Monday, February 18, 2013

DIY bunting

  No birthday party is complete without some celebratory decorations.  In keeping with my desire for Evening’s first birthday party to be eco-friendly I got busy sewing some bunting to decorate the house.   

  My plan is to re-use this bunting for several birthdays, other special days, future pajama parties, outdoor summer parties, you name it.  

  I didn’t mind spending the time to make my bunting to match the vision I had in my mind, but I do realize that not everyone has the time or desire to do so.  So I’ve added in a few “Busy Busy Alternatives” in this tutorial to suit those people – follow those directions and you’ll have some lovely bunting in just a few hours.  

  Here’s what you’ll need:

-         Old cereal box to make template (or piece of cardboard)
-         Protractor, ruler, scissors, fabric marking pen
-         Fabric
-         Needle and thread (Busy Busy Alternative: craft glue)
-         A ball of all-natural hemp twine (it should say ‘all natural’ on label)
-         Barrette or bobby pin

  Cut open your cereal box and lay it flat.  Take up your ruler and make a straight line near the bottom, 8” long.  Using your protractor (that you probably haven’t even thought of since high school), mark an angle of 65 degrees on each end of your line, angled toward each other.  Use your ruler to mark a straight line following those angles until the two lines intersect to make a triangle.  That sounds complicated, but it isn’t, take a look:

  This is going to be the template for all the triangles on your bunting.  

  Using this triangle, you can get three double-sided bunting triangles from one fat quarter of fabric (as long as the pattern is not one way, then one of your triangles will be upside down), like this: 

  Take two matching triangles, and  place them on top of each other, right sides facing out.  Select a seam allowance (I used ¾ “ but it doesn’t matter as long as you are consistent throughout), and fold the edges under to the middle, matching up with the other side, and press.   Pin and sew all around with a running stitch, taking special care around the corners which are a bit trickier to keep tucked under.  

  Busy Busy Alternative: Select batiks for your bunting; that way there is no ‘wrong side’ and you can have a double-sided bunting with just one triangle.  Rather than sewing the edges together, use pinking shears to cut your triangles, which looks very funky and will minimize fraying.  

  How many triangles you need to complete your bunting depends on the size of room you want to decorate, as well as how many strands you would like to make.  I laid mine out on the floor until I was certain I had enough for our party room, which worked really well and I recommend that you try.

  I ‘strung’ my bunting triangles on hemp, because I do love the way it looks, and it lasts forever.  To get this earthy lacey look, I first braided three long strands of hemp twine, then I braided those strands together into another braid.   It takes time, but it looks so pretty!

  Here’s a few tips for braiding this much twine: 

1.      find something rigid to attach it to.  I tucked mine into our door lock and just stepped back and plaited away.  

2.    You may need to take a break so keep a barrette or bobby pin in your pocket to hold the braid until you get back.  

3.    This much twine can get tangled really fast, so every few plaits, stop and untangle the twine – trust me, it’s worth it!

4.    Lastly, keep your sense of humour, it’s very hard to have this much twine flopping about without your children and pets thinking it’s the greatest game they’ve ever played!

  Busy Busy Alternative: rather than braiding, simple use a single strand of tough hemp twine to ‘string’ your bunting triangles. 
  Once you are finished plaiting the ‘super-braid’ you are ready to stitch your triangles to the hemp.  

  Before you begin, find the center of your hemp super-braid (or simple strand) and mark it with your barrette or bobby pin.  Count up your triangles.  If you have an even number, divide your triangle into two halves.  Start on one side of the barrette and start to sew on one of those halves, going back and sewing on the second half afterwards (this ensures the triangles are centered on the braid).  If you have an uneven number, position the middle triangle in the middle and then do the same.  Basically, you’re starting from the middle and sewing on one side at a time.  

  I used a combination of running stitch and ladder stitch to attach the triangle to one side of the hemp.  Because of the nature of the hemp, the super-braid is a little uneven, which made it impossible to simply use a ladder stitch without it looking rather terrible.  Here’s what the running stitch/ladder stitch combo looks like up close:

  Busy Busy Alternative: tuck the long end of the triangle around the hemp and seal it there with craft glue.  Ta-daa!

  I left approximately 1 ¼” between my triangles, because that’s what I thought looked best.    You may choose to use more, or less, just be consistent with each triangle so that your bunting looks even when you are done. 

  Sew, sew, sew (or glue, glue, glue).

  I recommend a few sturdy craft hooks for hanging your bunting from the ceiling or wall, and while hemp can handle getting wet it does change the texture, so be sure to wash your bunting on ‘delicate’ if you have to, and hang it to dry.  

  You’re done!  You’ve made yourself some gorgeous bunting you can use over and over again!  Great job!

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  1. Oh I am so loving this! It is perfect like you said to use for birthdays and what not! Just adorable! I am a new follower lady!!!

    1. So glad you like it! Nice to have you visit - I'm still dreaming of the sea shell mushrooms in your fairy garden!

  2. This is so sweet, truly I LOVE it! The hemp adds a nice touch! Totally pinning!

  3. Good Morning Jennifer,
    I see you have been busy crafting. Love the bunting and the birthday crown.
    Your little one turning a year old, Happy Birthday Evening.
    Hugs- Becka

  4. Hello Becka - you have no idea! I'm officially taking at least a few days off from sewing now. Thanks for the birthday wishes

  5. Hi Becka, all I have to say is Wowza! I love that bunting and the braided twine is perfect for it! thanks for sharing and a happy birthday to Evening... hmmm, did you think about that when you said and for sleep overs? She is only approaching one but the time does fly...
    Hugs and thanks for sharing my sweet friend,
    Beth P

    1. it does fly, so we're savouring every second. Evening says thank you for the birthday wishes (well, she said 'dah dah dah' but I'm sure that's what she meant

  6. Nice! raided edges look awesome. It's also thoughtful of you to provide "busy busy" alternate methods.


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