A bunting bridal shower – decorations

As I mentioned last time, I went a little overboard on invites and decorations for my dear friend Erin’s surprise bridal shower. One of the reasons that I was pleased the maid of honor was leaning towards the bunting invites was because I wanted to try my hand at sewing some fabric buntings to use as decorations. Again, when all of the planning was happening, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to make the trek from Ohio to New Jersey for the shower, so I figured I would put all of my efforts towards prep work and decorations that I could mail if I couldn’t make it to help throw the party.

I went to Joanns Fabrics to find some purple and yellow fabrics in varying patterns to cut the bunting pieces from. I spent probably an hour wandering back and forth through the aisles, grabbing anything that fell into the general color scheme before weeding things out as being “too orange” or “not quite pink enough.” I ended up with a wide variety of patterns, which made me happy, including some fantastic pale yellow seersucker from the remnants section of the store and a purple argyle-esque pattern that seemed especially cheerful. I intentionally over-bought on yardage, knowing I’d want some room to make mistakes without having to go back and find the matching fabrics all over again. I came home with a great big bag of lovely fabric, plus a few spools of ribbon thrown in just for safety.

I drew a diamond template for the bunting pennants and cut a few test pieces to see if I liked the size. After folding the diamonds in half and laying the triangles across my desk, I got worried that the smallish size was going to feel lost in the room. I scaled the template up by about an inch and a half and liked the resulting size a lot. Upon, thinking it through more, I realized that it might be beneficial to use both sizes, the larger for room decorations, and the smaller buntings where appropriate. I embraced that thought and cut TONS of diamonds in both sizes, using pinking shears to minimize fraying, since I didn’t intend to do a turned-in seam. Next I ironed the diamonds in half, so they’d be nice and crisp and lined up for sewing. I laid out the triangles on the dining room table to get a good mix of patterns and alternation of colors (there were more purple pieces than yellow, so I couldn’t just alternate, but I think I did a decent job getting them to feel random in a good way). Once I was happy with the sequence of each bunting, I opened the diamonds back up to slip the string (a rustic twine for the large buntings, a cotton string for the smaller ones) along the top of the triangle between the two layers of fabric, and then pinned it shut again. I then sewed the sides of each triangle closed, and tied off the threads.

The project left me with a bunch of scraps, which I couldn’t leave alone. I took the largest bits, trimmed them to the same length, and pieced them together to form sort of a table runner. I’ve never done any patchwork projects of any kind and I was pleased with how it turned out. (I might be ready for something a little more complex than straight lines!)

Knowing Erin was going to incorporate a lot of the typical wedding traditions, I wanted to make her a pretty garter in her wedding colors to use. I had some leftover fabric with this delicate purple and white print, so I followed this tutorial from Purl Bee and tried out elastic thread for the first time. I thought it was reasonably easy (I know some of my friends have found elastic thread to be tricky, but luckily it went great for me), though I’d probably have cut the fabric larger than 5″ if I did another. The resulting garter was pretty skinny (the picture is from about halfway through the tutorial, sadly I didn’t get a final picture of the garter, and I haven’t seen any of the professional pics from the wedding on Facebook), and it’d look cute a bit wider so you really got a nice ruffle feel.

Finally, all of the cutting I’d done with pinking shears for the bunting left me with lots of scraps with cute zig-zag edges. I cut them into 1″ wide strips and sewed pairs of them onto blank notecards to package together as a gift for Erin. I’d sewn rectangles of fabric onto notecards as Christmas presents, and Erin had loved those, so I knew she’d really appreciate having a special set for herself. I had intended for them to be the perfect thank you cards for the shower (since they matched everything), but I got the feeling she ended up hoarding them and is going to dole them out for super special occasions. These notecards are so easy to make, and using pinking shears was much quicker than sealing all of the cut edges of the fabric with Fray Check, like I had for the Christmas cards (but an entirely different look, I loved them both!).

Finally, I knew the bunting theme would be super-cute on some dessert decorations. I’d seen cake buntings all over blogs  (for a bajillion examples, just check Pinterest), and I knew I’d be able to create the bunting design from the decorations in real life on the cake. (You know, except for a tiny hanging wedding dress.) It was pretty easy, I just mirrored each triangle pattern from the invitation to make them into diamonds and printed to heavy paper. I folded the diamonds in half to make them into double-sided triangles and ran the string between the two sides and glued them shut. You could get a similar effect tracing and cutting out diamonds from wrapping paper, origami paper, or scrapbook paper, but I loved the fact that the same illustrations I’d done for the invites would show up on her cake at the end of the party. Finally, I tied the strings to a pair of chopsticks we had in a drawer (still in the paper wrapper! no soy sauce stains!) and stuck them carefully into the cake.

Another bridesmaid offered to make some cupcakes for dessert as well, so I used the same concept to create little pennant flags for the cupcakes, wrapping the paper diamonds around toothpicks. Everything matched!

As you can see from the dessert cart, the runner got used here, plus a small strand of bunting. I was super proud of that cart full of purple and yellow being wheeled out for Erin to see when it was time for sugary snacks!

Since the party was spread out through several rooms of the first floor of Erin’s mom’s house, it was nice to have some decorations that tied everything together! I was glad I made several buntings so I could place them in doorways and over windows. I felt really proud of the decorations for this party, as well as the bonus items I’d made, and it felt great to help to make the surprise party even more memorable for a lovely bride!

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2 comments on “A bunting bridal shower – decorations

  1. […] it’s usually just me running away with a theme (see both Erin’s invitations and decorations), so I’m always super-pleased when other people commit, too! While the party was really […]

  2. […] came several options of fabric in a few color combinations. Since making the fabric runner for Erin’s shower, I’d been toying with the idea of doing more piecework, but the idea […]

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