Forget plastic, store-bought Fourth of July decorations. This year, opt for traditional handmade patriotic bunting. These swags can be made in any size and customized further with applique stars.Marian Parsons, Mustard Seed Interiors
Measure, mark with pencil and cut fabric to size (Images 1 and 2). Iron wrinkles out of each strip of fabric. Since blue fabric is in two pieces, place right sides together and stitch with sewing machine to make one continuous strip. Lay fabric in a semi-circle in order to ensure measurements of fabric pieces are cut to proper size (Image 3).
Thread length of red thread on needle and knot at one end. Pleat the top edge of red fabric and pinch tightly with fingers (Image 1). Insert needle in pleats and pull through until knot catches. Stitch back and forth through pleats until fabric is secured (Image 2). Tip: Use a thimble or fingernail edge to push needle through, if necessary.
Fan out red fabric. Pleat white fabric and pin to the bottom edge of red stripe (Image 1). Fold seam over, so right sides are together and raw fabric edges are facing the same direction. Sew, removing pins along the way (Image 2). Tip: To keep pleats even, pin left and right sides first. Pull fabric back to find the center point. Pin the center of the white stripe to the center of the red stripe. Divide fabric further into quarters and eighths. Pleat in small sections and pin.
Open red and white stripe seam and fan out. Pin and sew blue stripe in same manner as red, always making sure raw fabric edges are facing the same direction (Images 1 and 2).
Fold blue fabric under two times, making an approximately 1/2-inch hem (Image 1). Press and pin in place (Image 2). Stitch on sewing machine and remove pins.
Press 4 x 40-inch strip of white fabric. Fold left and right sides under one inch and bottom edge less than 1/2 inch (Image 1). Press hems. Fold white header strip over top of bunting swag with hemmed edge on front side. Pin into place (Image 2). Sew left and right sides out from the center point into place, removing pins as you go. The center pleat will be too thick for most sewing machines, so stitch by hand with a needle and thread (Image 3).
Measure 1 1/2 inches from the outside edge of header strip. Use sharp scissors to cut small hole (Image 1). Insert large eyelet and use a kit and a hammer to attach both halves of the grommet (Images 2 and 3). Repeat on other side and four inches to the left and right of center for a total of four grommets. Proudly display your completed bunting by hanging it along a porch rail, banister or under a window.