Birthday Flags Tutorial

“Baby Sean” turns one in a couple weeks.  And, when our sister Erika said she was going to buy birthday flags on Etsy for $35, I volunteered to whip her up a set at cost. I’m all for supporting Etsy and everything (check out our mom’s new shop!), but when it comes to something this simple, ya might as well make your own. Image

This tutorial is for the beginner seam-sters out there.  Just a few years ago, this was one of my first sewing projects.  It’s a great skill builder, and allows for you to make use of bit pieces of favorite fabric.  Also, if your kids are like mine, they will feel super special each year when their birthday (or week) is recognized with a sweet family tradition.

1. Select your fabrics.  Go crazy!

2. Fold your fabric pieces in half, right sides together, and press.Image

3. Draw and cut an isosceles triangle (2 sides equal length, middle school math anyone?) out of cardboard.  Or, if you have a random, giant, see-through, plastic triangle like mine, by all means use it.  Where did I get this thing?  It just turned up one day and I use it all the time.  Quilters probably have buckets of these. Image

4. Trace your triangle onto your folded fabric, however it fits nicely.  I decided to cut two triangles out of each piece, for an extra set of bunting (now I have a ready-made gift stashed away for future giving).

5. Tip from Mom: Do not cut your triangle out yet. SEW FIRST!  Luckily my mom stopped by while I was starting this project.  This tip was crucial.  I didn’t have to worry about my pointy flag tip getting sucked under like a toga party on an escalator!  Sew along the two equal sides, reinforcing stitches at the tip. Don’t bother sewing across the top of your triangle, as that is where you will turn your fabric. Image

6. Cut out your triangles, about 1/4 of an inch around the stitching. Cut closer to stitching as you near the point. Image

7. Turn your triangles right side out.  Use a knitting needle or chopstick to get at your point.  Children may enjoy helping with this task!


8. I forgot to tell you, buy some coordinating double-fold bias tape.  Or make your own, you do not need to cut your fabric on the bias.


9.  Press your flags, trim the tops so that they are nice and straight and matched up.

10. Order your triangles how you like. Lay them out to see how they will fit along the bias tape. I used 12 flags per 3 yard bias tape.


11. Open up your bias tape and shove the open end of your triangle to the top of the main fold.  You are welcome to use pins, but I think it is best to just go one flag at a time, holding it in there a bit as you run it through the machine, about 1/8″ from the bottom edge of the tape.


12. Tidy up your project as necessary.  I added some jute rope to my ends for tying up.  Ribbon would be lovely too.  Voila you are done.  Enjoy inside…


or out!


~ Caroline

Freezer paper fun

A couple of days ago I walked into Jet’s room and found that his tee-shirt drawer had detonated.  Apperantly he was looking for a particular long-sleeved dinosaur shirt.  Hmm, a perfect opportunity for a how-to-fold-a-shirt lesson!  As we sat on his floor re-folding, I came across a plain black tee that I’d meant to applique with an Angry Bird.  Jet commented that since his favorite Bird was the exploding black one, it wouldn’t really work on this black shirt.  True.  We bagan to brainstorm other options.  Jet suggested a snake with dripping green venom… um, okay. And then it came to me- freezer paper stencil!

After a few sketches, this one was finally approved as “scary enough”.

I cut the basic shape out of freezer paper, and ironed it on.  A few small repairs were needed.

Let the painting begin!  These are fabric paints by the way.

I tried to let him do it himself, but it was pretty spotty, so he let me help.

He thought most definitely the tail should be painted white.  I pursed my lips and grit my teeth to stifle the perfectionist crafter inside of me.   “Sure, that sounds good.”

 Before the reveal:

After the paint dried, the paper was removed.  Sweet.

Jet was happy with me handling the finishing touches.

First reaction, “Its not scary enough, there’s not enough green spit!”  Oh jeez.  Thankfully he got over it.  Here’s the back.  I did my best to blend toward the white tail.

Rockin it.

 That’s one mean snake avenger!  I love having a boy!  This one turns 5 on Saturday.  I can’t believe it.