Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How to make bunting!

Having had a rather busy time lately what with wedding planning, work and DIY (eek) I've not found the time to do this tutorial...until now! So here goes, this is how I make my bunting. I don't profess to be a sewing expert or anything but I've found this method works for me.

You will need:

Fabric - any old fabric will do but the thicker cotton duck fabrics (usually used for curtains/cushions) are easier to work with if you're a sewing virgin!
Sewing cotton and embroidery thread - in colours of your choice, I've just used white.
Greaseproof paper
Headed pins

Sewing needle
Bias binding - again in a colour of your choice
Sewing machine - although you can hand sew but it may take you a while!
Two large buttons
Felt - optional

If, like me, you're making bunting for a special occasion like a wedding, birthday or christening then you might like to personalise the bunting using appliqued felt letters. Applique basically means sewing an embellishment (in this case lettering) onto another fabric.

I've included the 'happy birthday' print templates at the end of the tutorial as well as a template for the pennants - posh name for bunting flags don't you know ;)

This tutorial will go through the steps to make Happy Birthday bunting so if you just want plain bunting miss out steps 2-4

Step 1
Choose your fabrics. You might like to pick a colour scheme or do what I did and go for a rainbow of colour.

Transfer the paper pattern to greaseproof paper and pin to the fabric.

Carefully cut around the edge. You'll need to do this twice for each flag.

I made 17 flags - 13 for the 'Happy Birthday' and 2 for either side.

Step 2
Print out the letters you need onto paper or card and cut them out.

Draw around the template onto the felt using a tailors pencil, vanishing pen or just an ordinary pen as it'll be hidden when you sew it down. Reverse the letters so they're the right way round when you turn them over (if that makes sense!)

Then cut them out.

Step 3
Lay the flags out and decide on the order you would like them to be positioned. Lay the felt letters on top of the flags to check that you like the colours and layout.

Step 4
Pin the letter to the front of one of the two flags and use a whip stitch to attach it to the flag. Repeat for all flags with lettering.

I decided to use a thick embroidery thread so it would show for a fun effect but you could use a thin cotton in a matching or contrasting colour for different effects.

Step 5
Now pin the two flags together with the 'right' sides facing inwards.

Repeat for all of the flags

Then stitch 5mm from the edge along the two diagonals creating a fabric cone. The top will be sewn up later.
I used a tight running stitch setting on my sewing machine. What ever stitch you choose to use it needs to be a straight, tight stitch so it is secure and can be turned inside out easily without losing too much flag.
Repeat for all of your flags.

Step 6
Turn your flags the right way around and use a pen or the end of your scissors to ease out the point of the flag. Iron the flags flat and take a moment to appreciate how pleasing a little stack of ironed flags is! NOTE: Always iron felt applique flags on the reverse of the flag.

Step 7
Lay your flags out again and decide how far apart you would like them to be, if at all. Then measure how much bias binding you will need, I used about 2.5m. You will need to allow for at least 10cm of binding free at each and to create a loop for hanging.

I like to use bias binding as it has a neat finish but you could use ribbon. If you're not very confident when sewing it is better to use a wider ribbon or bias to allow room for error when sewing the flags on.
Iron the bias in half to make positioning easier then pin your flags in place, tucking the tops of the flags into the fold.

Step 8
Use a wide zig-zag stitch to run along the bias to secure the flags in place. You could use a coloured thread for extra cuteness!

Step 9
Create a loop using the ends of the bias and sew in place, use a cute matching button to hide the end of the loop.

Step 10
Let your bunting take pride of place either for a special event or as a gorgeous shabby chic decoration all year round.

PS: If you use my tutorial to make bunting I'd love to see a picture of what you've made!



  1. this is SO adorable! love it :)

  2. thanks so much for sharing this. just gorgeous!

  3. So glad you like it, it's a labour intensive make but the results are definately worth it! x

  4. i love the font of the letters and i'm going to try this out myself - do you have a template for the alphabet in this font pls?

  5. About how long did this end up being? Thank you!


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