Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quick Version of the Free Bunting Tutorial & Pattern

I tend to write quite detailed tutorials based on exactly what I did which is handy and can save confusion and questions but can take awhile to read and work through. I thought I'd post a super quick and easy version of the bunting tutorial for those who don't need all the details because it really is an easy thing to make.


- Fabric of your choice (how much depends on how many flags you want to make...it's a great project for using up your scraps!)
- Bias Binding or Ribbon (length depends on how long you want your bunting to be)
- Cotton thread

1. Print the template. Choose the size flag you want and cut it out.

2. Cut out 2 triangles per flag for as many flags as you want.

3. Pair up your triangles and pin each pair with right sides together.

4. Sew down the 2 long sides of each triangle with a 1cm seam allowance.

5. Clip all corners of the triangle making sure you not only clip across the main point of the triangle but up the sides a little too.

6. Turn all triangles out the right way and press.

7. Fold and iron your bias binding or ribbon in half lengthways.

8. Measure 30cm-50cm from one end of your binding and slide the top (unfinished edge) of your first flag in between the fold and pin it in place. Do the same for the next flag leaving a gap between flags that is whatever length you desire. Repeat this with the same gap between all flags until you have them all pinned into the binding.

9. Trim the end of your binding so that it is the same length as the piece you left at the start.

10. Fold each end of the binding in slightly to create a neat finish and pin in place.

11. Sew along the open edge of the length of the binding making sure you catch in both sides of the binding and sewing in all flags. And you're finished!! :-)


- Use fabric that is not see-through. I got caught out with this even using quilting fabric. Thicker fabric won't show through the other side and will hide the seam allowances better giving it a much nicer look.

- Use bias binding or ribbon that is not see-through. Again like the fabric, I found the bias binding I used showed the fabric underneath and it will look a lot nicer if you can't see patterns from the flag fabric showing through.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Free Bunting Tutorial & Pattern

The first time I ever saw fabric bunting, I fell in love with it. Granted, it was in beautiful florals and girly colours so just a bit different to what I will be making for my boys. I am part of a due date group for this bubby and seeing everyone else's photos of how they are decorating their nurseries has really motivated me to put more effort into decorating the boy's rooms. I am making bunting for bubba first so that his room is ready when he is born. Max will have to wait a little longer. :-) Anyway, here's my tutorial and pattern. It's quite simple and can have many modifications to suit all kind of themes.

If you are more experienced in sewing and don't need the fine details, I will be posting a super fast cut down version of this tutorial soon. :-)

Bunting Tutorial

- Fabric of choice
- Bias binding, ribbon or something similar
- Sewing thread

1. Print out the template. Choose your desired flag size and cut it out. I used the medium size and all measurements referring to the flags is based on this. The template includes a 1cm seam allowance along the 2 long edges and the top edge will be enclosed in the tie.

2. Before cutting out your flags and tie, you need to figure out how many flags you will need and how long your bunting will be. You can either just make it a certain size (say, 10 flags long) or you can measure your space and make it specifically to fit. If you want to just make it a certain number of flags long, you need to add up the length of the tie or left over at each end, the width of each flag, and the spaces between. The length of the tie or left over at each end and the spaces between is entirely up to you. I have made my ties 40cm long at each end and the space between each flag is 3.5cm.

Eg. for 10 flags, you would add:
Tie 40cm, flag width of 14.5cm x 10, spaces between flags 3.5cm x 9, and the tie at the other end 40cm.
So that's 40 + 145 + 31.5 + 40 = 256.5cm or 2.565m

If you want to make it specifically to fit a certain space, measure the space you want to hang it in and lower the tape measure until you get a nice drape. If the space is quite long, you may need someone to hold the other end or even 2 helpers to hold the ends so you can stand back and have a look (or you could blue tack each end to the wall). You can also use string if the space is longer than your tape measure and then measure this later.

Now divide your measurement by 18cm. This is the length of 1 flag and 1 space. You will most likely find that it doesn't divide evenly so you will have to decide if you will go up or down to get an even division. Multiply 18cm by that number to figure out the exact length from the start of your first flag to the end of your last flag and just measure this out in your space to make sure you are happy with the drape. If you went up a flag, you will have more drape than you originally measured for. If you went down a flag, you will have less drape.

Eg. My measurement with drape was 81.5cm.   81.5cm ÷ 18cm = 4.52    Obviously I don't want 4 1/2 flags so I went up to 5 flags.     18cm x 5 = 90cm     So the distance from the start of my first flag to the end of my last flag is 90cm. 

Don't forget to add in the length of the ties at each end (40cm each). So the total length of my piece of bunting is 1.5m (90cm + 80cm). Leave an extra 1cm at each end for turning under or neatening the edge.

