Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bunting the Easy way!

I love making bunting. I love the chance to play with fabrics, and the speed at which it comes together. It is a bit like patchwork, but without the need to concentrate, cut accurately and all that. And it's way faster!
Now anyone who sews is going to be able to work out how to do this without a tutorial, but I have found that some approaches are quicker than others, and if you have a lot to make, this can save you a lot of time, and pin scratches!
Starting with the flags - I cut them 25cm long and 20cm across the top, using the pinking blade on my rotary cutter on the bottom edges, and the plain blade for the tops. I didn't think to photograph the cutting process, I will later. Organise your flags into the sequence you want to join them together in, and make a pile with the left end as you look at it on top.
I use this amazing herring bone tape as it is so easy to see where to fold it - I don't even iron it, I just fold it as I feed it under the foot. Start with about 30cm sewn folded before adding the first flag:
Slot the top edge of the first flag into the tape and keep sewing, folding the tape in half as you go.
When you get to the end of the flag, mark where you want to insert the next one. I've used the edge of the window in my tray as a marker. If I want the flags closer together I use the edge of the plate.
Keep sewing and folding until you reach the pin, then take out the pin, and insert the next flag.
After doing this for a bit, I have found I can just do it using my fingers, or even eyeballing it, but the pin thing is quick too. Repeat with each flag until you have used up the whole pile.
Here's my pile, and the reel of tape. I haven't precut the tape, I just feed it through off the reel!
When all the flags are used up, I bring the beginning around and line the first and last flags up, and cut the tape to match. Finish folding and sewing to the end.
I sew a curtain ring on each end - just fold the last 1.5cm or so of tape toward the back, catching in the ring, and zig zag it closed, encasing the raw ends.
And here it is - a 12 flag string of bunting!!
This way is SO much quicker than measuring and pinning the flags in advance. And if you have a lot to make, any time saver is welcome!

Lettering: Now you my have noticed the bunting has letters attached. Here's a quick low-down on how to make them:

You need:
  • Wool mix or wool felt. Acrylic felt doesn't work (it won't fuse)
  • Steam a seam - not the stay tape stuff but the 60cm wide fusible stuff.
  • A black marker pen
  • A computer with a printer that runs MS Word or similar programme.
In a new document, type out the letters you want, selecting the font you like and the size. In this example, I am using Cooper Black font in size 350pt.
Set the font to "outline" so as not to waste toner.
Here's my letters printed out over several pieces of paper.
Note: Because of the triangle shape of the flags, I wanted to make the "m" narrower. To do this, I printed it in size 320, cut through the middle, spread it to match the height of the other letters and filled in the lines. This made a narrower M that still looks the same as the other letters. Works for W also.
Now, important next step is to turn your paper over and trace through the outlines with the black marker. This is because letters and numbers need to be in mirror image. If you can tell your printer to flip the letters for you, you could skip this step, but I couldn't work it out!
Check out your Steam a Seam - identify which side is the actual adhesive. Do this by peeling the two papers apart - the tacky side is the one you want.
Put your lettering papers under the Steam a Seam, tacky side up, and trace through. Because we're using felt, you can cram the letters together like I have. Less waste of felt and Steam a Seam!
Now, peel the backing paper off your Steam a Seam, and press it gently onto the felt. Then, felt side up, use a warm iron to press it on permanently.
5Cut out the letters, paper backing and all. Then all you need to do is peel off the backing paper, position the letter on the surface, and iron press it with a warm iron to stick it down.
The sharp observer may have noticed my t was the wrong way around and at the last minute I had to do it again! All is well that ends well!