It’s been a little while since we’ve done anything creative around here. Christmas took over and those little projects have to take a back seat when we’re busy. I had been intending to make this pretty letter bunting for our daughter as a little Christmas present but time ran away with me and I didn’t get to it before the big day so I thought the miserable January days were a perfect time to catch up with my intentions and ensure that the already-purchased project supplies, didn’t go to waste.
I have seen lots of lovely letter bunting around in the shops but wherever I went, I could never seem to find the right letters. I eventually decided it might be quite nice to make our own and use it to decorate our daughter’s bedroom door. She seemed to like the idea so, armed with a few pieces of pretty fabric and the sewing machine, Ella and I invited Nanny over for a day of crafting and the three of us set about it.
The bunting itself was pretty easy to make (especially since I am very much a novice with the sewing machine). I think we initially made the task more difficult for ourselves than it needed to be and as a result, we changed tack half way through the process.
Initially, we made the letters by folding and ironing small strips of fabric then tacking and sewing them to the flags. This was very fiddly and when we finished, I decided I wasn’t sure about all the fabrics we had used. So, I left three of the flags as they were and re-made the other three using letters cut from felt and it was so much easier I wished I had started off with that idea! We were pretty pleased with the results.
Step 1: Measure your area
We knew that this bunting would be hanging on our daughter’s bedroom door and that her name had four letters (this is probably not a project you want to attempt for really long names!!) so we cut an approximate template and then offered it up to the door to see how many pieces would comfortably fit. We decided six ‘flags’ would fill the space evenly and would allow for the four letters plus one blank flag at each end.
Step 2: Cut your fabric
We adjusted the template slightly to ensure a correct fit and then pinned the paper onto the fabric which had already been folded in half to provide two layers for each flag. We allowed approximately 1cm all the way around the template to give us room for hemming.
Step 3: Attach your letters
If I was taking on this project again, I would only use felt and cut the letters from it before sewing them to the flags. As it was, for half of the flags, we used 2 cm widths of a co-ordinating fabric for each section of the letters and folded them lengthways to ensure there were no rough edges. We ironed the folded pieces before pinning, then tacking them to one side of the flags. (It’s important to separate your flags at this point so that you are only sewing through one layer of fabric.) We found we needed to tack first to keep all the folded edges secured in place underneath and also to hold the letter steady against the fabric as it was sewed.
Here is a picture of one of the flags with a fabric letter:
Step 4: Sew the two flag layers together face to face
When our letters had been attached, we matched each piece of fabric with its partner and then placed the two pieces together, face to face (so that the letter is in the middle and you can only see the back of the fabric on each side.) We then sewed the two triangles together leaving a hem of around 1cm before turning the flags inside out to reveal the pattern and letter.
Step 5: Iron your flags
You now need to give each flag the once over with your iron so that the shape is clear and everything is nice and wrinkle-free.
Step 6: Attach the header tape
Now, at the risk of demonstrating to the world what an idiot I am, I felt this was the moment to point out that all of your letters need to be in the correct order when your bunting is sewn together. A small brain malfunction may or may not have almost ended with the re-naming of our daughter to match my error. What do you think, is ‘Alle’ a good name? Giving her a new name seemed like a much less tiresome prospect than unpicking all the stitching, I can tell you!
However, all was not lost. Mum came to the rescue with her stitch picker and when I showed her what I had done,
once she had stopped laughing we took one end each and unpicked our way to the centre ready to sew the letters onto the header tape again, in the correct order.
We used biased binding tape for the heading but you could use fabric, lace or ribbon. To sew the flags to the header tape, we simply placed them between the folded tape and sewed. We added a loop at each end for hanging.
We used the tiny transparent Command Decorating Clips with Clear Strips to hang the bunting so that we didn’t have to damage the door with hooks. These command hooks are so amazing. I have things hanging all over our home with them and I have yet to experience one giving out on me.
Has anyone out there been using these miserable grey days as an excuse to make something pretty? I’d love to hear about it. What do you think of our pretty letter bunting? Comment below or send me your pictures at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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