Good evening Jam Jar followers!
I hope you're all having an awesome weekend so far.
February is bunting month at HQ so we've dedicated some crafting time to drawing, cutting, sewing and threading lots of lovely hessian and cotton flags (we've even been ,making crochet flags for another tutorial coming in the spring!). As such, today's blog is all about bunting.
If you haven't seen the shopping list for this tutorial yet you can fin it here.
So, before we get started I need to point something out...I am not, and do not claim to be a proficient sewer!! I'm sure there are tidier, more precise ways to sew bunting - (one of which is double sided which I can assure you looks lovely and super professional but will take more than twice the time and effort which wasn't something I fancied for this project as I have over 400 flags to make!) The point of this tutorial is that it can be done super quickly and on mass, so any bride/groom/bridesmaid/neighbour etc etc with access to a sewing machine can do it/do it for you.
So, with the foundations laid - let's get going!!
Step One: Drawing your flags
For this I drew out a single triangle in the size I wanted, then created a template with three back to back (go as big as your paper will let you). You'll notice in the picture that I cut off the edges of the tops of the triangles in the stencil (this is where you fold over the fabric to string your bunting up). When I made my next lot of bunting from cotton fabric, I left the triangles whole and cut the ends off after sewing which I found a lot quicker so have a go both ways and see which you like better.
I also tried drawing dot to dot when I moved to my peach coloured fabric (a curtain I found in a charity shop which was the perfect colour and a great heavy fabric perfect for bunting!), where I measured my triangles (21cm wide by 20cm tall) directly onto the fabric rather than using a stencil. It was much quicker but I did end up with a few flags that were a different size as there's room for error this way as you can see in the picture where I'm pointing (quickly fixed though!) Have a look at the pictures to see what I did - it's all down to personal preference.
Step Two: Once you've drawn your flags - get out your fabric scissors (don't use normal scissors as they will hack into the fabric and make it fray) and cut your flags. I didn't waste any energy on trying to work out how to cut on the bias or any of the proper sewing techniques and they all cut fine! You could possibly use fabric crimping scissors for a nice finish but I couldn't find mine so couldn't have a go...sad face...
Step Three: Sewing
I hate having to pin things, so I purposely designed bunting that folds over for threading rather than using a binding to enclose the edges and join the flags. It's not as neat and you do get a raw edge on each side, but with hessian I think it adds to the rustic look and now I've done it successfully with heavier cotton fabric I'll never make bound bunting again!!
To sew, simply fold over your top edge (if you used the pre cut stencil just fold down these edges, if you didn't, just fold down about an inch of the top (you'll need to snip off the edges once you've sewn these - see collage three). Once you're folded and in place sew a straight line (with a few back stitch at the begging) from one end to the other as close to the edge as possible. This is how you form the cavity to thread your string/ribbon so make sure you have a nice healthy gap. I used a 5mm crochet hook to thread mine which is similar in size to a pencil, so once you've sewn one - just check you have enough room for threading before you do the rest.
Next, with the needle fully through the fabric (use your turning wheel to move it into position if you need to), lift the foot and turn the flag ready to sew the next side, once in place, lower the foot and sew your next straight line. Repeat for the final side of the flag and finish with some back stitch to close off.
If you're wondering why I've bothered to sew these lines....they will stop your flags fraying into nothing (hessian in particular frays like crazy as it's such a loose weave). Not to mention, it looks so much neater. I used ivory thread but you could easily colour co-ordinate your thread with your colour scheme which would look lovely.
Step Four - Threading
This was the patience testing step for me!! I tied my string tightly around a 5mm crochet pin and used it to push the string though each flag. I needed strings of about 20m each so a pretty long thread of string! To avoid tangles, I threaded my flags 8 at a time unraveling the string in small stints so I could keep it on the ball but again, you'll find your own flow with this. If you have shorter widths to do it will be much easier. I decided to go with about an inch gap between my flags to make them go a little further but again - this is all down to how many flags you have and what you want it to look like. Don't forget to leave a good 30cm of string at each end for you to use as a tie.
Et voila - bunting done!
It's a little rough around the edges (literally!!) but once it's all up together, it's going to look beautiful. And the most wonderful thing about it is that I've made 334 flags and it's cost me less than £15. To hire this much I'd be looking at somewhere around £150!!
PS... if you like this but want something a little more decorative - I raided my lace box and used some of my remnants to dress up a few flags...it was super quick to do and looks very cute and can be done really cheaply if you can get hold of some cheap lace or embellishments at your local haberdashery or net curtain shop. Just be sure not to sew through your threading cavity!
I hope this tutorial is helpful and shows you lovely crafters that anyone who can sew a straight stitch (very easy to learn! Youtube will show you all you need to know if you don't have a friend or family member who can help) on a sewing machine and is willing to invest a little time, effort and patience can have gorgeous decorated ceilings!!
As always, feel free to pin and share and if you have any questions just shout.
Peace, love and happy valentines day!!