Flag Banner {Tutorial}

I have fallen in love with all the flag banners (also called bunting) that I’ve been seeing around the web. I’m sure that I am fairly tardy as I hop up onto this bandwagon, but that is pretty typical for me. No one has ever accused me of being a trend setter.

I made the above banner for a baby shower a few weeks ago, and then decided that I wanted to make one to hang in the play room. There is quite a bit of open wall space in that room that is just crying out to be adorned with colorful triangles.

As I was making this banner, I tried to take some photos along the way so I could share my method. This project took me around an hour, but I was also messing with my camera for part of that time.

Materials you will need:

1) Fabric (I used scraps that I already had, but if you’re buying fabric I would get around 1/4-1/3 of a yard of each print) 2) Rotary cutter, mat, and ruler 3) Double-fold Bias Tape (4 yards) 4) Sewing machine and thread

Start by ironing your fabric (I didn’t actually do this because I always try and cut corners. However, I ended up ironing the triangles after I had cut them, so I should have just done it to begin with.) Then, with the fold of the fabric lined up horizontally, cut strips that are 5″ wide.

(See how wrinkled the fabric is? Whoops!)

After cutting all your strips to be 5″ wide, take one strip and turn it so that the fold is now lined up vertically on the left. You are going to measure 2 3/4″ from the fold. Because I’m using a cutting mat, I just count the 1 inch blocks when I’m measuring. I find using a measuring tape to be a huge hassle.

Next, line up your ruler so that it goes from the top left corner down to the place you marked (with either your finger or a pencil.) Being the corner-cutting-person that I am, I just put my finger on the bottom edge at the place that is 2 3/4″ from the fold. Line your ruler up and cut.

That first cut can be a little tricky, but everything else is pretty easy. Now you are going to count 5 1/2″ along the top edge, put your finger there, and line your ruler up with that point and the bottom. Now cut along the ruler edge.

Now, do the same thing, counting 5 1/2″ inches along bottom edge, line up ruler, and cut. Keep alternating bottom and top edge until you run out of fabric. Depending on the length of the banner you want to make, you’ll need two triangles per foot. So, for a 4 yard length you’ll need about 22-24 triangles.

We’re ready to stitch the triangles together. If you cut them as described above, they will already be in two layers (don’t pull them apart… you want them this way!) The wrong sides should be facing one another. This method leaves you with raw edges, which I kind of like.

With two triangles lined up (wrong sides together), stitch along one edge leaving a 1/8″ seam allowance. You will only be sewing along two of the edges, because the third edge will be tucked inside the bias tape.

When you get close to the point, just pull up your presser foot and swing that triangle around! It’s not necessary to lock your thread and start a new seam. It does help to make sure that the needle is down so that when you twist the triangle around you keep the stitch in place.

When I’m sewing lots of pieces like this, I use the “chain method.” (I’m not sure if that’s really the name or if I just made that up.) Basically, I just feed another triangle under the presser foot as the previous one is finishing up. I make sure there is a little bit of distance, maybe 2-3 stitches, but this saves me time because I don’t have to lock the thread each time I start a new piece. You’ll get a chain of pieces that are all linked together once you are done. Just snip them apart with some scissors.

We’re almost done! The last thing we need to do is sew everything together with the bias tape. There are different types of bias tape and I’ve probably used them all. The type I like the best for this project is the double fold (normal width.) The wide width is easier to work with, but I don’t like the way it looks as much.The single fold that is shown below will work and give you the same look as mine, but it’s more of a pain to work with. Ironing is involved…

For this step, decide how much of a “tail” you want on each end. Then, open up the tape at that point (I usually leave a foot or so) and insert a triangle. Make sure the edge of the triangle is all the way inside the bias tape- it should be at the crease.

Most people will tell you to use pins and put a pin on each corner and one in the middle. But, that seems like a lot of work to me. I actually tried doing it that way on my first banner and it took me way longer to get the pins in the right place than it did to just sew it without pins. So, use pins if you want but I think it’s simpler to do it without.

Helpful hint: if you aren’t using pins, make sure that you get the triangles completely inside the bias tape. I found it easy enough to stop sewing right at the end of one triangle, insert my next one and make sure the stitches caught the triangle in the seam, then arrange the rest of the triangle. These are relatively small pieces with straight edges, so it shouldn’t be too hard to do without pins.

Make sure your seam is pretty close to the edge of the tape, that way you are less likely to have parts of the triangle escape and not get caught in the seam. Continue sewing until you’ve used all your triangles, or you’ve come to the end of your bias tape. Hang the banner up, step back, and admire your craftiness!

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You are Fantastic

The past few months at the Holm house have been a bit tougher than usual. Long days, health problems, hurting friends, heavy workloads, lack of sleep– it has all worked together to produce some weariness in both Michael and myself. And while I think we’re handling things well, we’re also tired. I know I haven’t been as cheery as I normally am when he comes home. I am still so happy to see him after a long day of just me and the Bullfrog, but I haven’t been communicating it as well.

Marriage brings together two people and creates something special. But even though you may love your husband and he may love you back, often it takes more than love for a marriage to survive.

Our marriages need to be tended everyday like gardens. You can’t just water your plants once a month or forget to pull the weeds. If you do, then you won’t have a garden very long, but instead a place where the garden used to be. You have to be aware of the conditions outside– has it rained recently? Is it going to get above 90 degrees this week? All of that needs to be taken into account to help you plan how to tend your garden.

There is so much that happens in a given day that can bring you closer to your husband. It can also pull you just a tiny bit farther apart if you aren’t careful. Being aware of those things, and adjusting how you care for one another can really go a long way to helping your marriage survive. If there is distance between you– if you don’t feel close– it’s not going to magically fix itself if you “give it time.” Contrary to popular opinion, time doesn’t heal all wounds… in fact, given enough time, we’ll all die and rot away.

Tending your marriage is going to look different for you than it does for me. For instance, one of the things Michael and I will do when we need to spend time together but we’re too drained for anything else is to play Nintendo. Specifically, Mario Kart. This is probably not going to work for most of you, but for us it’s a fun thing to do where we are interacting, snuggling, joking, and trash talking each other. He always beats me, but that’s okay.

And of course, there are the date nights, flowers, cards, and sweet texts throughout the day– we try to tend to our marriage in as many ways as we can. So when I came across this blog post from How About Orange I decided to stop what I was doing right then and make a banner for Michael. It was during J’s nap and he had already slept for about an hour and a half, so you know I was on borrowed time to try and get anything else done. But, I didn’t file it away to do later, when the ideal circumstances presented themselves. I like to imagine there will come a day when my house is clean and I’ll have a space to myself where my craft supplies are beautifully organized. There will be music playing and a cup of hot tea sitting next to my sewing machine. I will also have more than 15 minutes to spend working on a project. But, that day is not today (or likely to be anytime soon) so instead I furiously printed, cut and pasted, and strung this banner together. I did not design it myself, cut it out perfectly along the lines, or print it on card stock as recommended. This is not an example of me at my creative best; it is instead an example of how I tended to my marriage today. Right Now.

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