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. :-)

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