Saturday, May 12, 2012

Further Proof that I am Going British

I spent the day at Kensington Palace, making bunting.

Before you ask why, I'll tell you: Bunting is cool, I wanted some to decorate at the wedding, I am old-fashioned, and I do love a good arts and crafts project. Combining the art of printing with the craft of Bunting-making seemed like the perfect way to spend day one of weekend three sans Tall Guy. And it was.
Did I mention today was a GORGEOUS day?
I arrived at the palace early, of course, to get a good seat and to miss nothing. Most of the group arrived early as well. Ah, like-minded learners. We had the Best Friends, the Friendly American, the Mother and Adult Daughter (times two), the Lone Granny, the Amateur Crafter, the Shy Foreigner, the Student, and me, the Bride. 

After helping ourselves to tea and biscuits (I had just had breakfast, but it is the done thing, and when in England...), we settled in to learn about bunting and printing from the fabulous and friendly artist Xtina Lamb.

Then it was time for project planning, fabric and template choosing (bunting can be much more than a string of triangles, but in the end that's what I opted for, double-sided for twice the fun), and some test printing. I mentioned  to the group I was making bunting for my wedding, and that I was hoping to find some purple and ivory fabrics. Instead of the North American competitiveness you encounter everywhere from school to the work place to fun weekend classes, I encountered genuine interest and helpfulness:

There was no mad rush to the fabric box, no elbows in your face as people searched for "the best". No one "just decided" to do an all-ivory banner, or hid all the purple stuff in their purse. In fact, Amateur Crafter offered me a lovely purple flowery print she'd found, and Lone Granny shared a piece of ivory satin-backed crepe. Oh British Decorum and Politeness, how I will miss you!

It took me over an hour to cut out all my triangles, and as I watched others in the group, I wished Besty or Tall Mom were there so we could tag-team. Both Mother and Adult Daughters and the Best Friends were working together to make bunting for garden or Jubilee street parties - one cutting, one printing, then one ironing and one sewing, making very festive pieces of bunting in record time.
a sneak peak
Slowly but surely, my pile of triangles grew, and by half past one I was ready to start printing: First, you secure the fabric, and then secure a screen over the fabric, so nothing will move. Then, you load up a paint scraper with ink, and run it over the screen. Next, you carefully take the screen off the fabric and hang the fabric to dry. A quick press with the iron sets the ink, and voila! A printed triangle, ready to be made into bunting. One down, 25 to go, plus two hearts. I didn't mind - in fact, I loved it! Hmm, a new career as a Printed Bunting Maker?

Once you've got a front and a back, you sew them together and press the seams. I'm still at this stage, since I spent the better part of the afternoon printing - my bunting is bilingual, but you'll have to wait until the wedding to read it! The next step is to sew or string them, and finally, embellish according to your imagination and taste! I'm thinking I'll stick on the pearls left over from the invite-venture, some embroidery, a few bows, and some bells, because I'm pretty sure the only thing more festive than bunting... is jingle-bunting.

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