3. An easy way to cut out your flags (and method that needs the least amount of equipment) is to simply pin the pattern onto your fabric and cut out your flags. Make sure you line up the grain line with the straight grain of you fabric. You will need 2 triangles per flag.

I cut out my flags by using a rotary cutter, quilting ruler and self healing cutting mat. I found this quite quick and think it gives straighter edges and neater triangles. You just lay the pattern on your fabric, line up the ruler with each edge and cut. You can cut more than 1 triangle depending on how thick your fabric is.

4. Lay a pair of triangles on top of each other with wrong sides facing lining up all edges and pin. Sew with a 1cm seam allowance down one long side, pivot at the point, and sew back up the other long side leaving the top of the triangle open. Do this for all your triangles.

5. Clip the points of the triangle as shown in the picture below. This makes your point less bulky and helps it sit flatter.

6. Turn your flags out the right way and use something pointy to carefully turn out the point neatly. I used a small crochet hook. Pencils also work well or chopsticks.

7. Iron (press) all of your flags making sure the seam allowances sit flat and straight. This step makes a big difference to the look of your flags and will help them look neat and like proper triangles.

8. Now you need to sew all the flags into your ribbon or binding. Check the top edges of your flags to make sure they are straight and trim any as necessary. Carefully fold and iron your bias binding or ribbon in half length ways.

Measure 40cm from one end of your binding and slide in your first flag. Slide the flag right into the fold and pin. Measure 3.5cm from the end of this flag and insert the next flag in the same way. Continue to do this until all your flags are inserted and pinned in place. You should have about 40cm of binding left-trim off any extra. Before sewing everything together, turn in each end of the binding to cover up the raw edges and pin this in place. 

Now stitch along the binding close to the open edge and your finished!

All finished and ready to hang. Now I just need to clear out the baby's room so I can hang them. :-)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Wooden Toys for Boys

I wanted to share a fantastic Australian website that sells wooden toys. Check out www.mywoodentoys.com.au. I stumbled across this site when I was hunting for ideas for wooden toys that my dad could make for my boys for Christmas. It is a family business based in Perth, Western Australia.

They have wooden toys including blocks, puzzles, stilts, spinning tops, boats, cars & trucks, car garage, cash register, vehicle to robot transformers, bead or roller coaster toy, trains, skittles, pirates & a pirate ship, various play sets, posable figurines, food & tea sets, musical instruments, castle, boardgames & other games, nativity scene, hammer and peg toys, puppets, lacing/threading sets, fishing games, letters and numbers, and a toolbox among other things.

We have bought some pirates, an alphabet puzzle with capital letters, and a threading toy. The quality is just beautiful and I have been quite impressed with a lot of the prices! There is a set price for shipping per order and there is even a great selection of toys that have free shipping!!! I have found that great for birthday gifts for friend's kids. We even got the pirate set gift wrapped with a gift tag and I was VERY impressed with the presentation. We are planning to get the pirate ship to go with Max's pirates for Christmas...I hope it doesn't sell out before we get to buy it. :-)

Max opening his gift wrapped present.

The pirates!!! They are so cute! (and so is Max!)

They also have a great range of wooden toys for girls, infant or baby toys and some toys that are not wooden but I particularly wanted to point this site out as I have found some beautiful things for boys here.

I highly recommend this website! We have been very happy with our purchases. :-)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Free Taggie Blanket Tutorial

Here's my tutorial for this cute taggie blanket/toy. It is so quick and easy to make, not to mention inexpensive so it makes a wonderful gift for your kids or someone else's. :-) There are so many variations you could do but for this tutorial, I will just tell you exactly what I did. We can look at variations later. In writing this, I've realised I should have taken a lot more photos so I'll add more in next time I make the blanket...it's only a few weeks before the next baby is due. :-)
  • 2 coordinating fabrics, at least 35cm of 110cm wide fabric (you may want a little more to account for crooked cutting by the salesperson)

  • Scrap of velcro approx 1cm x 1.5cm

  • 1.6m of ribbon approx 1.5cm wide in your choice of colours (this will be cut into 10cm lengths)

