Image Details: ‘bunting’ by mrjamie, via Flickr.
Bunting was originally a type of fabric, used since the 17th Century, used to make, amongst other things, signal flags for the Royal Navy. The term ‘bunting’ is also used to refer to a collection of flags, particularly those of a ship. In the last couple of years, it has also become the home decor accessory of choice in such style bibles as Ideal Home.
I volunteered to knock up a bit of bunting for a baby shower at the weekend as the hostess was worried about having adequate decorations. You can’t really go wrong with a bit of bunting at any occasion really, (well, apart from maybe a funeral, depends on your taste I suppose!) so I set about collecting the ingredients. I already knew that one of the other ladies was making a beautiful quilt for the impending arrival, so I decided to match up the bunting to that.
0.25m of green multicoloured quilting fabric (115cm wide)
0.25m of green striped shirting fabric (150cm wide)
0.25m of pink striped polycotton (115cm wide)
5m of purple bias binding
All of which came to the princely sum of R71, which is about £5 at the current exchange rate. This made a 4.6m length of bunting (with a length of bias binding at each end to hang it up with) which had 16 triangles on it, about 10cm apart. I used a template from this tutorial and used the smaller of the triangles. Unlike this tutorial though, I sewed the triangles right sides together with a straight stitch and a 0.5cm seam allowance, then pinked off the excess and turned the triangle the right way out, pressing it out flat with the iron before attaching the bias binding. I think this gives a much more professional and neat finish, even if it does take a bit longer. I also used considerably less fabric than the tutorial called for, which is always handy if you have a penchant for expensive quilting fabric, which, luckily, I don’t!
I have compiled my top tips for bunting production, as I think it is one of those projects that can turn out really well or can look quite amateur, depending on the techniques used.
1) Press, press, press. Iron the fabric prior to cutting, after sewing and at the end to get it looking its best.
2) Measure twice, cut once. Be very careful when measuring out and cutting your fabric. Don’t be tempted to cut corners and try and cut lots of triangles at once, as the end result will depend on the accuracy of your cutting. You could end up wasting expensive material if you try to rush here.
3) Pre-iron your bias binding before putting the triangles in. This will make a quite fiddly job much easier.
4) Plan your cutting. Before you pin out for cutting, look at the different ways you can shuffle around the template to get maximum use of the fabric.
5) Save the scraps. If you want to embellish the triangles, as I did, you can save a lot of fabric by working with off-cuts from the main triangles.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am off to buntify the world!