In this tutorial, and expansion to the one published in the Beacon Magazine, I will show you how to make a bunting for your jubilee celebrations, which will cost next to nothing! Measuring approx 124cm in length, this mini bunting can be used to decorate your home, inside or out. It can be used as a door decoration or, as I have done, a decoration for a child’s playhouse. This tutorial is quite easy, and suitable for children to do. Don’t worry if you can’t sew because I have added in a ‘no-sew’ suggestion. That said, if you are not very confident sewing, this is a great way to practice! If your stitches look a bit wobbly, I personally think this adds to the unique charm of the item! So please don’t aim for ‘technical perfection’, because other factors like imagination, playfulness, experiment, and engagement with your materials are much more important. Most of all have fun!
Take a look in your clothes cupboard for old fabrics with the main colours of red, white and blue. Look for items of clothing with interesting patterns and textures, or even motifs which can be incorporated into the flag design. I utilised my children’s old clothes. They grow out of them so quickly and I have often kept the good quality items to use in projects like this one. If you don’t have many clothes to use, try looking around charity shops or jumble sales for items of clothing. Cut along the seams of the clothes and iron them flat ready for cutting:
Next, you will need a template for your bunting. Get a piece of cardboard (an old cereal box will do for this) and cut out a 10 x 10cm square. Mark a line at the bottom end of the card, halfway at 5cm. From that half-way point, draw a line to each corner at the top and cut out the template to make a triangular shape:
Now that you have a template, you can start choosing your fabrics. I used 3 of each colour, carefully placing the template over interesting parts of the fabric. With this red one, I placed the template over a flower on a dress that my daughter had grown out of. I used an ink pen to make a mark around the template and carefully cut on the inside of the ink line:
Next, I cut 3 of each colour making 9 flags for the bunting in total. Next you need to cut a binding to hold the flags in place. I cut a strip of fabric measuring 124 x 3cms. Fold the binding in half lengthways. It’s helpful to iron along the fold line to make a crease as this will help you with the next stage. Lift open the binding and place the top left hand corner of the first flag approx 11cms along the binding and up to the crease line:
Pin in place with the pins pointing downwards. This will make it easier for you to remove them as you sew. Continue pinning the flags to the binding leaving approx 2cm gap in-between:
Now, using a contrasting colour (I used a red thread on blue and white check, start sewing using a running stitch. Don’t worry if you are not used to sewing. Random stitches can look beautifully quirky- and children can produce unique and playful stitches which add to the overall effect:
If you prefer not to do any sewing at all, you can even peg the flags to the binding with mini pegs that are used for paper crafts:
When all your flags are in place, you can embellish the plain flags with appliqué if you like, or add buttons or even a bit of embroidery. In keeping with the jubilee theme, you may want to use red white and blue threads. I appliquéd on a diamond shape with a running stitch inside it, I also edged some of the flags with running stitch and added a blue and white button to another flag:
And finally, hang your bunting and admire. One of our hens Pepi loves it so much that she tried to eat it!