Where have I been for the last month? I wish that I could say that I was on a beautiful tropical beach. But…. poor baby me. I have been making decor for my school’s Annual Gala! And the most exciting thing that I made was a huge bunting banner.
At first fabric banners may seem like a big job but it’s a decoration that can be used year after year. A colorful bunting also makes a cute room decoration.
- Fabric, various quilted cotton. Enough in each color or size to cover both sides of your bunting flag.
- Low loft white batting. (I prefer acrylic’s lighter weight so that the flags don’t bend.)
- 2.5″ cotton fabric strips (I used one small jelly roll.)
- Upholstery thread or machine quilting thread to match the jelly roll and your fabric. (I like to use upholstery thread to create higher contrast with dark materials.)
- Clean poster board, cardboard or an acrylic triangle to be used as a template
- Fabric chalk pen
- Safety Pins
- Sewing machine, quilting pins, walking foot with guide, bobbin washer and 1/4″ seam guide foot.
- Cutting mat, acrylic straight edge and rotary blade cutter or a large and sharp sewing scissors.
- Determine the size of flag that you want to create. Your flag does not have to be a triangle. It can be a rectangle, scallop shape or a dentil.
- If you are creating your own design, sketch the shape on your cardboard and verify that the outline is perpendicularly aligned. Note that the finished design will be 1/4″ smaller due to the sewn seam. Cut out your design with a non-sewing scissors. (I personally prefer to use my acrylic quilting triangle.)
- Iron your fabric on high heat and starch. Move to cutting mat or clean table. Place template on the wrong side of your fabric. If you are double stacking your fabric (folding a larger piece of fabric to cover both sides) place the fold at the top of your flag. Use the calk marker to outline.
- Cut out your flag from the fabric on the chalk line. Take the two fabric sides of your flag and place them right sides together (pattern side to pattern side.) Then place batting under the two layered fabric pieces. The batting should be touching the wrong side of one piece of fabric.
- Pin the fabric and batting together with safety pins. Cut the batting about 1/2″ from the fabric’s edge.
- Sew the sides of your flag with a walking foot attachment on your machine. You should have a 1/4″ seam allowance. This means that the middle of your sewn seam is 1/4″ from the fabric’s edge.
- Remove your pins and cut a small V in the tip of your flag where the sewn seams meet. (This is so the tip of your flag will be pointy.) If you have double stacked your fabric, cut the fold at the top of the flag open. Trim the batting at the sides to within a 1/4″ or less of the sewn seam to reduce bulk.
- Turn the flag inside out so that the batting is now on the inside and both right sides of the fabric face out. Iron your flag flat.
- Place this flag aside and finish the rest of your flags.
- Choose which side of your flag you wish to be in the front. If you want to do any lettering on your bunting, do it now. The most simple way is to use a iron-on fabric applique. (See the method described in this previous post: Appliques Away!)
- Use your walking foot to quilt across the surface of your flag. You can sew straight lines across or on the diagonal. Leave a long tail at the start and finish of your stitched line. To achieve equally spaced lines attach a quilting guide to your walking foot.
- Use your flag template to cut off the top of each flag and trim the quilting tails so that all the flags are the same height.
- Knot and bury any tails remaining on the sides of the flags.
- Take the 2-1/2″ jelly roll strips. These strip will join to hold the flags. Estimate how long your bias will need to be with three 3″ between the flags and 18″ on each end. To join the strips, place them perpendicular to each other.
- These joined fabric strips need to become bias tape. Fold the strip in half and iron. Then fold the upper and lower edges inward to the newly ironed seam. Pin these folds in place and iron along the length of the strip as you remove the pins.
- Pin the top of the open bias strip to the top of the back of the flag. Pin the flags at the same distance apart. Be sure to place the flags in reverse order while pinning because the flags are upside down. Sew the bias tape in place with a 1/4″ seam. (Note that I am using a foot attachment for a 1/4″ seam. This makes it a lot easier!) You don’t have to do each flag separately to the bias tape, it is easier and smoother to sew along the bias tape in the area between flags.
- Turn your flags over so the fronts face up. Wrap the bias tape over the top of your flag and pin in place. Fold and pin the bias tape in between the flags too. Match the color of your thread to the bias tape.
- Sew the bias tape down using a 1/4″ seam across the entire project. Be sure to back-stitch at the beginning and end. Cut the bias tape on a 45 deg angle at 18″ from the outside flags.