A bunting is an essential decoration for nearly any celebration. Versatile, scrap-friendly, and quick to sew (not to mention forgiving), you’ll soon find yourself making them for any occasion. They are a lovely alternative to disposable paper decorations, and certainly a keepsake to cherish and reuse every year. My daughter’s first birthday bunting was a gift, so I had to make one for my son on the occasion of his first birthday.
various fabric scraps, fat quarters, old sheets, shirts, etc.
rotary cutter or scissors
handmade or purchased bias binding, or ribbon
Make Your Template:
I used cardstock to make my template. My triangle is 8.5 inches across the top and 9 inches high. You are certainly not limited to a triangle; nearly any simple shape would work.
Cut Out Your Shapes:
I used 14 pairs of triangles in this project. If you don’t plan to further embellish your shapes, fold your fabric right sides together so you can cut each pair out and have it all ready for stitching. The ten seconds you’re going to save will make a world of difference when you are making this bunting twenty minutes before your guests arrive. Make certain to fold carefully if you have directional fabric, so you don’t have upside down images.
You can embellish your bunting with felt letters, rick-rack, ribbon, applique, sequins, etc. You will probably want to do this before stitching the shapes together, so you don’t have to worry about your stitching showing through the back.
Stitch The Pairs of Shapes:
If you’re a newer sewist, you might want to use a fabric pencil or air-erasable marker to draw a little center line at the tip of your triangle, so you can visualize where to pivot.
With right sides together, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, begin stitching at the upper corner of your shape, and continue all the way around until you return to the top. *Be sure to leave the top edge open for turning!
Once you are finished stitching your shapes, you will want to trim the seam allowance on points and corners to reduce bulk. Be careful not to clip your stitching.
Turn and Press:
Turn your shapes right sides out and use your turning tool to gently poke out the corners. Press flat, using your turning tool to push out the seams as needed.
Here is the point where a great sewist would whip up 6 light-yards of organic, homemade, free-range, cruelty-free, sustainably harvested bias tape. For this project, I instead spent $1.87 each on two packets of bias tape at Hobby Lobby. This is the great poly/cotton stuff that you can find anywhere. It feels like a thrift store pantsuit but it does the job.
You may be able to get by with 3 yards of bias tape – you’ll need to do the math. I could *just* fit my 14 triangles on 3 yards but I wanted long ends so I used 2 packets (6 yards). Therefore I had to stitch the two sections of bias tape together. If you do so, you’ll want to open up the ends to stitch them together and then fold them back up again.
Alternately, you can use wide ribbon which you have folded in half and pressed.
Put It All Together:
Now it’s time to assemble. Make sure you leave enough room on your bias tape or ribbon so you have a little ‘tail’ on each end. I left myself a full 1.5 yards on each end.
Begin by arranging your stitched shapes in a pleasing order. You can either pin them all inside the bias tape in advance or do it without pins if you’re feeling adventurous. Either way, you’ll open up the bias tape a bit and sandwich the raw edges of your shape inside. I spaced my triangles about 1/2 inch apart.
Start stitching! I chose a straight stitch, but zigzag would be cute as well. I used a contrasting thread that coordinated with the predominant color in my bunting. Topstitch about 1/8 inch away from the bottom edge of the bias tape, or find an easy landmark on your presser foot to line up your tape.
A long line of stitching later, you’re finished…
Just hang and enjoy for years to come!
Bernadette Emerson is a mother, wife, writer, musician, haphazard gardener, erratic blogger, and occasionally rearranges her sewing studio to make it look like she has been productive. She lives in Boulder County, Colorado, where the mountains look pretty from the front yard.