Tutorial: Picnic Bunting

picnic buntingI have a confession to make: I’m really loving the bunting trend. I still get excited when I see a blog post with a different twist on the basic triangle garland. In honor of Memorial Day, and with an invitation to a weekend barbecue, I decided to make my own picnic-inspired version.

After this weekend, I’m planning to use this again for the Fourth of July and any other summer event. It reminds me of a picnic spread. I had hoped to photograph the bunting wrapped around and between a few evergreen trees with a picnic basket below, but with the weather as it is…you’ll just have to imagine it for now.

Originally, I was planning to use bandanas, but then I found gingham in several colors and completely changed my plan. With only one evening free to make this, I streamlined as much of the process as possible. No tracing the pattern, no hemming, no pinning. Very quick. The slowest part was sewing on the buttons, but a hot glue gun can be used if you are really pressed for time.

See the Picnic Bunting Tutorial after the jump.

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Materials:

  • 1/4 yard of gingham printed cotton in red, blue, and black (9″ tall by the width of the fabric)
  • bias tape – note: I used 1/2″ white bias tape, instead of the red pictured here
  • thread
  • paper for pattern
  • embellishments - buttons, beads, etc

Tools:

  • scissors
  • rotary cutter and cutting mat (optional)
  • sewing machine
  • metal-edged ruler
  • pins (optional)
  • hand-sewing needle (or hot glue gun)

Steps:

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1. Draw your bunting pattern onto paper and cut it out. Mine is 8″ wide and 9″ tall.

2. Fold fabric in half, making a 9″ tall rectangle. Your width will vary by the width of your fabric. I used 45″ wide fabric, so my folded fabric was about 22″ by 9″. Having your fabric the same height as your pattern will eliminate some of the cutting work.

3. Place pattern as close to the fold as possible and cut both sides. Use the metal edged ruler to hold the fabric in place and take care not to cut the pattern. If your cuts are not perfectly even, it won’t be noticeable later.

4. Rotate the pattern piece and make the next cut. Repeat until you run out of fabric. You should be making one cut for each new triangle.

5. Repeat steps 2 – 4 with the other fabrics. I made 9 triangles out of each 1/2 yard of fabric.

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6. To finish the edges, hold each triangle by the point and lightly run your hand down the edges to fray them. No hemming required. Stack the triangles in the order that you’ll be using them.

To attach them to the bias tape, you have two options. The first one is the traditional pin and sew. The second is the “pfff, I don’t need no pins!” technique that I prefer for speed and sheer recklessness.

Option 1:

1. Place each triangle between the fold of the bias tape and pin. Leave about two inches (or more if that suits you) in between each triangle.

2. Sew.

Option 2:

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1. Measure two inches from your sewing machine needle and mark with colorful tape (seen here with yellow tape).

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2. Place a the first point of a triangle between the fold of the bias tape and hold in place with a finger. Sew about an inch and then tuck the rest of the triangle edge into the bias tape, hold in place with your finger and sew the rest of the way.

3. When the first triangle is finished but still under the sewing needle, place the next triangle in the bias tape at your tape mark and repeat step 2. No pins needed and your bunting will be evenly spaced.

With either option, leave an 18″ tail on each side for hanging. I made three strands of nine flags each. They are each about 6 feet long.

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Sew on (or glue) your embellishments. Then, hang up your bunting and enjoy!

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Happy Memorial Day!

2 responses to “Tutorial: Picnic Bunting

  1. Love the gingham bunting, really cute. Also thanks for the good tip attaching flags to bias tape using coloured sticky tape – I have just finished bunting for my girls bedroom (see my latest blog), I however pinned them and had a nightmare as it stretched right across my living room floor!!

    • The bunting you made for your daughters is adorable! I love that you took the time to add their names.
      Last summer, I sewed about 100 feet of bunting for my wedding and had to invent a technique to keep the flags evenly spaced and spare me the time of pinning. I hadn’t even thought about the space issue. I wouldn’t have been able to lay it out in my apartment!

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