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Festive Bunting and Garland

Colorful triangular flags strung in a row have historically been used as signal flags or national colors on ships and are known as bunting. Although the origin of the word ‘bunting’ is lost to history, the vibrant pieces of fabric gaily threaded on cording or ribbon are often used today to mark any festive occasion. The small pointed pennant shapes easily move in the slightest breeze when used outside. When used inside they are a cheerful decoration announcing a happy occasion. All that is needed are scraps of fabric in a variety of colors, packaged double fold bias tape or wide grosgrain ribbon (sturdier than satin ribbon).

Make a pennant template the size of the triangles you’d like adding ¼ “ or ½” seam allowance. Cut two each of as many triangles as will be needed to nearly cover the length of the space the bunting will hang. The pennants usually have a small space between each when placed on the bias tape or grosgrain ribbon. Sew, right-sides together, the two long sides of each pennant using a ¼ or ½ inch seam allowance as preferred. Trim the seam, turn, press and position on the length of bias tape or ribbon. Fold the tape or ribbon down over the raw edge of all the triangles, pin each in place and sew. Leave long lengths of tape or ribbon at each end for ties.

A charming practice from a not so distant past was to make strings of fresh cranberries and popcorn to use as garland to drape on the Christmas tree. A continuation of this custom continues today with all manner of items to attach to cording or ribbon to use as decorative garland. Easy to sew shapes such as a whimsical star, Christmas tree, stocking, and mittens all are charming elements to string for a unique creative garland. Simple cookie cutter shapes of gingerbread men, teddy bears and snowmen are also easy to make several of, then attach to lengths of jute or braided yarn.

Garland in short lengths is versatile as a decoration and can be strung across a mantel, mirror, headboard or window, to add an imaginative decorative accent. Intersperse the sewn shapes with pine cones or candy canes tied on for holiday cheer.

Using fabric remnants cut out two of each chosen shape. The cutouts can be either hand sewn, wrong sides together using a blanket stitch or running stitch or machine sewn close to the edges. Leave a small space to lightly stuff with polyester stuffing, add a ribbon loop for hanging, then stitch closed. Attach to coding or ribbon as desired leaving a length at each end for ties.

Some ideas for festive garland:

A string of pink, blue, white and yellow simple teddy bear shapes are delightful for baby’s room.

A rectangle, square, kite or hexagon shape cut out of textured linen fabric with letters fused or appliqued to each shape to spell out festive wishes such as Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Feliz Navidad, Happy Hanukkah, or Peace, Noel, Joy, then attached to cording of gold or red braid would happily announce the warmth of the season.

Easy star, tree, and bell shapes are charming to sew and use for garland for an easy holiday decoration as are embellished gingerbread and snowmen figures.

An appropriate garland for an upcoming wedding would be charming made with softly shaped white tulle flowers interspersed with satin butterfly or star shapes.

Pennant Templates
Variety of Simple Shapes

Sew happy, sew inspired.

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Content copyright © 2015 by Cheryl Ellex. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Cheryl Ellex. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Cheryl Ellex for details.


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