Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Christmas Bunting

A very quick bunting post...Thea is waiting with her fabric and scissors ready to go...I made this bunting to go above the table in my dining room for Christmas. In the picture are just half of the 120 flags that I got from 2m of fabric. This way of cutting and sewing bunting is very time-efficient (you sew all of your flags from each fabric at the same time) and also almost totally fabric waste free.
What you need:
  • Fabric (the next post will explain how to work out how much you'll need, it depends on how big you want your flags and how long a piece of bunting you need)
  • Bias tape
  • Tailors chalk
  • Scissors
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Chop stick and some tweezers
If you have it:
  • Cutting mat marked out with inches

First of all, iron your fabric.

Next, fold your first fabric in half with the rs facing each other. If the pattern of the fabric is such that it needs to be a certain way up then cut your fabric in half and place the two halves together with the pattern up the right way.**

**Correction here! Thanks Shonika for pointing this out. If you cut the fabric in half to make your flags, the patterns will be the same way up on both sides but will still result in half of your flags having the pattern the right way up and half having the pattern upside down. If you just fold your fabric in half then all of your flags will have the pattern the right way up on one side and the wrong way up on the other side. If your fabric doesn't have a right way up you don't need to worry about this bit at all. Sorry for incorrect original instructions!

Now lay your fabric out and get your ruler and chalk ready to start marking out the grid for the flags.
To make flags about 3.5 inches across and 4.5 inches down you need to mark along the length of the fabric every 4 inches (this is very easily done if you happen to have an inch marked cutting board as shown in the photo).

Next measure 5 inches down and draw a line the length of your fabric (this line is just so you know where to make the next lot of marks.) So now, make dashes along this line. The first is 2 inches from the end and then after that every 4 inches. So this second row of marks should be in the centre of the row of marks above.

Then measure the depth of your flag again (5 inches) and mark out every 4 inches from the end (these marks are in line with the top marks). You keep repeating this depending on how many flags you want to get from your fabric.

You then join them up by using chalk and your ruler...You should have lots of triangles now.

Next pin your fabrics in a few places, particularly if you used two separate pieces rather than one folded piece. This is to hold the fabric in place while you sew. No cutting yet!

Thread your machine and start running straight lines all the way from top to bottom of the fabric either side of the chalked line. You need to leave enough of a gap between your two rows of stitches that will allow you to cut between the lines without getting too close to the stitches. About 1cm should be fine. To make this fast I tended to do one row of stitches and then for doing the second row you line the first stitches up with something on the machine and just keep it straight from there. 
Do all the chalked diagonal lines but not any horizontal ones (These were just so you knew where to make  your 4 inch marks). It should end up looking like this all over...
Next you are going to cut between the stitches and you will see your flags begin to take shape. If you have some diamonds, cut them in half.
At the end all that you should be left with is a couple of bits like this piece below...and lots and lots of flags.
Next cut the tips from all your triangles as you are now going to turn them right side out.
Use a chopstick to push the bottom of the triangle to a point and tweezers from the outside to pull it gently out if it gets a bit twisted in there.

Follow the instructions above for your other fabrics and then iron all your little triangles. You are ready to start putting your bunting together.

Next lay your triangles in their different piles out near your machine. Take your bias tape, fold in half and sew the first bit (the tying end). Next take your first triangle, insert and sew. I did all of these flags without a gap but a small gap also looks nice. If you do decide to do a gap, rather than measuring it each time, just make it a distance on your machine. e.g. when the previous flag gets to the back, insert the next one.
et voila...

Future posts on the topic of bunting will include...
  • How to work out the amount of material you'll need
  • How to work out how much bias tape you'll need
  • Quicker, garden or party bunting
  • Applique bunting with names or pictures
Watch this space (but don't hold your breath whilst watching it!)

Nix X


  1. Looks fantastic! How long do you think it took you from start to finish? You are so clever!

  2. Hey Nix, funny to find you here. Check my blog out. It's in danish, but there are pics, and google translate might help ;) I'm following now.
    Love Katrine (from our Oz-trip in 2001)

  3. Hi Jane, I did it in bits but I would say to make as much as that, probably 4-5 hours. My friend just made 24 flags in an hour and a half using these instructions...