How to Sew Bunting
Text and imagery courtesy of How to Sew by Susie Johns published by GMC Publications
With colourful homemade bunting you will always be ready for a celebration.
Choose lightweight fabric that will flutter in the breeze and use this project to practice basic running stitch – it’s really easy.
- Pieces of lightweight cotton fabric » (such as voile or muslin), each measuring at least seven by six inches (18 by 15 centimetres)
- A length of cotton tape, half an inch (1.3 centimetres) wide » – (see ‘Measuring’ for length needed)
- Two plastic, wooden or metal rings (optional)
- Fabric scissors »
Technique used – Running stitch (see below)
You can make your bunting any length you like. Once made, the fabric pennants are five inches (13 centimetres) wide and are spaced two inches (five centimetres) apart. To calculate how much tape you need for the number of pennants you have, allow seven inches (18 centimetres) for each pennant plus at least one yard (90 centimetres) to give you enough free tape at each end for fastening.
Conversely, if you know what length you want your bunting to be – say, 16 feet (five metres) to stretch across a room or between two trees – deduct one yard (90 centimetres) for the ends then divide the remaining length by seven (18), to calculate how many pennants to cut. As a rough guide, you will need 11 pennants for a 10 foot (three metre) length; 22 for a 16 foot (five metre) length; and 61 for a 39 foot (12 metre) length.
If you do not have scraps of material to use up, a piece of fabric measuring 12 by 39 inch (30 by 100 centimetres) will give you about 26 pennants, with careful cutting.
How to Make
1. Make a card template for the pennants, using the diagram below. Place the card template on each piece of fabric in turn and draw round all three sides.
2. If your fabric scraps are big enough, or if you are using one larger piece of fabric, move the template along and draw round it as before. Flip it as shown in the illustration, to reduce waste. As a guide, you will need 11 pennants for a 10 foot (three metre) length – see Measuring above.
3. Cut along the lines you have drawn. By placing the template on two or more layers of fabric, you can cut out several pennants at a time – pinning the layers of fabric together will make this easier.
4. Position the first pennant at least 18 inches (45 centimetres) from one end of the tape (or more if you want longer ties at each end). Thread a sewing needle and, with the top (short) edge of the triangle along the centre of the tape, baste the pennant in place, using a long running stitch.
5. Position the second pennant two inches (five centimetres) from the first and baste as before. Repeat along the length of the tape, leaving the same amount of tape free at both ends.
6. Starting at one end, fold over the tape so that the long edges are aligned, and stitch together with neat running stitch (shorter than in step four).
7. Fold over the tape to enclose the top of each pennant in turn, stitching through all three layers. Continue stitching along the free end of the tape. Once all the pennants have been securely stitched in place, remove the basting thread from the top of each one.
8. Fold over each end of the tape to form a loop, and stitch in place. If you wish, you can loop the tape through a plastic, wooden or metal ring before stitching.
How to Sew a Running Stitch
Bring the needle out to the right side of the work. Push the needle in and out of the fabric. Repeat at regular intervals, aiming to make each stitch and each gap between stitches the same length. For basting, or ‘tacking’ ( which is used to keep two pieces of fabric together when pins would get in the way), the stitches and gaps should be about half an inch (1.2 centimetres) long; for gathering, make them slightly smaller.