  To make the point more defined roll the tip of the triangle in your hands and wiggle the 2 layers of fabric to try and ease it out.  This will work but may take some time.  Do this for all triangles.

Step 7:  Press all triangles and trim off any seam which is on show at the base of the triangle as a result of turning inside out.

Step 8:  Take your bias binding, measure 30cm in and make a mark at this point.  Fold the bias binding in half horizontally, pinning where necessary but only up to the 30cm mark.  Now sew the bias binding in half horizontally using a straight stitch, from the beginning of the bias binding up to the mark.  When you reach the mark, stop sewing. 

Step 9:  Place a triangle in between the folded layers of bias binding at the mark and pin in place.  Now continue to sew until approx 5cm from the end of the base of the triangle.  Repeat this step until you have sewn all triangles into place. 

Step 10:  Continue to sew bias binding in half for a further 30cm (to match the beginning of your bunting).  The ends of the bunting are to help you pin the bunting up.  You could leave them as they are or sew the end back on itself with a few tacking stitches to create a loop. 

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