{birthday} bunting tutorial

Friday, February 11, 2011

It's been another busy week for me ... more birthday celebrations, teaching a mixed media canvas class and test printing wedding invitations ... I'm looking forward to just hanging out with friends tonight!

I thought that I'd share with you a fun little project my daughter and her friend, Alexis made with me recently. This is a fabric bunting that can be used as a decoration for birthday parties, showers or any holiday celebration ... like maybe Valentine's day! This is a great "beginner" sewing project so you may want to try it with older kids as I did. My daughter Robyn made hers so that we could hang it up for her sister's 17th birthday this week ... Alexis made hers to use at her 13th birthday party last weekend.

Here's what you will need: assorted fabrics, wide ribbon, scissors (regular and pinking), a fast fade fabric marker, cardboard (to make a pattern), ruler, straight pins, thread and sewing machine.

I bought 5 different Amy Butler fabrics for our bunting ... I  love Amy's colours and prints! You don't need a lot of fabric for this project so I bought "fat quarters" of each print from a quilting store ... a fat quarter is one yard cut into 4 large squares - you could also just purchase 1/4 of a yard of each fabric. The Amy Butler fabrics are a little expensive (about $18 yard) so to keep costs down I used  an expensive solid fabric (about $6 yard) for the back of each triangle since our bunting would be hung so that the backs are not really visible. I was able to make 2 six foot long buntings and I still have fabric left over for other projects.

I wanted all of the triangles to be the same size so I made a template out of cardboard. Here's how I made my triangle template: (a) Draw a line 7" across ... this will be the top of the triangle. (b) On that 7" line find your half way mark (3 1/2"). (c) From your centre point, draw another line that is 11" long ... you now have a "T". (d) Now draw your triangle and cut it out. 

I traced around our template directly onto the fabric using a quick fading fabric marker - the ink disappears in about 24 hours ... it's like magic! None of our prints had a pattern that was one direction so I was able to flip the triangle template so we had almost no fabric waste as you can see in my photo!

We wanted 10 triangles in our buntings - two of each of the five different Amy Butler fabrics. We also had to cut 10 solid backings so we had to cut out 20 triangles in total.
This photo shows the next three steps ...
1. We pinned the wrong sides (one patterned front, one solid back) together for all 10 of our triangles.
2. Next we used our sewing machine to straight stitch the two longest sides of each triangle ... we could have sewn the top too but it wasn't necessary so we didn't bother.
3. After all of the triangles were sewn together, we used the pinking scissors to trim the edges of the two longest sides to give a decorative "zig-zag" edge (if you don't have fabric pinking scissors or prefer a straight edge, just trim with regular scissors!)

Next we need to sew our triangles onto a long, wide piece of ribbon - our ribbon was 6' long. I found a ribbon in the colour that we liked but it was a little thin and somewhat see through so I sewed a piece of lace onto the ribbon along one edge as you can see in the photo. 
The next step is to pin the triangles to the back of the ribbon. The triangles were placed so that they were touching each other and lined up about 1/2 way along the ribbon. I started to pin the triangles working from the middle of the ribbon and working out to the end of the ribbon so that I had some extra ribbon at each end for hanging.
The next step is to sew all of the triangles onto the ribbon ... we did two lines of straight stitching ... one at the top of the triangles (about 1/2 way through the ribbon) and again at the bottom edge of the ribbon so that the triangles would lay flat when hanging.

To finish the ends of the ribbon, simply turn the ends over to form a loop to hang and sew the ends in place using your sewing machine and you are done.
The girls added large buttons at each end of their bunting to hide the stitching from their loops ... a nice decorative touch with the lace. We hung Robyn's bunting on our fireplace mantle so I used some twine on the loops and hung the bunting from heavy candle sticks. I think that we are going to hang this in Robyn's bedroom over her bed later on ... she did a great job and just loves it.
Robyn made Haley a pillow from some of the fabric scraps ... we used the cuttlebug to cut flowers and I created the "love like crazy" graphics as an iron on. The back of the pillow is one of our favourite Amy Butler fabrics. It was Robyn's first pillow and she is dying to make another one for herself .... maybe this weekend!
And I made Haley this little mixed media canvas piece after teaching my class on Tuesday ... the denim pocket was from one of her baby outfits ... Haley knew it as soon as she opened her present. The words on the side of the photo say "always believe in fairytales".

I hope that you try to make one of these ... maybe add words to spell out something or keep it simple like I did and reuse it after your celebration for an everyday decoration! 

I'll be linking up at in-the-studio-sneak-peek-friday today!


  1. Hi Lorrie..Love this project! I haven't gotten out my sewing machine in years. You sure inspire me. Have a wonderful weekend sweet lady!

  2. Your bunting turned out adorable. And so did that pillow and bag!

  3. Your girls sound very sweet :) She made her sister a pillow! Very sweet. Thank you for the bunting tutorial--I've never made one but am always admiring them on blogs. Yours turned out so cute!

  4. What a lovely project and even more lovely that you all made it together. Special project, special memories. Have a wonderful Valentine's weekend!

  5. Beautiful banner and thank you for the tutorial too!

  6. awesome project time with the girls ... love the instructions ... could be sold as a precut kit!

  7. What a great project! I love the lace along the edge of the ribbon... so pretty. Such creative girls! The pillow is so cute. I love the mixed media piece. A pocket from her baby outfit... aww! :)

  8. How wonderful to have your girls work on these creative projects. I love all of them. The fabrics look really fun.

  9. what a cute project! thanks for posting that.
    and i LOVE that pillow! so sweet--

  10. Coming in from Studio JRU - I do like tutorials, and these would warm the hearts of any young teen! Thanks for sharing...

  11. Thanks for linking up! Everything looks great!

  12. my mom is an artist too, i really like your art work. my mom does too. will you check out her blog, you might like it... her blog is expresscreateimagery.blogspot.com . by the way my name is Caitie Holt, your art is very inspiring... my mom's name is Barbara Holt. i hope to see more art like yours