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When I hear the word “bunting” my first immediate thought is the bird. Then when I get it into my head that we’re talking about the little cloth flag streamers, I get a negative “effin’ hipsters” assumption into my head. (Sometimes I feel as though I’m constantly fighting the hipster stereotype. Well, by my definition I don’t fit it.) And anyways, I saw “bunting” used as decoration around a booth at an art show recently, and I liked how it looked, and I decided to make some for my good friend Journey’s wedding shower that happened on Memorial Day weekend.

It turned out to be more difficult than I’d first assumed, so I’m presenting my step-by-step process, for anyone else interested in making close to 50 feet worth of hipstery-looking bunting.

Supplies. Instead of going out to buy some new fabric in the colours and patterns I wanted, I grabbed a small armload of clothing from GoodWill. I found the kids’ clothing section to be the best, since they seem to have much brighter colours, and their clothes are about half as expensive:

Ribbon I got from the dollar store. Which might have been a mistake, since it was realy cheap and didn’t react super well to being stitched. Oh well, it did it’s job and seems ok, as long as you don’t look super closely at it. I got 4 spools at 12 feet each. I wanted to make a ton of this stuff. Also, you should probably have a cat or two to help you out (this is Wynnie, my parents’ cat staying with us for the summer):

To make my pattern I used a bit of heavy scrap paper, folded it in half, and cut it at an angle. That way when I unfolded it, it was a perfect isosceles triangle. Mine was about 6 inches long. Then you can use that to trace (on the back side of your fabric) the flag shapes:

I like having my flags be part of the clothing, using seams, buttons, and even pockets as parts of the flags instead of avoiding those things. (P.S. Sorry for the buzz marketing in my pattern… Magazine inserts are a perfect paper weight for using as patterns.)

I ended up using 5 different fabric types, some with patterns, some without, but all in the wedding shower colour scheme. And I cut 20 of each colour, so I ended up with 100 flags. (I’d loosely measured the top length of my flag pattern against one spool of ribbon, then multiplied that number by the 4 spools to get a rough estimate of how many flags I’d need to cut, so I could have an even number of each colour. I ended up with less than 10 extras, and it’s always better to have more than less.)

Finally, before heading to the sewing machine, I shuffled up all the colours into random assortment, so I wouldn’t have to think about doing that as I was sewing:

Once at the sewing machine, I started by stitching all 4 spools of ribbon together into one continuous ribbon…

Then the actual sewing on of the flags got going:

As I stitched, I also wrapped the finished bunting around a piece of cardboard, so that it didn’t become a tangled mess on the floor next to the sewing machine.

And finally, of course, I had to test out the bunting myself, to make sure it looked ok:

Once at Journey’s apartment, I strung it up along her clotheslines, and used the extra bits to decorate the railings around her porch: