Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday: A Birthday Bunting

When we were kids, my sisters and I loved -- I mean love, love, love, love, loved -- to make birthday banners. And not just for birthdays, no no. Welcome Home! banners. We Love You! banners. We Want More Allowance! banners. (Ok, I may have made that last one up, but it would have been a great idea.)

We had a dot matrix printer - you know the kind where the pages of paper are all connected, so the banners are lovely but you can ruin your school report if you don't rip carefully enough? Yeah, one of these babies:

image found here

Anyway, with the demise of the dot matrix printer, said banners were no more. But luckily for me, in my adult years, I have found a happy replacement for the dot matrix banner - birthday buntings! 

These happy little colorful flags can be used every year, for every birthday. It's an instant family tradition. And even though it's no one's birthday around here, I decided to make one, and show you a few of my tricks, too. :)

So, first, gather your materials:
3 fat quarters of brightly colored fabric (you could use more, you could just grab up all your random scraps, whatever!)
1 pkg of bias tape
pinking shears
piece of cardboard

Iron each fat quarter, folded over in half.

Step One:
Make your template. Basically, draw a triangle on your piece of cardboard and cut it out. Size and shape are totally up to you. My triangle was 6 inches along the top and 6 1/2 inches along each side. I believe they call that an isosceles triangle.

Step Two:
Trace your triangle onto your fabric - on the right side (the good side, not the ugly side) - with a washable pencil.

 Keep switching the direction of your triangle so you have them right next to each other. Use that space well!

To spell "Happy Birthday" with proper spacers, I needed 16 double triangles, so I cut 6 from one fabric and 5 from each of the others.

See how they're all right next to each other?

Ok, on the next step.

Step Three:
Place a pin in each of the triangles to hold the two sides together. Use your pinking shears to trim off the extra fabric. Like so:

Step Four:
Sew! Sew with a straight stitch 1/4 inch inside the lines of each triangle. Later you will cut each triangle out, but it's nice to keep it all together for now. Less sliding around and fewer pins needed. Plus you don't have to try to match up the little triangles from the pinking shears if you just sew them first. Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself. Just sew.

If you look closely at this next picture you can see where I sewed. You can also see about 4 other projects I was working on at the same time.

Step Five:
 Cut the lines between each triangle.

Here's my little pile of cut out triangles:

Step Six:
Ok, now just carefully place your triangles so that they are tucked into the bias tape. Pin them in place.

You could use more pins, but I found it easier just to retuck and hold things in place as I sewed.

Step Seven:
Sew again! Sew a straight line down your bias tape, making sure you are catching your triangles and they're all neatly tucked in there. It's stop and go, and it takes a little while, but hang in there.

Because once you've done that, you're done!

All ready for a fake birthday party!

Ok, almost ready. Now you just have to add the letters. I actually still haven't done that. I plan on cutting them out of felt and gluing them on with fabric glue. Since this isn't going to be getting very dirty or being played with or really touched very much, I figure that should do it. I'll update you on how that goes.

Let me know if you have any questions. And of course any random compliments are always appreciated.


Heidi said...

Super Cute! I love that you sewed them before cutting them! Super Easy! Now I just need the pinking shears...

Shirley said...

I need pinking shears too! I love it! I had totally forgotten about the awesomeness of those printers!!! We did a little banner for Ryan, but out of paper, but I love the look of fabric! Who's birthday are you fake celebrating?

Christy said...

Oh tearing my papers apart for school was more stressful than writing them! Love the project, will have to try it!

Heidi said...

They have fat quarters for 99 cents at Joanne's right now - I had to resist last night since I bought $15 of lace instead...


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