Wednesday, 8 July 2015

How to make Bunting.

About four years ago we noticed more and more people getting into bunting. This traditional decoration can add a beautiful yet comforting homely touch to any occasion. However more and more people have been using bunting to decorate their homes all year round.

Bunting is very simple and cost effective to make. However some people have asked us to run a course in making bunting in our Colchester shop. Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to visit us in our little outpost of sewing and crafting in Essex. To help everyone out we decided to make a quick Bunting Tutorial here.

How much Fabric do I need?
No where near as much as you think. Of course the size of your triangles and the space between your triangles will effect the amount of fabric, as will the width of the fabric, In this example our triangles sides were 20cm long and the space between each triangle was about a hands width. 20cm of polycotton that was 112cm wide gave us over 2.5 metres of bunting! so 1 metre of fabric should give you around 12 metres of bunting!

What fabric is suitable for bunting?
Just about any fabric is suitable, however it's best to avoid fabrics that fray and crease.

Hessian fabric can give a lovely rustic and natural feel.

Quilting Cotton and Dressmaking Cotton are both suitable for bunting and come in vibrant colours.

Polycotton is light and cheap and fray resistant.

How do I finish the edges of the triangles (or pendants) off?

There are three main ways of making sure your pendants do not fray.

1) Cut them out with Pinking Sheers. This gives a pleasing zig zag finish and is VERY quick and easy.

2) Bias bind the edges. This can look stunning if you use a contrasting bias but needs a steady hand and LOTS of patience.

3) Line the Pendants. Simply cut out twice the number of triangles and sew them right sides together before turning them out. This literally doubles the cost of the bunting and more than doubles the time needed. However the bunting will look stunning from both sides.

How to I cut out the triangles?

To begin with you will need to make a pattern or template. Using a protractor and a ruler draw a lin 20 cm long. At each end use the protractor to make an angle of 60 degrees. Then use the ruler to draw in the final two lines which should meet in the middle.

We use an equilateral triangle (one where all the angles are 60 degrees and all the sides the same length) to give us more options about which way up the triangle will go.

If you're using the pinking shears to stop the fabric from fraying trim along the one side of the fabric.
Now lay your template on the corner of the fabric with one of the sides of the triangle on the side of the fabric. Using a ruler to give a sharp edge draw around the triangle in chalk.

Flip the pattern over and draw another triangle upside down and next to your first. Repeat this process. This is called tessellating by the way.

Now simply cut out along the chalk line. A 20cm strip of fabric that is 112cm wide should give you around 8 triangles.

What do I sew the triangles onto?

You can sew the triangles onto ribbon or cotton tape. However We have used Bias Binding. This has the advantage of wrapping around the top edge of the triangles to make them look neater.

Simply place the triangle along the middle of the bias and fold it over, pinning it in place before running it through the sewing machine.

I left a gap about as wide as my hand between the triangles, but you can choose to have a smaller gap or no gap at all. This piece of bunting was for a very set colour scheme. However you could always buy a metre or two of different fabrics and mix the triangles up.

And there you have it, easy to make bunting to adorn garden parties, wedding and very tall workmates.