Today I want to show you how easy (and fun) it is to make your own pennant flags – aka bunting. You can use these fun, preprinted triangle pennant flags from the Notting Hill collection or any fabric of your own to make some cheerful strings of bunting for festive celebrations – or for some everyday fun. I’ll share multiple methods for assembly – all of them SO EASY.
The official Wikipedia definition of Bunting is: “any festive decorations made of fabric, or of plastic, paper or even cardboard in imitation of fabric. Typical forms of bunting are strings of colorful triangular flags and lengths of fabric in the colors of national flags gathered and draped into swags or pleated into fan shapes.”
I have a bunch of different strings of bunting – they’re quick and easy decor for a bedroom or nursery (or sewing room) or party! And I love that they’re ready to go and reusable year after year.
And there are SO many ways to put these together – endless options. I will give you a few different ideas and tutorials in this post- but you can make them exactly the way that suits you best.
You are the boss of your own bunting.
For this demo I’ll be using the printed pennant panel from my Notting Hill collection, but of course, you can use any fabric (or medium!) you like! The panel for these prints is inspired by my time living in England. (Hence the Union Jack flags that are included.)
In 2014 we were visiting England when a couple of the legs of the Tour de France (I know, I can’t explain why) were run through the Yorkshire country side. The roads of Yorkshire were lined with bunting the whole length of the route. It was so festive! I loved it.
As you can see, the flags on the printed panel come in two different sizes on each panel. The 18 large triangle flags are 7″ wide x 9″ long (at their widest/longest points).The 14 mini triangles (per panel) are 3″ wide and 4″ long.
The panels are available in a blue/green color way and a pink/yellow color way – and of course they play nicely together for mixing and matching.
You can find bunting panels available from Simply Love Fabric, SoJo Fabric, Stitches n’ Giggles, Lou Lou’s Fabric Company, Thimbleanna Fabrics, The Fat Quarter Shop, Fort Worth Fabric Studio, Happy Little Stitch Shop, + a variety of shops on Etsy
You can read more about the inspiration behind my Notting Hill fabric collection here.
Of course, you can use any fabric you like and cut your triangles to any size you like! The assembly method is the same. I’ve had fun making pennant bunting for seasonal decorating, like this Halloween bunting. (This link also includes printable triangle template or options for using a die-cutting system)
In addition to making bunting I’ll be sharing the simple steps for making this raw-edge applique pillow using the mini pennants.
Quick and Easy Raw-Edge Bunting Tutorial
This method for bunting is SO fast and easy. All you need is fabric for pennants and a package of Extra Wide Double Fold Bias Tape. They typically come in 3 yard packages, which is a perfect length for healthy string of bunting, but you can easily cut them down to any size you like. They come in a variety of colors and are super cheap. (Available from Amazon, Etsy, JoAnn Fabrics, etc.)
You can also make your own bias tape if you like.
Cut pennant triangles from you printed panel – I cut right on the edge of the printed triangle. (Or cut fabric triangles using a template or ruler.)
For this method, I like to use two triangles per pennant to give them a little more weight. So cut twice as many pennant triangles as you need for the length of you bunting. (You can obviously cut additional triangles out of other fabric for backing or to add to the length of your bunting.)
Once all of your triangles are cut, match them up into pairs, wrong sides together. Bring them to the sewing machine and sew them together along the diagonal sides about ¼ – ⅛th of an inch away from the edge of the triangles. You don’t need to sew the top edge together. This will be tucked inside the Bias Tape later.
I use pins on the second side to hold the triangles together so that they don’t slide around too much while sewing the first seam. You can sew down one side, stop ¼″ away from the bottom, drop the needle, pivot, and sew up the other side. So quick and easy.
Honestly, I don’t stress about this part at all. This is quick and easy, no fuss – you can piece your whole pile of triangles one after another to make it super fast.
And if your edges don’t match up perfectly once they’re sewn together, just trim off the excess.
After all of the pennant triangles are pieced together, give them a good press with some spray starch to help them stay sharp. Then layout the pennants in the order you’d like them to hang. Stack up the triangles in that order and bring the pile to your machine. Open up the package of Bias tape – you may want to give it a quick press if there are a lot of fold creases.
Starting about 4″ away from the end of the tape (or any distance you like), open up the fold and insert your first pennant, closing the top layer of the bias tape. Bring to the machine and topstitch over the bias tape and pennant flag. Right before I finish topstitching over one flag, open up the tape and insert the next flag.
You can space your pennants as close or far apart as you like.
Remember: you are the boss of your own bunting.
The precut bias tape seriously makes it SOOOOooooo quick and easy. I try to topstitch right near the bottom fold, securing all layers together with the flag in between. It gives the bunting a nice finished feel.
Now, if you don’t love the idea of the raw edges on the sides of the pennants, you can totally sew the two pieces right sides together and turn the flags right-sides-out for a more finished edge.
Amy Chappell of Ameroonie Designs has a great short-cut for finished edge pennants in her tutorial here.
Mini Bunting Tutorial
Amy also has another really simple method for making the mini bunting one sided. She made this little mini bunting for me and in this case I love how lightweight it is – perfect for smaller decor situations.
Raw Edge Applique Decorative Bunting Pillow Tutorial
Finally, here are the quick steps for making a raw-edge applique decorative Bunting Pillow. Once again this is so easy – and you can make this pillow any size you like! I had a 20″ x 20″ pillow form available so I made my pillow that size. I think this would be equally cute as a long rectangular or ‘bench’ pillow. (Kind of like the Valentine Pennant pillow here.)
Cut your background fabric piece to the finished size of the pillow form + ½″. So I cut my background 20 ½″ x 20 ½″. Cut out the individual pennant pieces and lay them out on the background pieces and next to each other in a drapey look like strings of bunting.
Using a washable glue (like a glue stick) put enough glue on the back of the pennant flag to lightly stick each pennant in place. (Or you can pin them in place. I just like the ease of the glue and not having to sew around a bunch of pins.)
Top stitch around the outside edges of each pennant, sewing them into place.
If you’d like, you can stitch with a layer of batting behind the background fabric to quilt-as-you-go finishing effect.
I then changed thread color and sewed a few lines of “string” along the top of the pennant triangles. I also did some ‘echo quilting’ around the pennants to give the pillow front even more texture.
I then used this method by A Bright Corner to make a pillow back (works for any size pillow) and added a binding to finish the outside edge.
Again: a SUPER quick project that came together fast. And I love the finished result.
So there you go! At least 4 different ways to make quilt and easy bunting! Make different color combinations for any party or holiday.
Or maybe you want some Union Jack versions so you can host your own Great British Bake Off this summer! 🙂
Speaking of British: Happy St. George’s Day to all of my English friends.
And big thanks you to Amy Chappell of Ameroonie Designs for sharing her talents and skills to demonstrate other bunting-making-methods.