Marlon’s second birthday has come and gone, and his birthday party was a huge success. We tried to keep it simple, but of course invited all our wonderful family and friends and just barely packed them all into our tiny mid-century ranch. I wanted a castle theme for the party, to go along with the felt crowns I made for all the kids attending, and the cute blue velvet cape I made Marlon (that he refused to wear of course). I just got him to put it on long enough to snap this one shot:
However, as most parents of busy toddlers can attest, the days before the party flew by, leaving me with the task of paring down my long to-make list of decorations for the party into a manageable length. I settled for just the crowns to decorate for the kids (I also thought making ribbon wands would be fun, but never got around to scrounging up the materials), a ton of balloons hung from the ceiling (so they wouldn’t get underfoot and trip everyone), a batch of delicious gluten- and egg-free chocolate chip cookies from Gluten Free Girl Everyday, and this fun and quick party bunting I whipped up in an afternoon.
You will need:
Approximately 1/2 yard of fabric total, in various patterns/colors
Two packages of double-fold bias tape
Scraps of felt for the letters (optional)
Sewing machine and contrasting thread (this can also be done with just glue!)
Making this was super easy, thanks to my wonderful new rotary cutter that got half price at JoAnne’s recently. I made a birthday bunting for Marlon for his first birthday party, but ended up liking it so much that it’s on permanent display in his playroom. The first time around I cut all the triangles out with scissors, which is totally doable, but that’s the project that made me yearn for a rotary cutter. They make cutting out shapes so easy, especially straight lines like this.
You can make a bunting with either squares or triangles of fabric, with whatever you have laying around, or grab a few fat quarters from the fabric store when they’re on sale like I did. I think I only used two fat quarters of fabric, if I’m not mistaken, so only 1/2 yard of fabric should make one in the size I made. It’s good to use scraps of a few different fabrics if you have it, but I only used two fabrics this time because they both had little balloons on the fabric and I thought it fitting. I folded the fabric in half and cut a rectangle out that was about 8 inches tall, then marked off points every 5 inches across the top. Then I marked off points at the bottom, but started 2 1/2 inches in from one side so that the marks would hit halfway between the top marks. Sorry I didn’t think to take a picture at this stage, I cut the pieces out late the night before and wasn’t fully awake at this point! Then I took a ruler and lined up the diagonal line from the first point on the top to the first point on the bottom, which was at the edge of the top and 2 1/2 inches in from the bottom edge. I drew a line, then connected the next diagonal line and kept going until I had a row of triangles drawn out. This is just my quick and easy way of cutting out triangles with minimal waste; do it any way you feel comfortable with. The rotary cutter came out and I cut out on all the diagonal lines, through both layers of fabric, using the ruler as a straight edge to run the rotary cutter against. This way cutting took no time at all, and all my lines were super straight! But scissors will work just fine, never fear. Keep going until you have 14 sets of triangles (I made mine double sided), so 28 triangles total.
After I had my stack of 28 triangles, I put them into pairs, wrong sides together, and zig-zag stitched along the two longest sides of each pair. They won’t be getting handled much, so I wasn’t worried about the raw edges fraying, but you can certainly cut them out with pinking shears instead if you have them (I don’t), and that’ll prevent any fraying at all really. The top you can leave raw because it’ll be hidden by the bias tape later.
Next I laid the triangles out in the order I liked onto two pieces of double-fold bias tape, five triangles on the first one and nine on the other. This is if you want to have the “Happy Birthday!” written on them like I did; if you want to leave them blank, just split them up evenly. Make sure you leave enough bias tape on either side to use as a tie when you’re hanging it. I left at least 4 inches, but it doesn’t need to be exact. Now I simply opened the double fold of the bias tape and inserted the triangles in the fold, then closed the fold and pinned each triangle in place (just one pin in each triangle did the trick).
Then I sewed the bias tape together, starting at one end of the bias tape, sewing the triangles into the tape as I went. After all the triangles are sewn in, keep going to the end of your bias tape, or however long you need to make an equal length tie at the end as you have at the beginning. I used a zig-zag stitch here as well, just to match the stitches on the triangles, but you can do straight stitches on both if you prefer.
Alternately, if you don’t have a sewing machine, you can easily make this bunting by gluing the triangles into the bias tape! And you can do one-sided triangles to make that easier as well. This is a very adaptable pattern!
After you have both buntings sewn together, you can add the optional lettering. I cut freehand shapes out of felt and simply glued these on with Fabri-Tac (wow that stuff works well). If you’re not confident in your freehand lettering skills, simply print out some bold letters in a size that’ll fit onto your triangles and cut them out and trace them onto your felt. I’m all about saving time, however, so I just drew some slightly wonky letters and cut them out however they turned out; I was sure my two-year-old wouldn’t mind the imperfections!
I discovered when doing this step that my son loves letters! Marlon would identify a few letters like he was spelling out the words, then yell “Happy Birthday!” and throw his arms up in the air. I love hearing his little voice, now that he’s making more and more sounds that are identifiable as actual words! He still has those adorable toddler-language words that only we can translate: “bondee chips” are his favorite “monkey chips” (plantain chips), and my favorite is what he calls our cats: Remington is “Ya-ya” and Hastings is “Hay-hay.”
Here’s the birthday boy winding the thread onto the bobbin on the sewing machine. Boy was he excited to work that foot pedal! “Vrooooom!”
This bunting will add some adorable rustic and homemade flair to your next party, and you can make one for any celebration! I’d love a New Year’s bunting, and maybe a Summer and Winter solstice themed ones! The options are endless. And this is a perfect project for you if you’re an expert crafter, or if you haven’t sewn one thing in your life! Like I mentioned before, it can be done entirely with just glue and scissors, and will come out super cute. And the best part is that you can reuse this bunting every year, for every kid! It can be a tradition to hang up the birthday bunting for each party.
Here’s a little look at the rest of our party decorations before the party (it was so crazy with so many kids running around that I unfortunately never got a chance to take pictures during the party!). Here’s the snack table with the cookies and other nibbles, with the bunting overhead:
Marlon trying out all the snacks before the party had even started:
And here’s our little neighbor friend with her crown that her and her mom decorated with the felt shapes! The kids had so much fun decorating their crowns, and wore them proudly! It was fun to give them something to take home that they can have fun playing with again and again.
Thanks for reading and let me know if you make a party bunting of your own! I’d love to see your creations! Also follow me on Pinterest or Twitter; I love to connect with my fellow crafters and I’d love to share your work as well.