Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Bunting Tips And Tricks

Having made 100 metres of bunting in the past week, here are some hints and tips which I thought I’d pass on to anyone else who has to embark on creating the stuff in industrial quantities for weddings, fetes, and charity fundraisers. Do allow yourself time, and plan it out beforehand.

Work the angles

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A row of isosceles triangles will look and hang better than

one of equilateral triangles – and only uses half the amount of fabric. My preferred dimensions for large amounts in big rooms is 5” across the top, 8” down to the point [its a geeky maths girl Fibonacci thing, but it does work] Decide if you are making single sided [quicker, cheaper – ok if hanging against the wall or fence] or double sided [better for bunting hung across the room – but takes longer]

Get the right tools

P1000960Scissors/pinking shears are fine for small quantities- 500 triangles or more, use a rotary cutter, quilters rule, and a cutting mat. An overlocker sewing machine is a boon, but not essential

Find your fabrics

P1000962A remnant of cloth the size of the average tea towel will give you about 20 triangles. This single Laura Ashley curtain gave me 120 print triangles [and a further 110 from the lining]

Cut efficiently

P1000996I made a card template, then cut strips of cloth 8” wide and drew up my triangles and cut them out. With narrower remnants, I placed the template sideways and cut them that way. .P1000997

Steph and Mark had already selected the green/gold/brown fabrics from my Great Stash. I had loads to use.

Bobbin about

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Overlocker or regular machine, you will get through miles of thread. Ensure you have plenty – and wind lots of bobbins in advance, it saves a lot of frustration when you are sewing it all together

Make a point

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Having pinned the triangles in pairs, right sides together, I sewed seams down the two long sides. On an overlocker, its easiest to go from top to point, then do the same on next pair, and so on , till you have a long chain of triangles. Turn the line over, and start again on the other side [top to point again] Separate all your pairs. Turning inside out is greatly helped if you use a crochet hook to tease out the point. Not too sharp, it shouldn’t puncture the fabric.

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Pressing matters

Ironing the triangles will really improve their appearanceP1000985P1000984

You’ll also need to iron your tape in half so you can pin the top of each flag inside the fold. I use twill tape [inexpensive 50m rolls from the Internet] because it is reliable, weatherproof, and strong. My fabric is all old stuff [a friend bought 3 duvets from a CS] but you do need to be sure your hanging tape is trustworthy and won’t break!

Order! Order!

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Line up your flags in the order you want [I put mine out on the coffee table] to avoid ending up with all the same patterns together. Then peg them in groups of 10.

Mind the gap!

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Pin the flags into the folded tape- allowing a gap between each. My first ever bunting I didn’t put in any gaps- and discovered it was hard to hang. You need those spaces to put over hooks, wrap round fence posts, etc. With 5x8 triangles, a handspan is an easy measure to use when pinning.

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My trusty magnetic pin catcher was invaluable. as well as holding all the pins whilst I was working, it was helpful for catching up any stray pins which had gone onto the carpet.

The end is in sight

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As I sewed the flags on the tape, I made sure I knew where the end was- tying it to the door handle as soon as I could- otherwise it gets tangled up in the mess of flags, and time is wasting sorting it out!

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Make sure to leave 12” at the beginning and end without flags, so you have a good long piece for tying up. And label them. Trust me on this – with single sided bunting, you need to be sure which end is which -

I well remember being up a ladder at the church, with one end of the string in my hand – only to realise I had the wrong end- and the bunting would unroll ‘wrong side out’. I had to climb down, move the ladder some distance and start all over again!

It’s a wrap

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The easiest way to store, and transport- is by wrapping round a large board [this is an old pinboard] Pin the LEFT end at the top, then wrap round carefully. Make sure there are no twists and the flags lay flat.

Work down the board till all is covered and then pin the RIGHT end at the bottom. The bunting above is the single sided stuff- I used one curtain and remnants – that gave a 3 step pattern; an ecru flag, the LA print.a random remnant. Two fully wound boards below.

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Relax!

This is not the Great British Sewing Bee, Mary and Patrick are not coming to check anyone’s stitching. My bunting is there to make a simple Nonconformist chapel, and a clean, but dull, village hall, look a little more festive for my daughter’s wedding. Yes, I have worked hard to make it look good – but I know some of the triangles are a little bit shorter or skinnier than others. And that does not matter – because on the day, the bunting is just a bit of window dressing. People will not be looking at my flags, they will be looking at my stunningly beautiful daughters [Steph the bride, Liz the chief bridesmaid] and the other lovely people there.

Remember -The only thing that should be flapping about is the bunting itself – not you!

10 comments:

  1. Well done you! You can now breathe a sigh of relief that it's done - I know I did when I finished the bunting I made for K and A' wedding, and I only made 50 feet.That was folded as neatly as possible, flags together and popped into a suitcase for the 9 hour flight! You are right about any slighty wonky stitching not mattering a jot; some of mine was less than perfect but it really didn't matter, because the day itself was. I'm sure Steph ( and Mark) will love it.

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  2. Brilliant instructions. One other thing - I find it easier to press the flags if I slip the card template inside each one to press.

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  3. Thank you for an excellent tutorial. I just hope I never have to produce quite so much bunting in one go! Well done, it looks brilliant. Your daughters are so lucky to have not just an accomplished mum, but one happy to make such a wonderful contribution to the wedding, just like mum did for me, making my wedding dress and baking and decorating the cakes.

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  4. Having made bunting, in small amounts, I know how long it takes. You have made miles! It will enhance your wedding venue I'm sure.

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  5. This is amazing, I have bookmarked this post.

    Good luck with the rest of the preparations. x

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  6. Busy bee! I'm sure it will look grand in any location! xxx

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  7. The bunting looks fantastic. Well done and a brilliant tutorial. Thanks
    Carolx

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  8. Gosh that is an achievement! I bet you can't even stand to look at a cheese triangle after making all of them.
    X x

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  9. Wow that is so impressive and I love the really practical tips.

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