Sarah Ashford, founder of the Great British Quilter and totally amazing maker with an Instagram grid to make us green with envy, shows us how to make beautiful bunting out of left-over fabric. With just a few simple steps you'll be stringing up your bunting and having fun in the sun!
I thought it would be a fun idea to bring some British cheeriness to our gardens and outdoor spaces with a set of bunting! It's so quick and easy to make and can easily be made longer or shorter depending on what space you have. Or why not make multiple lengths and have it in several places? You never can have too much in my opinion!
Having tried many different bunting variations over the years, I've come to discover that double sided bunting, made up of two triangles sewn together is much better than single fabric triangles. Yes, it takes longer to make, but it makes it heavier and more durable, which is key; especially if it's going to be hung outside. It's worth the extra effort to make it last longer and look fabulous.
There really are no rules with fabric choices. You can coordinate, go rainbow, or why not go scrappy – it's a great opportunity to turn all those off-cuts into something beautiful! I have used Lazy Days from the Tilda Collection for an English Country Garden vibe.
- Selection of fabrics – 9” x13” per pair flag (this is enough for 2 triangles)
- PDF Triangle flag template
- Card or template plastic
- Bias tape
- Binding clips
- 1p coins – the same number as the number of flags you have (optional)
- Usual sewing supplies (sewing machine, rotary cutter, ruler, mat etc.)
First of all, work out the length of bias tape that you need by holding it up to your wall or area for the bunting.
Then add on an additional 20cm at each end to allow for tying or pinning. You can always trim afterwards if it's too long.
Print out the triangle template and either make a card version or if you plan on making lots of bunting, you could draw around it onto template plastic. This will be more durable, last for many years and you will be able to maintain nice crisp edges.
Using the template, work out how many flags you will need to make. As a guide, I made 12 flags for 3 metres (including ties).
For each flag you will need to draw around and cut out 2 triangles. If you're not using a directional print then you can place the two triangles touching each other, one right side up and the other upside down. This saves fabric and makes it easier to cut them.
Use a biro or black fine liner for this, as it's not going to be seen these give a nice thin, crisp line that you'll be able to see clearly for cutting out.
Cut them out either using sharp scissors or with a rotary cutter, ruler and mat.
Repeat for each flag until you have the number of flags you need.
Take 2 triangles of the same fabric and place the right sides together. Pin in place down the two long sides, ensuring that the heads of the pins are nearest the tip of the triangle on the right, and then are facing in the opposite direction with the heads facing towards the top on the left. This is important because it means they can easily be removed when you're stitching on the machine, as you go along.
Starting in the top right hand corner, stitch a 1⁄4 inch seam down to the point of the flag, stopping when you are a quarter of an inch away from the opposite side, just before the point.
Rotate the flag and then stitch back up to the top left hand corner of the flag.
Trim the point of the flag and also trim close to the stitching about an inch up from the point of the flag. This will ensure that you can create a nice sharp point when you turn it out.
Turn the flag the right way through and use something long and pointy such as a knitting needle to create the point.
We now need to get the flag nice and flat. Taking care with a hot iron, put the iron into the flag as far as possible and press the seams flat on each side.
Press the flag flat. You will now notice that there are two little 'ears' at each side of the top of the flag and these will need to be trimmed off.
Do this for all of the flags. It will be quickest to do each of these steps in a production line.
Take the bias binding of your chosen length and iron in half. Find the central point of the bias binding and create a crease. If you have an odd number of flags then a flag will go in the centre with an equal number of flags either side. If you have an even number of flags, place the flags equidistant from this point.
Use binding clips to attach the flags between the fold of the binding, clipping at each end. I have positioned my flags with an inch gap between them.
You might like to hold the bunting up where you plan on hanging it at this point to ensure that you are happy with the spacing and number of flags.
If your bunting is going outside and against a wall, you can place a penny inside each flag to weigh it down. This will make the flags heavier and less likely to flap and get twisted in the wind!
Stitch all the way along the top of the bias strip, encasing the flags as you go. Tie off at each end to complete your bunting!