Today was my nephew’s 1st birthday party, as well as the debut of a project my mom and I have been working on (see above). We made bunting to be displayed every year for Soren’s birthdays (or at least until he gets old enough to be embarrassed by it…I give it 5 years).
My mom and I are not big sewers (read: we do not sew at all), so this project took a while, and we kind of made it up as we went along. So here’s the tutorial for how we made it, which would be a great how-to for non-sewers (though it is not completely sew-free)!
-Fabric (we used about 3 yards for ours…though we bought a whole bunch more than that…again…non-sewers.)
-Binding tape (or ribbon, though binding tape will allow for better draping)
-Fusible interfacing (double sided)
-T-shirt printer paper
-Sew machine (or a steady hand and a bit of time)
Select your fabric (we bought about 7 different patterns/colors), and using pinking shears (to create a nice, clean edge), cut it into triangles. We used an 8′ by 10′ cardboard template. You’ll want to make two triangles for each flag you want. We wanted 21 flags, so we made 42 triangles.
Cut fusible interfacing into triangles (slightly smaller than your flags). Place them in between your flag triangles, and iron them together. This is a nice step, since it allows you to avoid sewing the triangles together, which is a bit difficult for non-sewers. You may need to just trim up the flags a bit so that overlapping fabric or interfacing gets cleaned up.
Lay out your flags and plan in which order you want them to appear. Then pin them to the binding tape. We used thick, folded binding tape, so we just slid the flags into the fold in the tape, being sure to overlap the flags so that there would be no weak spots. We left about 6 inches of binding tape on each end, to allow for better hanging.
Sew the flags into the binding tape. You COULD avoid sewing altogether by using more fusible interfacing, and just ironing the flags into the tape. It would hold, though maybe not as well, and would definitely make it more stiff and would not drape as nicely. I used a sewing machine (which terrifies me), and just did it as carefully as I could. It went really quickly, took me only about 5 minutes. If I can do it, SO CAN YOU!
Using t-shirt transfer paper (available at craft stores and Office Depot/Staples), print out your letters. Cut around the letters (unless your fabric is the same color as the paper), and iron onto the flags.
AND YOU ARE DONE!
Bonus: We also used our 3 “spacer” flags (the flags in between the words) as badge flags. We made removable (via velcro) badges (using felt and the t-shirt printer paper) that can be swapped out every year.
Like I said, we kind of made it up as we went along, which means that we made a lot of mistakes (I mean, learned a lot!). Here are the lessons we learned:
1. We needed less fabric than we thought. Umm..moral of the story: plan ahead. We thought we planned ahead, but..you know..
2. Talk to someone who knows what they’re doing. We had originally planned to sew the flags together, but my wonderful Aunt Lyn, who is a sewer and knows a thing or two, was all “ummm….maybe not.” It was her idea to just iron the flags together using fusible interfacing. And it worked like a charm! She also helped me to get started with the sewing machine, which was SO HELPFUL. We definitely could not have done this project without her.
3. Let’s talk about t-shirt transfer paper. I had read a few tutorials on bunting, and I had seen someone using t-shirt transfer paper for their letters, and the kind that they used allowed them to iron on *only* the inked area. We learned, however, that that is a very special type of transfer paper (that must be ordered from England). How did we learn this, do you ask? Well, we just went ahead and (stupidly, without testing it out first), accidentally ironed on an entire sheet of transfer paper to one of our flags, expecting just the letter to transfer. So my mom had to kind of rework that flag (which was, mind you, already sewn into the binding tape). After a bit of research, we found that our best option was to use the regular t-shirt transfer paper that is available everywhere (and that we had totally messed up on), and just cut very closely around each letter. It worked wonderfully, it was just a little fiddly. I would recommend planning ahead and ordering that nice English transfer paper (find it here : http://www.photopaperdirect.com/). But this worked just fine in the end.