Shirley Conran famously declared ‘Life is too short to stuff a mushroom’ and some may feel the same about making bunting. But my method is simple and quick – I don’t bother hemming each triangle or sandwiching them between bias tape. And if you don’t have a sewing machine, I have also included two non-sewing techniques (see below).
So why waste money buying bunting when you can create your own and customise it for any occasion. Iron on cut-out fabric letters using fusible webbing and you can spell out ‘happy birthday’, ‘welcome home’ or any message you choose.
Bunting is the perfect way to use up your fabric odds and ends. Take a bit of time to consider your colour scheme, laying the fabrics together to make sure that they coordinate. I used plain linen to complement some patterned fabrics left over from making curtains.
You will need
- Cardboard for template, A4 size (21x30cm/8 x 12in)
- Ruler, pen, scissors
- Gaffer tape (optional)
- Tailor’s chalk or fabric marker
- Pinking shears
- Leftover fabric
- Fusible web tape (if adding lettering)
- Sewing machine
- 6mm diameter cotton piping, cord or string
How to make
First make the template. I used the back of an A4 notebook, but you can trim a piece of card to A4 size. Measure down 4cm (1½in) from the top on both sides and mark these points as A and B. Mark the centre on the bottom of the card and draw 2 lines joining it to A and B. Each line should measure 27.5cm (11in).
Cut along these lines to make a triangle with a 4cm (1½in) strip along the top. The finished flags will be 21cm (8in) across the top and 27.5cm (11in) deep.
If you plan to make lots of bunting, reinforce the sides of your template with gaffer tape.
Using tailor’s chalk or a fabric marker, draw around your template onto the fabric, marking out as many flags as you will need. Cut them out with pinking shears to prevent fraying.
Fold over the top 2cm (¾in) of each flag, wrong sides facing, and iron in place, to make the channel for the cord. (If you are spelling out a message, cut out letters in contrasting fabric and iron them onto the flags using fusible webbing.)
Pile your flags in the order you want them to hang. Thread the sewing machine with neutral thread and have the length of cord ready in front of the machine. Working with one flag at a time, wrap the folded edge over the length of cord to form the channel and secure in place by sewing along the edge.
There’s no need to break off the thread between each flag: simply sew a few backward stitches at the beginning and end of each flag to secure the stitching, then move on to the next flag.
Repeat until all the flags are hanging from the cord.
Cut the threads between each flag and slide them along to space them out. Make hanging loops by tying a knot at each end of the cord.
Use fusible web tape, often used for hemming trousers. Look for 0.5cm-wide tape or cut wider tape down to size. Cut the tape into 21cm (8in) lengths.
Place the folded edge of each flag over the cord, lay the tape between the folded edge and the flag and iron until it melts, sticking the pieces together.
Use a stapler to secure the fabric around the cord.
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