Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pennant Bunting

I asked my dear friend, Rachel, if she would be willing to design my blog (yes, this blog) for me. I want a new look, something that's my own. :) Anyway, she asked me if we could do a swap in lieu of payment. And I was totally on board with that!!

So she asked me to make pennant bunting for her son's first birthday party. And it turned out great!! I love it and am proud to say that I made it! Sometimes I'm hesitant to admit, "Yes, that's mine...I made that..." But I can say proudly that this is my creation and I made it up all by myself.

I visited some Etsy shops to find the "look" that I wanted and most of them were a little more "professional" looking and not as homey. Don't get me wrong, they're all great but I knew what I wanted. So I made some stuff up. Some of it worked and some of it didn't.

First of all, I love sewing. I don't mind cutting, it's the pinning and ironing that I despise. But it is so helpful with this project. I wish I took the time to make a tutorial (it would be my first) but I didn't. Because, heaven-forbid, I take the extra 30 seconds to take a picture of what I'm doing. :) Maybe my next go-round when I'm not nervous because I've never done this before and I have no idea what I'm doing and was self-taught how to sew so I'm kinda anxious because this isn't just something I'm making for fun for myself but is sort of payment for the work that I want done on my blog so I can't screw this up. That's how my brain works.

Anyway, I started with triangles 8.5x5.5 and a package of fat-quarters that Rachel sent me in the mail (from Etsy). That way she got to pick out the fabric and we didn't need to make a special trip to the fabric store together with all the kiddies. I got 12-14 triangles per fat-quarter which made 6-7 pennants.

I admit that I didn't use my rotary to cut but I made very straight lines with my pencil and therefore cut and watched a movie with my husband. I have a very steady cutting hand. :) And, I admit that I didn't pin when I sewed them together. But they turned out great and I only had a little trimming to do.

Then I had to use my math skills. And they are lacking. Math is not my strong-suit. It just takes me longer to figure that kind of stuff out. I did well in math all through school but usually after class I would have to go home and read the book to figure it out. Practicing lots of problems so I could get a good grade on my test. Well, those skills came in handy yesterday when I was trying to figure this all out...that, and a calculator.

notice my trusty iron in the background
17 triangles x 5.5 inches each = 93.5 inches of triangles
15 feet x 12 inches = 180 inches
180 total inches - (5.5 inches on each end x 2) = 169 inches total
169 inches - 93.5 inches = 75.5 inches of space
17 triangles = 16 spaces
75.5 / 16 = 4.718 (rounded it to 4.75 - the extra length didn't matter in the end)

See, I told you that was a lot of math. And that's for each strand. Then I thought I needed to graph it out because I'm a visual and a hands-on learner. Even though the graph didn't really matter in the end.

Then came the fiasco. I had the pennants sewn for days and I was dreading the "rope" that held them together. I needed 15-foot strands. And I was not looking forward to sewing a bunch of strips of fabric together so I plotted how I would do this.

my sad little ball of trashed ribbon
Ribbon. That was my answer. Only after I had sewn a whole 15-foot strand did I realize my mistake. I had vintage-looking fabric with shiny satin ribbon - stupid! I didn't have a Plan B. :( I went to my sewing supplies and found an off-white sheet that I had gotten on clearance  and thought I might have some sewing-use for it (buying cheap sheets for sewing projects is a great idea, by the way). I grabbed it, ironed it, folded it, and cut it into 2-inch strips, lots of strips.

I sewed all the strips together, and that wasn't easy either. I kept getting the seams flipped. That was a source of frustration. Then came the ironing. I knew I would have to pin the pennants on, but I dreaded all the ironing. In fact, I started pinning without ironing, just using my fingernails, well that resulted in failure and more work at the sewing machine so that was all ripped out too. Trial and error baby. :)

I finally realized that I needed to iron everything! So I did. I took the 2-inch strips, folded it in half and ironed. Then I went back and folded the edges to the center so I could get a clean line and then ironed that. :) It was very time consuming.

But then it went so fast. Who knew that pinning onto straight, ironed fabric would be so easy?! I measured my ends, pinned a pennant, measured my space, pinned a pennant and continued through all 15-foot strands. Then the machining, which was slick (that's my favorite part too) and I was done!! It it looks really nice.

So, if you try this project, hopefully you'll learn from my mistakes by ironing the first time, not using ribbon (which I just found out there's this thing called bias tape - I'm going to have to research that cause it sounds nice) unless it fits your theme, and have fun.

Thanks for letting me ramble about this project. The next time I make pennant bunting I'll make sure to make a tutorial to go along with it. :)

I'll link to her blog when she posts pictures of the pennants hanging in all their glory.


Maggie said...

it looks great, jessica! i can't wait to see it in person on saturday:)

call me Laura said...

So awesome. Funny that I made one last week while Rob was traveling. I always feel the itch to update something while he is away. I used blanket/quilt binding for my "rope" you can buy it for around $2, found in the notions secion. and it comes in so many colors and it is already folded over, yeah! I love that you recyled a sheet. What a great gift you made, I think your creativity is awesome. Can't wait to see how the blog comes out

Rachel said...

All I can say is I LOOOOOOVVVVEEE IT! I'm so serious that it's like one of my favorite things in the whole world. I already decided if my house was burning down, Jared would grab the computer and the cat I would grab Judah and the bunting!!

Thank you for all of the time and effort you put into it. It will always mean so much to me. I LOVE that you used the sheet for the rope, it is perfection!!!



Angie said...

GREAT work! They look fantastic, Jessica! A thought about the rope: when I made a bunting for my friend Joanne, I used bias tape and it was so easy. I used the double-fold extra-wide kind, but you could use the single fold too. Or, if you want to make your own (in perhaps a different way than you did...) they have little machines you can buy to make your own bias tape. I saw one at Walmart over the weekend!

Fun project! I can't wait to see pictures of it hung in "all their glory." :)