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Thursday, November 3, 2011

DIY Week: Fall Bunting

I was itching to make something festive that would last the entire fall season.  I've seen so many fun buntings around the interwebs recently.  The one that got my attention first, of course, was from Young House Love's bunting for Clara's first birthday.  (Hilarious post title, by the way, and one of my favorite "okay, we're human, too" posts from YHL.)

My only stipulation for this craft was that I couldn't spend a dime on it.  I knew I wanted it to be fall-colored, so I set out in search of fall colored fabrics already in the house.  I ended up with a t-shirt of mine (purple), two old t-shirts of Mr. Great Indoor's (tan and orange), and a few pieces of fabric my mom gave me a while ago (red and yellow).  And the strip at the top was canvas used for the camp bags I'm posting about tomorrow.  Forgive the flash, but it was the only way to capture the true-to-life colors of the fabrics.

Although I'd seen lots of bunting shape variations (square, half-circle, and varied), I decided on triangles. I wanted all the triangles to be basically the same size, so using an old pizza box, I hand-traced the right size triangle, plus a 1/2" seam allowance for a hem.  The first triangle on the left was just by hand when I figured out about what size I wanted the triangles, then I traced that shape as my guide (correcting some little mistakes) and drew the seam allowance on the outside.

Pretty funny that my triangle shape was cut out of a pizza box.  :-)

To cut each triangle, I whipped out my iron and ironed the shape into each piece of fabric.  I just folded the fabric over my guide and ironed (being careful not to burn the thin cardboard or my fabric).  I ironed a few shapes at a time and cut them all out at once.

This was probably the longest part of this whole process.  Iron, iron, iron, iron, cut, cut, cut.  New fabric, iron, iron, iron, cut, cut, cut...  you get the drift.  But at the end, I had a ton of different colorful triangles!  The canvas in the back is representing the top strand of the bunting.  I have no idea how many triangles I ended up with for each color-- and that's totally up to you if you decide to make your own.

My next step was to plot out the bunting coloring.  I wanted it to look kind of varied (so not just repeating the five colors over and over in the same order).  So I laid out my canvas piece, made stacks of each color, and set to work planning each strand of bunting.  I decided to make four strands, based on the width of the canvas.

At this point, I had gotten pretty tired of cutting and planning, so I decided to use the triangles as they were instead of hemming them all.  I tend to be pretty impatient (Mr. GI would probably call that an understatement), so when I saw my bunting spread out on the canvas, I had enough of the planning.  It was time to really make this thing.

I cut out four thin strips of canvas, probably three or four inches wide and as long as the triangles are stretched out in the picture above.  Then I hemmed each side of those strips (so they'd look nice from both sides), just folding over the edges as I went instead of ironing out the hem.  Did I tell you I'm an impatient crafter?

From there, all it took was folding the newly-hemmed strips in half and sticking the top edge of my bunting triangles in the middle.  I pinned one triangle at a time and sewed where the base of the strip met my triangle.  Hope that makes sense.

Then to sew in the next triangle, it was as easy as stopping on triangle #1 (tan) about an inch from the end, slipping in triangle #2 (purple) so that the ends of the triangles met underneath the strip, and pinning triangle #2 in.  You could theoretically pin all of the triangles first, but I'm super cheap and only have three pins (they came with a little sewing kit my mom got me when I started college).  It can definitely be slow-going at times.

It took a while to sew all four strips, but in the end it was so worth a little time!  I instantly put up my first strip onto our living room shelves to see how it looked.  Nice, huh?

Then the other strips ended up on our pergola outside for the party this past weekend.  I meant to take a picture at night, too, with the twinkle lights lit up.  Oops.  I did really end up liking the unhemmed edges of my triangles.  It would have been a little tough to hem some of the t-shirt fabric, since it was thin and rolled up easily.  And since I wanted the bunting to look nice on both sides (so I could hang it like this outside), it turned out to be the best way to do it.  By the way, if you're not comfortable with a sewing machine, I bet it would also be pretty easy to do this project with iron-on hem, especially since the only real sewing was the top strips.

Just for kicks, here's another one of me and the hubby under the bunting.  Fall festive zombirific.

I still can't believe I didn't spend any money on this project.  What have you been up to lately that didn't require a cent of investment?  Doesn't it make you feel accomplished to do something so thriftily?

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