Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Tutorial - Making Bunting

Welcome to what I hope is the first of many tutorials on Handmade Harbour!  Today's tutorial is bunting. 

It's a great project if you're new to sewing and want to practise some basic techniques.  It's a lovely easy project for more experienced sewers too and the results are almost guaranteed to make you smile! 

Bunting just has a happy, summery, hopeful feel about it.

If you have a craft stall, bunting will add a wonderfully welcoming and cheery feel to it. It's easy and quick to make and will last pretty much forever.

You could use your brand colours, or go completely random - the choice is yours.  Be warned - you will be asked if you sell bunting, so make your decision in advance (with a price, if you decide you do want to sell it).

My bunting was made entirely from waste fabric: old clothes, duvet covers and scraps left over from previous projects.  Yours could be just as eco-friendly, too. 

OK, let's begin.  The basic triangle shape is the only pattern piece you'll need and it's easy to make your own, using these measurements:

But you can change the size, if you like. Bunting comes in all shapes and sizes!

Before you start, decide how long you want your bunting to be.  (I wanted mine to go round three sides of my gazebo, so I made 9 metres.  I wish I'd made 3 lots of 3 metres instead as it would have been more versatile - I could have used it more easily just on the front of the gazebo, or on a craft table too. If I decide to do more fairs, I may be getting the bunting out and doing a bit of chopping!).

You'll need to do some measuring and a bit of maths at this point - but don't worry about it because you can always add more or chop some off if your calculations are wrong.

I'd advise leaving one flag width between each flag.  You can space them more closely if you prefer.

Cutting out:

Start by cutting out the triangles.  You'll need two per flag.

Also cut out some lengths of fabric - this will make the binding that strings the bunting together and hangs it up.  Cut the length you need (you can join several pieces together) x the width (8cm).

Make sure to allow extra on the binding for tying the ends of the bunting up.  I made an extra 60cm on each end and added an extra piece so I had two ties on each end (so I could tie them together). 

Making up:

Place the triangles right side together and stitch along the seam lines along two long sides of the triangle.

Trim the corner, where the triangle comes to a point - you're aiming to reduce the bulk of the fabric here.

Turn each flag so the right sides are now on the outside.  Press to neaten.

Topstitch along both seams - to do this, machine stitch 1/4 inch away from the edge, using a slightly longer stitch length than usual.  You can use the edge of the presser foot as a guide to keeping your stitching straight (keep the edge of the bunting aligned with the edge of the presser foot).

You've now got a nice collection of flags with a raw edge at the top.

Now take the strips of fabric you've cut for the binding.  Join along the short edges to make one very long strip of fabric. Press the seams open.

Fold both long edges to meet in the middle.  Because you're doing a lot of measuring to make these strips of fabric the same all the way along, make youself a little piece of card with a notch cut out. 

It's invaluable for repeated measuring and only takes a few seconds to make.  It's easier than using a tape measure again and again!

Now fold almost in half again.  At this stage, if you make one side very slightly wider (0.5mm is plenty!) it will  make sewing easier.

Pin the flags into the binding, and sew with the slightly wider side of the binding underneath. 

This makes sure that you catch both sides of the binding - because the bottom edge is wider, you're almost certain that both edges end up stitched firmly first time.  Using a zig-zag stitch here makes the binding stronger and if your stitches are liable to be slightly wobbly, it will matter less.

The ends can be just tucked under and sewn into place.

You can make another strip of fabric and sew it to the first, so you have two ties on each end of your bunting, making it easier for you to tie it into place.

Now take your bunting and enjoy those summery days I just know we're going to be blessed with this year (oops, hope I haven't jinxed it!)

If you'd like to write a tutorial for Handmade Harbour, please email me with your ideas:  - you will of course be credited in your article, with links).


Annie Cholewa said...

Great tutorial Wendy, thank you :D

Free Spirit Designs said...

love it!

i'm off to make some pretty bunting now :)

Free Spirit Designs said...

i just had to update this with the news that i made my bunting, put it on sale on my etsy shop, and today its featured on the front page treasury! You can check out my blog for pics. Just wanted to say thanks Wendy - great tutorial!

Wendy said...

Wow - thanks for letting me know! That's great news - off to have a nosey now!!

Claire Mackaness said...

fab tutorial Wendy. I like the idea of adding an extra tie. I use bunting tape to make my bunting so there is no need to make your own binding. It's super quick.

Wendy said...

Thanks Claire - yes, tape can certainly be a timesaver! This particular bunting was made entirely from waste fabric, so I was on a mission with this. Recycling/upcycling is something I'll be aiming for in most of my projects, to be honest and in some cases might mean a little extra work.