  • Sewing thread in appropriate colour

1. First we need to cut out our fabric squares. Follow the instructions in this step for each of your 2 coordinating fabrics. 
I cut out squares for 4 blankets at once using a rotary cutter, quilting ruler and self healing cutting mat. First you need to make sure the cut edge of your fabric is straight. Fold one of your fabrics in half matching the selvages (the non-cut edges). Line up the selvages and the cut edge of the fabric on your cutting mat against 2 perpendicular lines. (2 lines at right angles) Make sure the cut edge hangs just over the line so that you can trim it straight. The bigger the cutting mat, the easier this is as you won’t cover up the whole mat with your fabric. Line up your ruler along the line that is only just covered up by the cut edge and trim it straight with the rotary cutter. 
Divide the width of your fabric (110cm) by 4 which equals 27.5cm. Measure 27.5cm from the cut edge at regular intervals and mark. Then rule a line across the width of the fabric using these marks so you have drawn a long rectangle that measures 110cm x 27.5cm. You can do this with the fabric folded in half with the selvages together or laid out flat as one long strip. It saves a bit of time if it is folded in half and I found it was easy to cut through 2 layers of fabric at once. Now line up your ruler on the line you just drew and cut out your strip.

Cut your strip into 4 even squares.

You just need to cut the strip into 4 even squares now. On the long edges of your rectangle, measure 27.5cm intervals and mark. Rule lines at each interval to divide the rectangle into 4 even squares. Then line up your ruler along each line and cut. You should now have 4 squares that measure 27.5cm on each side. Once you have cut out both fabrics, you will end up with 8 squares in total, enough for 4 blankets.

The 8 squares ready to be sewn up.

2. Now you need to get the ribbon ready. Cut the ribbon into 16 tags for your blanket that are 10cm long each. What ribbon you use is totally up to you. You can use only 1 colour, 2 alternating colours or as many as you like. I used 6 colours because I couldn’t settle on only 4 and matched them with the colours on the fabric I chose. 4 tags on each side works well for a blanket this size. Because I used 6 different ribbons, this didn’t work out evenly for me in terms of having an even number of tags of each coloured ribbon but it still looked good. It’s totally up to you as to how many colours you choose and how you arrange the ribbon. 

Taggies all ready to go!

Lay out the ribbons in whatever pattern suits you.

3. To make the velcro loop, you will need to cut out 1 rectangle of fabric that measures 25cm x 5cm.  Use the already straight edge from one of the fabrics you cut squares from as your starting point and simply measure out the rectangle using your ruler. Line it up with the lines on your cutting mat to make sure it is straight and each corner is at right angles. Cut it out. 
Fold this rectangle in half length ways with the wrong sides together. Using a 1cm seam allowance, stitch along 1 short end, down the long side, and then across the other end so there are no open edges. Cut it in half so you have the two pieces of the 'loop' approx 11.5cm long each. This give you open ends for turning. Clip the corners. Turn them out the right way with a chopstick (or something else pointy) and press so they sit nice and flat. I then just hand stitched a small rectangle of velcro to the finished end of each piece. Choose a corner of one of the squares and pin the 2 loop pieces on top of each other onto the right side of the fabric having the velcro ends point towards the centre of the square and the cut end almost lining up with the corner. Make sure they are the right way around so the velcro can close without twisting the loop once it is sewn in. 

Where to pin the velcro loop.

4. Now we’ll pin the ribbon tags in place. To determine where the ribbons need to be pinned, you need to divide up the sides evenly. First, take out the seam allowance so you know how long your finished side will be. For a 27.5cm square, with 1.5cm seam allowances, you will have a 24.5cm finished side. Then divide this by 5. Eg. 24.5cm ÷ 5 = 4.9cm. 
Along one edge of the square you pinned the velcro loop to, with right side up, measure 1.5cm from one end for the seam allowance, then mark intervals of 4.9cm. There will be 6 marks in total but you will use the center 4 marks to position your tags. Mark all 4 sides of the square in this way.  
Fold each ribbon in half and pin them on to the 4 central marks on each side. Line up the cut edges of the ribbon with the cut edge of the fabric so the folded end of the ribbon is pointing towards the centre of the square.

Please ignore the fact that I have a larger gap between ribbons in the centre of every side! ;-)

5. Lay the square of coordinating fabric on top of the first square with right sides together. Pin it together. I left the pins in the ribbon and just used extras to pin the two squares together between the ribbons. Then stitch around the square with a 1.5cm seam allowance making sure you leave a gap so you can turn it out the right way. Start near the middle of one side at a ribbon and finish back on that side on top of the ribbon right next to the one you started with. That way, all the ribbons are sewn in place before turning it out the right way and you don't have to fiddle to line any up after you turn it out the right way. I found that even though it was a small gap, it was just enough to be able to turn it out.

6. Clip the corners and turn the blanket out the right way. Press the edges so they sit flat and neat. Then sew a row of topstitching approx a 1/4 inch in from the edge right around the whole square. This seals the turning gap and helps it all sit flat.

Topstitch around the edge.

The finished blanket back - soft flannalette.

The finished blanket front - bright cotton.

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