Serious Blogging Special Part 1: Christmas Bunting
So it has occurred to me that I’ve not been taking this blogging business very seriously this past month or so, letting ‘life’ get in the way of putting energy into writing – and that’s not what I set out to do when I started this blog.
My computer died (and hasn’t been replaced), the school term was wrapping up, Christmas was fast approaching, we were searching for a new place to live (and found one!) and I was, in general, feeling a bit burned out. But then I thought to myself; why am I neglecting something that I find pretty easy and fun, when that will make me feel better? WordPress works just as well on my work computer, and Windows Photo Editor is the poor man’s Adobe Lightroom, so to heck with it! Let’s get down to business!
So I’ve decided that the holidays have provided me with the perfect opportunity to get back into it, and extend my blogging repertoire. Here, on December 22nd, 2014, I am putting forward for the very first time…dut da nana – a three part series! Just in time for Christmas.
Please read on, and enjoy.
Part 1 of Trying to Be a Serious Blogger Christmas Special: Christmas Bunting
Recently, when I was reading the free festive issue of a major supermarket chain’s recipe magazine (no name’s mentioned) I noticed they had an article for heart-shaped padded Christmas bunting. I was thrilled at the opportunity to stretch myself creatively (hadn’t done it for a while on a personal level) and keenly read on. Imagine my disappointment when realising that it wasn’t actually an instructional article on how to make said bunting, but rather an advertisement on purchasing it pre-made. “That’s not the Christmas spirit!” I thought to myself (I am still child-free and naive in that way, you see), and I set out on the task of making it myself, from scratch, without any instructions. How adventurous!
After a few hit and misses, some snapped cotton and a battered and bruised sewing machine, I just couldn’t get the look I was after. I resorted to the ever faithful hand stitching, and I had myself a winner. I came up with something that is ridiculously simple (if you have a basic idea of hand-stitching), is super cute and has a great, hand-made feel to it. You may not have time yourself to complete this before Christmas day, but I am keen to give it another go with different colours, shapes and patterns – it is really something that could be used for any festive occasion, or just to add some self-made decor to your house!
– Approximately 50cm square of two types of fabric – one patterned in your choice for the front of the bunting (I chose a very sophisticated old-style Christmas pattern) and a complimenting block colour for the back.
– Approximately 2 metres of thick, cord – I chose the same type that you use to tie back curtains haha just because I loved the shade of gold! Thickness and variation is completely up to you, just have to support the weight of your bunting!
– Small buttons of your choice – these will be sewn into the centre of the shape for some added texture
– A heart-shaped stencil (made on paper will do – you can use the insert shape function on word and print it out)
– Hobby-Fill stuffing or wadding – approximately 30 grams to give yourself some leeway
– Some chalk or a pen that will mark on fabric (doesn’t have to be permanent)
– Sewing scissors
– A needle and a spool of thread that matches your fabric
Of course these things can vary according to your tastes – the size of your fabric completely depends on how many individual buntings you choose to do, and you can change the shape, fabric etc depending on your theme!
These directions are VERY basic – if you’re a beginner sewer like me, I’ve tried to leave some really handy tips. If you’re a bit more advanced, please skip over the boring parts to get down to the gist of the instructions!
1. Carefully trace 10 heart-shapes on the under side of both of your fabrics (I only ended up using 8 in my bunting after my hit and misses, but it was good to have a few spare).
2. Cut out your shapes and pair together a front and back fabric piece.
3. Stitch a button into the centre of your front fabric shape. I very scientifically folded my heart into quarters to figure out the centre – as long as they’re all approximately the same it doesn’t matter if they’re a few millimetres out!
4. Pin your shapes together, outside out, being mindful that they’re lined up nicely.
5. Lay your cord across the front of your shape, so that it lies just above centre. Fold in the outer edge of your top fabric and draw two notches inside the back fabric, one on either side of the cord. This will be where you leave a gap in your stitching for the cord to go through.
6. Thread your needle and tie a knot so that the ends of the thread are tied together. This makes the thread doubled up and just adds some extra strength to the stitching.
7. Now here’s the tricky part – Starting at the bottom tip of the heart, push the needle through from the inside of the bottom fabric and do a simple running stitch around the outer edge of the shape, leaving approximately 5mms space between the fabric edge and the stitching. Be careful to space your stitches evenly apart and make them the same width. When you get to the first notch you have drawn (you will have to be careful to monitor this, and not get distracted by watching a movie like I did – several times) continue stitching, but thread the needle through only one layer of fabric for a stitch. This gives the illusion that you have continued merrily stitching nice and evenly from the front of the fabric, while you now have a gap in the stitching for the cord to fit through. Follow the heart shape around and do the same with the notches on the other side. Stop stitching when you have approximately 3 centimetres to go.
8. Leave your needle and thread be for a moment, and gently thread your cord through the gaps you have left in your stitching. You can use the 3cm gap to help from the inside, if needed.
9. Once your cord is through (don’t worry if it moves around a bit, we’ll stitch it on later) fill your shape with stuffing through the 3cm hole. How much stuffing depends on how fat you want your shapes to be! I didn’t really have a certain amount I used, I just approximated by look and feel until I was happy that each one was the same size. Make sure it isn’t so much that you’re shape is bursting at the seems!
10. Once stuffed, stitch your shape up the rest of the way. Tie your knot at the end (if you can get it inside, good for you, otherwise a single small knot on the back is fine – It’s hand-made remember, adds to the charm!)
11. Once you’ve done this to all your bunting shapes, space them out evenly on your cord, leaving approximately 20 centimetres at either end (to tie onto whatever you want to hang it off, or leave dangling artistically). If you don’t like the look of this, feel free to change according to taste.
12. Being careful not to change the spacing, stitch a couple of times between the cord and the shape, securing the shapes in place on both sides.
13. Hang where desired and enjoy a Christmas drink to celebrate (tipple of your choice!).
You are now the proud owner of Christmas heart-shaped bunting. You can hang it inside or outside, but I would NOT advise washing it as it is hand-stitched and stuffed and you don’t want your bunting to look like it should be decorating the set of A Nightmare Before Christmas.
I hope you enjoyed, and please let me know how you went if you decided to make it yourself!
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Part 2 of the Trying to be a Serious Blogger Christmas Special: Low-Carb Choc-Rum Truffles!