Uncharacteristically of me and ironically, it took me ages to ‘just get started’ with this project. I do have the ability to procrastinate believe me, to write endless lists, tidy up, sort things out before I start, but I really thought I would find it easy to decide what to make for Jenny. Although I had so many (too many) possible projects in my head or written down in my ideas book, and so many (too many) craft books for inspiration, I had a case of ‘crafters block’. Is there such a thing? It sounds silly but the gravity of this being my first ‘Two Crafty Brownies’ tutorial post was weighing heavily on me. After all the time talking about it and preparing for this moment this would be the official beginning and we would finally be communicating with you, our readers! We would be bloggers with a business that was out there, for comment, feedback, criticism and so on. I do so like to please and get it right. Anyhow, after giving myself a stern talking to, reminding myself that we just need to keep it real, to be true to our intentions, I took the advice from our friends and I Just Started!
My first tutorial is Upcycled, (Personalised & Appliquéd), Denim Bunting. Long-winded I know, but I’m trying to earn brownie points! Upcycling is so rewarding! I feel like I’ve cheated the system somehow. It is good for the planet and it is such a thrifty way of creating gifts for family and friends too. I looked through the piles of pre-loved shirts, woollen jumpers, ties, jeans etc, made a note to myself to stop visiting charity shops for a little while, and decided to make a dent in the pre-loved jeans pile. Personalising by appliquéing a message, in this case ‘Just Start’, onto bunting is such a lovely touch. I decided to use a pre-loved shirt and some scraps of fabric to create the letters. Of course you could add any message you like.
What you need is:
2 pairs pre-loved jeans (makes up to 16 bunting flags)
1 pre-loved shirt and scraps of material for the appliquéd lettering/design
Paper, pencil and a ruler to make template letters with the message ‘Just Start’ and a template heart – of course, your message/letters/design can be anything you want it to be.
Iron-on fusible webbing bought on the roll – my advice is to buy a metre as it is such a useful sewing essential
3m of 2cm wide bias binding
Buttons to decorate
Plus some sewing basics – click here for Two Crafty Brownies Sewing Essentials
What you do is:
Decide how large you want your bunting flags to be. This will effect how large your letters will be. Then draw a triangle. My triangle is 21cm wide by 22cm long. I used the half way point of 10.5cm (half of 21cm) to work out where the tip should go and drew a line from this point measuring 22cm. This ensures that the two long sides of the triangle are equal.
Based on the size of your bunting flag, decide how large your letters or design should be. You will sew a 0.5cm seam along the 2 long sides of your flags when attaching one flag to another to make double-sided bunting, so bear this in mind when drawing your letters or design. I drew 8cm by 8.5cm rectangles and drew my letters within them. I only needed 6 letters for the message 'Just Start' as the 's' and the 't' are repeated.
For my heart I cut out a rectangle with the same dimensions, folded it in half lengthways, drew and cut out half a heart so that it became a whole heart when opened.
Cut out your templates and set aside.
If you are using a shirt, cut off the sleeves, close to the seam joining it to the main body of the shirt and also cut along the bottom seam of the sleeve to open it out. Cut off the cuffs being careful to retain them and the body of the shirt for future upcycling projects (watch this space!).
Cut out a section of the iron-on fusible webbing by loosely placing the letters/design onto it and measuring roughly how much you need.
Place the webbing rough side down (this is the gluey side) onto the wrong side of your fabric. Using a hot, dry iron and following the manufacturers guidelines, press the webbing onto the fabric. I placed my webbing onto the shirt sleeve so that the stripes of the letters would be vertical.
Now place your letter/design templates back to front onto to the webbing and trace round with a pencil, so that once cut and placed fabric side up onto your bunting, the letters/design are the right way round.
(Oops! Have you noticed? My letter J isn’t back to front in this pic – just testing you are paying attention of course!!).
Cut out and set aside
Cut both legs off the jeans as close to the back pocket as possible. Turn legs inside out and iron if necessary to flatten. Place on the cutting mat.
Place the bunting template on to the jeans and draw round it using a biro or fabric pen. I placed the template sideways and managed to get 3 triangles this way and one facing the right way round, so 4 in total for each leg.
Using your long ruler and rotary cutter, or fabric scissors cut out the bunting triangles, making sure to cut through both layers of the jeans. You will be sewing these triangles together to make double-sided bunting.
Peel off the webbing from the back of your lettering/design. This will leave the gluey side of the webbing on the back of your lettering.
Place each letter fabric side up (glue side down) onto the right side of a jean triangle, ensuring that it is placed so that there will be enough room for a 0.5cm seam all the way round when you sew the triangles together. I placed my letters and hearts 4cm from the top of each bunting triangle. Secure with a hot, dry iron.
Webbing secures fabric very well and you could leave the lettering and hearts the way they are. However, I feel that sewing around the letters is attractive and gives the added security that they will not come off. If you are appliquéing onto fabric that will be washed, such as a t-shirt, I would always recommend sewing around your design.
Using the zigzag stitch on your sewing machine, sew around your lettering and hearts. I have used a stitch width of 2.0 and length of 0.8 to make the stitches small and closely spaced.
Once all the lettering and hearts are sewn onto the bunting, place one jean triangle on top of its matching triangle with rights sides facing. I don’t tend to pin here before I sew but of course please do so if you wish.
Sew a 0.5cm seam around the 2 edges of the ‘v’ (not the top) of each triangle.
Snip the tip of each corner of the triangle before turning the right way round, being careful not to snip through the stitching. Snip any lose threads.
Using a blunt pencil, push the tip of each flag out to make sure it is pointy. Iron to flatten out.
Iron the 2cm bias binding in half lengthways. This makes it easier to stitch onto the bunting. Sew the bias binding to the bunting, leaving 20-30cm at each end (for hanging up the bunting once made) and placing each flag 2cm apart (you can pin first if you like), ensuring that the letters are in the right order. I placed a heart flag in between the words and at each end. Sew right from the beginning and right to end of the binding.
Now attach any embellishments you wish to the bunting. I sewed on a few buttons.
And there you have it: Pretty, upcycled, personalised, appliquéd denim bunting!
Try making personalised bunting with a name on as a birthday/Christmas/new baby pressie.
Some jeans, e.g. jeggings, have quite a bit of lycra in them so they stretch when stitched, so I avoided these and used jeans with only a little stretch.
When choosing/buying your preloved jeans, make sure that the leg is wide enough to fit the template.
Once printed and cut out, draw round the templates onto cardboard. Cut these out to make stronger and longer lasting templates.
For a different and perhaps more striking effect, try using a contrasting colour of thread when appliquéing the lettering or design onto the bunting flags.
Come back and visit us next Friday when Jenny will be revealing what she has made for me and showing you how to make it too!
See you soon!