And so I dip my toe into the waters of tutorials beginning with bunting, which turns out to have a deceptively large number of steps to it!
I’ll be the first to admit that there is an overwhelming array of bunting tutorials out there and nearly as many different methodologies.
My tutorial is not the fastest method, but it is a relatively straightforward way of making bunting that will withstand a bit of rough treatment over the years and come out of storage in a fairly presentable state.
If you’re a seasoned crafter looking for something simple to follow then use the headings in bold as a framework for your crafting.
Otherwise, I hope that my general ramblings provide a few hints and tips that I’ve picked up over the years, most often as a result of frustration, tears and abandoned projects.
1. Get your materials together
So, you’ve been out to a shop/hit the online stores/raided your stash of fabric/cut up your children’s old clothes (not a joke – it can make a lovely run of “memory” bunting). You will also need bias binding of at least the length that you want your line of bunting to be, plus a little extra in case things end up longer than expected.
I used a patterned fabric on both sides so I could use the bunting at a window if I wanted to.
You could just as easily use a plain fabric for the back of each triangle or, if you are feeling particularly inspired, you could even use different patterned fabric on each side so you get two bunting themes for the price of one. But make sure that whatever fabric you use doesn’t show through to the other side.
So, fabric chosen, you should hopefully have a needle, thread and scissors as a minimum.
Ideally, if you are anything like me, you’ll have a seam ripper too.
A seam ripper means that you’re more likely to have your sanity intact by the end of the project. Bonus!
If you’re hoping to run this off in a couple of nights then you’ll be needing access to a sewing machine. This isn’t a necessity – I love hand sewing and the individual look it gives to a project. In this case, however, if you’re undecided between the two options then I would recommend a sewing machine for the more uniform finish that it gives.
An iron is useful too. Yes, getting it out to press your fabric does seem like a faff but it does give a much better finish and helps save mistakes. Believe me, I wouldn’t be suggesting this if I didn’t genuinely believe it to be worth the effort. Unpicking is infinitely more frustrating.
On that note, I’d recommend that you wash and iron the fabric. Fabric shrinks and if you are using a combination of fabrics then they may shrink at varying rates, causing your beloved bunting to go all wrinkly or wonky.
So if you’re in a huge rush then you may want to grab yourself some pinking sheers and a different tutorial, having decided that this tutorial is not the method for you.
I won’t take it personally, I promise.
2. Cut out your template
This is the template that I made, but it’s just a simple triangle so feel free to go crazy with your own pattern! If you’re not feeling particularly crazy then you’ll need to print out the template to a regular A4 size.
awesome bunting template
At this point I’d suggest that you take the physical template, cut it out and hold it up to where you are likely to use the bunting. When I did this, I ended up shortening the triangle by a few inches to the final size on the template. If it had been bunting for outdoors I’d probably have stuck with the larger size.
If you do make your own template then remember to add a seam allowance. It’s fairly standard to use a 1.5cm seam allowance but I reduced this to 1cm on this project due to the smaller scale. Lives will not depend on the difference between these two measurements so feel free to vary this with reckless abandon.
3. Cut out your fabric
There are many ways of securing the paper template against the fabric, the most common being pins.
I’m not a huge fan of using pins for small projects as I find that they have a habit of fidgeting out of place. They also, far too often in my hands, completely make a bid for freedom and hide in my carpet ready to reveal themselves when the nearest inquisitive crawling one year old passes by.
Incidentally, should you find that you are in possession of similarly sneaky pins then a magnet hovered over the general area can be a helpful tool. If you don’t have a magnet then playmobil have a fantastic working metal detector in their spy range which is surprisingly good at finding pins.
Anyway, returning to the project in hand.
When making my bunting, I simply held down the template and drew around it using a ruler to ensure that it kept the edges nice and straight.
For the best results, consider where you are placing the template on the fabric. Do you want the print or images to run in a certain direction, for example, or is there a pattern that you need to place in the centre on the triangle? I would also suggest that its best, in this case, to ensure that your pieces are cut ‘on the grain’ rather than on the ‘bias’.
Once you’ve marked out or pinned down your template then it’s time to be brave and make those daunting first cuts into your pristine fabric.
4. Attach your fabric triangles together, right side to right side
Put simply, place your two triangles of fabric so that the ‘right sides’ are facing one another inwards, and temporarily attach the two fabric pieces to each other.
Again, thanks to my slightly irrational mistrust of pins I hand sewed some temporary stitches, also known as tacking stitches, for this purpose.
Thousands of crafters in thousands of homes across the country use pins successfully and without the need for a German metal detecting toy.
You too can be one of these people should you so desire.
5. Sew pieces together and turn inside out
When sewing the pieces together, make sure that you sew the correct distance from the edge of the fabric. This should be whatever the length of your seam allowance is, which in my case was 1cm. Your sewing machine will probably have markers on it but, if not, just use some tailor’s chalk or other similar temporary product to mark where you should sew.
When this has been done your triangles should be turned inside out so that the right side, or print, is on the outside as you ultimately want it to look.
6. Press the triangles with an iron
Yes it is a pain. Yes it is worth it.
7. Topstitch the triangles
This stage isn’t strictly necessary, but your bunting will sit a lot flatter and will keep its shape longer thanks to topstitching the triangles. It’s the difference between good bunting and great bunting.
8. Attach your triangles to the bias binding at your chosen intervals
So, take your bias binding and unfold it.
You’ll find that you essentially have a very long rectangle in which both outer edges are folded into the centre of the rectangle, making two inner flaps.
Take your triangle and stitch it to one of the flaps. Do this stitching all the way along the bias binding until all of the triangles are attached. The stitches won’t be seen but will hold the triangles in place.
9. Turn the bunting over and fold the bias binding over the top of the triangle and secure in place
You need to secure the bias binding or it will more than likely move while you are sewing, causing bumps and folds in the final item.
You can use pins for this task but will probably be unsurprised to hear that I used more hand sewn tacking stitches instead, just to make sure that everything stayed in place.
Bias binding, I find, is also sneaky and fidgety when my back is turned.
10. Top stitch along the bias binding and remove any tacking stitches
You are now the proud creator of awesome bunting.
Display with pride.