Efficient Bunting!

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A few months ago I had a chance to make bunting for a friend’s wedding shower, and it went so well I made some for her wedding too! There are a lot of tutorials on how to make bunting out there, but my goal was to find the quickest and easiest way, because I can always count on myself to wait until the last minute before putting stuff like this together. And besides, who doesn’t want to be known for being able to crank out some emergency bunting? Anyway, here’s my method. It took me about 1.5 hours from start to finish, not including the shopping part.

Tools:

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Fabric, triangle patterns, binding, scissors, marking pencil. Sewing machine optional but strongly recommended if you’re trying to do this quickly.

  • The fabric is 9 inches tall and 60 inches wide, and I was able to get 4 triangles from each strip of fabric. One note of caution – if the fabric has a distinct top and bottom, like with writing or cartoons or anything, you’ll need twice as much fabric.
  • The binding is extra wide double fold bias tape, which comes in 3 yard packets. I put 12 triangles on each piece of binding, but you could probably fit 14,
  • The triangle patterns are simple – 7.5 inches on the short end, 8.5 inches on both of the long sides.

To start, I folded my fabric longways, right sides together, and traced tessellated triangles so that the middle triangles shared an edge. If the fabric has a distinct top, this means that every other triangle will be upside down, so you can either be okay with that or just use right-side up triangles and a little more fabric. Pictures are really better for explaining:

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From there, I used the traced line not for sewing, but for seam allowance. The traced line will end up as the cutting line once everything is sewn together. I left the short edge open so the triangles can be flipped right side out.

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It’s fine for the thread to cross over itself at the tips of the triangle, my assumption is that bunting will not get a lot of heavy use that might cause it to unravel. If you’re really worried about it, just keep the end of the seams inside the triangle.

Once everything but the short edges were sewn, I used the pattern lines as cutting lines, and it only took 5 cuts to get 4 triangles.

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Repeat as necessary – I had 6 different fabrics. At the end I trimmed everything down, including snipping the tip of the triangle flat, and flipped everything right side out. It helped to have a tool to push out the tip of the triangle – I used a closed seam ripper, which was just about the right size.

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After everything was right side out, I realized that I would need to trim the open edge because there were little ears sticking out from the seam allowance. You can see them in the bottom row of triangles in the picture below. Cutting those off makes the next steps so much easier, so it’s worth it to do all at once before moving on. If you’re not in a hurry, it’s also nice to iron everything flat before pinning it all together.

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When my triangles were all triangular, I lined them up in order and marked the middle of my binding with a safety pin. From there, I pinned everything in place from the middle out, making sure the triangles were all the way up inside the binding and right next to each other.  There’s definitely room to move things around a little once it’s in the sewing machine, but getting the basic spacing makes the sewing part easier.

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Sew it up, and that’s pretty much it! For sewing, I had a tail on each end of the binding but I went ahead and started sewing right at the end in order to make it look a little more finished – having the binding loose after the last triangle looked a little weird.

I had a lot of fun making this, and once I got into the process it was pretty relaxing because there isn’t anything tricky, just a lot of repetition. It is also a pretty inexpensive project – you get to use a bunch of different fabrics, but when you only need to buy 1/4 yard of each the cost doesn’t get too high. Any fabric would probably work, but I stuck with the normal quilting cotton because it holds its shape well and comes in a lot of colors.

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