Thursday, 12 April 2012

Bunting my way...with 'language'...


This is NOT a craft blog, but seeing as how many of my evenings recently have been taken up with bunting (have  I mentioned that I'm nearly 40? No? Party planning is in full swing), I thought it would be appropriate to diversify from my usual musings. I have my doubts as to the wisdom of this, as my efforts can only be excruciatingly rubbish in comparison with those of the fabulously talented crafting bloggers out there (you know who you are and I bow down to your greater expertise and skill), but then I thought that there’s always room for someone else’s approach, so here it is:

Bunting – the Recipe Junkie way.

the fall out from over-bunting
Materials. For bunting, you need material for the ‘flags’ and bias binding, plus pins and thread. By far the worst part of bunting is cutting out the flags, so you can avoid this by buying remnant sample books with handy squares of material in co-ordinating colours which fabric shops no longer want. I also had some other material at home which matched so I cut up a few token additional squares for interest. Alternatively, you can be lucky enough to live close to someone who totally ‘over-bunted’ for her daughter’s birthday party, and who gives you the left over (triangular) flags that she cut but just couldn’t face stitching on to any more bias binding. Result!

I bought the bias binding from a very cheap shop in Basingstoke (classy, me) with a discount because I bought a whole roll. 2 in fact – one in turquoise to match my remnants haul and one in white.

If you aren’t lucky enough to have flags presented to you thus, there are plenty of patterns on the web for bunting templates (other templates are available, this is just one I found if you’re interested. Actually you might want to follow their instructions too...)

Some people make their bunting double sided, but I say, when it’s flapping in the breeze, the cake is good and the fizz is, well, fizzy, no-one’s really going to notice.

This is the 'wrong side' up -honest
Attach the flags to the bias binding. There’s no other word for it – this is T-E-D-I-O-U-S – especially if you don’t have enough pins to do it all at once, like me. Anyway, the way I do this is to have the bias binding folded sides up and then unfold the top strip, tuck in the flag, fold back down and pin. This reduces the need for any kind of hemming (not that I was going to hen anyway – this is bunting, for goodness sake). If your material has a ‘wrong side’ you could make sure it’s the wrong side uppermost as you’re pinning like this so that all the flags are the same side on, although see comment above related to double sided bunting.

I expect that the proper thing to do now is to tack the flags on and take out the pins, but I prefer to skip this step and play pin roulette with my sewing machine. If you’re hand stitching (really?? You’re going to hand stitch all that bunting? You are bonkers!) then it’s not so much of a problem. I probably should tack but it takes up so much time... So out with the trusty sewing machine – it’s OK, I have a licence to drive one provided I only do straight lines.

With the wrong side uppermost and the pinned side on the right, machine down using zigzag stitch, slowing down as necessary to remove the pins. This takes practice, but I’m an expert now. Anything to avoid tacking.
Guess who ran out of the nice co-ordinating thread she found?

If, like me, you run out of thread on the bottom bobbin, don’t worry, just do the whizzy thing to get some more thread on the bobbin, rethread (I know, it’s a pain) and carry on. The same applies if you run out of the nice coloured thread you found at the bottom of the draw where you keep anything vaguely sewing related, and have to revert to white. And anyway, see comment above etc...

If you do find you have to restart stitching for some reason, just restitch back over a centimetre or 2 of the last lot, just to hold it in place. Then you can just cut off the ends of the thread without having to do any fiddly finishing off.

Turn the bunting over and stitch another zigzag line on top of where the second fold of bias binding is to hold it all down and make a line of pretty stitching. Take care not to stitch the flags onto themselves, and watch out for ‘tension’ – apparently it makes the stitching go funny and sends you leaping for the instruction manual, with much language, to work out what’s happening (not that I’d know, of course...)

And voila (as they say in France):
Amazing what you can do with some sample squares...

...or your neighbour's left overs...


  1. Brilliant! I especially love that your bunting was made from sample fabric and left over fabric scraps from someone else, that's how I like to roll too!

    I hope you don't mind if I give you a little tip, but as a blogger with far too many years experience attempting to sew myself, I would recommend you ditch the pins altogether, and save yourself the tedium of pinning the flags to the bias binding. Just go ahead and fold your bias binding in half, put it under the foot of the machine, and then place the fabric inside the fold and hold it in place as you sew along it, then do the same for each flag, just hold it in place with your hand as you stitch it to the bias binding. That's what I do, but then I am a lazy slacker type sewer :-)

    1. Oh no! I don't mind at all. I am all for a good short cut. It did occur to me to not bother pinning, but while I don't tack, I have to say that I do like to go to the sewing machine ready and in control. If I have to sit there folding and tucking in, the sewing machine starts getting grumbly and then it gets bored and does something petulant. We have a love/hate relationship, the sewing machine and me...

  2. This is why I have never made bunting! long and tedious... but, you'll love it all flapping about - it'll look real pretty :)
    You could go crazy and just sew without pinning but If you really want to use pins you could pop them in up and down ways (perpendicular to how you are going to sew - does that make sense?) and just sew right over the top of them. Zoom zoom.... take them out at the end.

    1. do you know, I never thought of that. I still have some flags left over - the neighbour truly overbunted - so if I can face it, I will do it that way!

  3. They look fab! I have made (very last minute and needing to be super fast) bunting using ric rac (curly ribbon but a little bit stronger) instead of bias binding - saved all the hassle of folding over. It has lasted really well. Here's to some summer sun to look at it breezing about x

    1. when we were at a scout jamboree last summer, the scout wives made bunting by hand stitching (there were 3 of us so it wasn't that bad) the flags directly onto some sisal string...


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