Ooh lockdown! We’re now into the fifth week of this in the UK and it goes without saying that it is an odd time.
I know we’re safe here, tucked up at home. Our house is on the small side, but it’s not that small. Not in comparison to families living in tiny flats with no garden, or those living in temporary accommodation, who would take their children to the park to burn off some energy and enjoy the sunshine but they can’t do that now because of lockdown.
We like being at home. The boys are rarely bored. They’re like their mum! They also don’t get much sympathy if they complain of boredom! Their rooms are stuffed full of toys and books and they’re allowed to do all the creative stuff they like (unless they want to get the paint out 5 minutes before dinner!). I can always find something to do, whether it’s sewing or painting, reading, playing a board game or doing lego with the boys, or the endless domestic jobs that come with having a large family.
But then I look at the news, or step outside for some government sanctioned exercise and I remember why. I remember why the roads are quiet, why the air smells cleaner and why I can hear the birds singing. I remember why there are not hoards of youngsters walking past my house twice a day. When I check the news, or Facebook, I remember. And it’s weird and scary, and I’m not sure what to do with it.
There’s an expectation that we should be making the most of this time. The FlyLady (I usually love her, but she misses the mark sometimes) keeps telling me that I need to get my house sorted out before things go back to normal. Other people are telling me that this is a great time to get a kitchen table enterprise off the ground. Or I could read all the books I should have but haven’t, or I could learn some new skills that would launch me into some dizzy heights in the World of Work (I left my job as a teacher seven years ago when I had my 4th child and never went back).
The problem is that it’s not a holiday. It’s not a sabbatical where we’ve got time specifically to gain a new skill or extra qualifications. Nobody knows how long things will need to continue like this, or how things will pan out.
So I look at my pile of fabric behind the bedroom door, then walk away from it. I vaguely think about painting then don’t do any, or think about the DIY that needs doing, or the mess in the utility room that I could sort out, and reach for the kettle.
All around me everybody is collecting handcream for medical staff at our nearest hospital, sewing scrubs, sewing other stuff, taking care of DIY, helping out their elderly neighbours, growing stuff, still going out to work because they are key workers and posting it all on Facebook. And I’m not.
I have read a bit more than normal, and I can now play 5 tunes on the banjo. But I don’t feel that I have masses more time than I usually do. My time is mostly eaten up by the things I normally do to take care of my family. And I don’t feel especially energised or creative or inspired. It’s all making me feel tired and a little bit anxious.
But I wanted to do something. Round here people have been making rainbows and sticking them in their windows.
My boys are not up for drawing rainbows, so I made some rainbow bunting instead. I often have bunting hanging off the front of my house, partly because it’s cheerful and partly to distract from the peeling paint on the upstairs windowsills.
Rummaging in my fabric hoard behind the bedroom door, it wasn’t too hard to find bits of fabric in all colours of the rainbow! I’ve used up all my grey bias binding, and I only had pink or beige left in enough quantity.
I made it in the same way that I made this, except that I only cut one flag from each piece of fabric. The post also has step photos if you need them.
Instructions For DIY Rainbow Bunting
You Will Need
Cotton or polycotton fabric in rainbow colours. You could use plain or prints, or a combination of both.
Bias binding in a neutral colour. How much depends on how long you want the bunting to be. You’ll probably need at least 2-3 metres.
Bunting template. You can make your own or you can have these in exchange for an email address.
Making Your Own Template
I made a new template for my diy rainbow bunting. The main reason for this is that I don’t use yellow fabric very often and I only had a little bit of the yellow gingham and the orangey yellow cotton, so I needed the template to be slightly smaller.
It’s easy to do if you also want to make your own!
Take a piece of paper and fold it in half lengthways. Choose a point somewhere on the fold and draw a line from there to the top corner.
Cut along the line and open it out. You should have a triangle. It might take some experimenting to get a triangle that has dimensions you like.
If you need to take into account the size of the bits of fabric you have, start there. I worked out how wide the flag could be, trimmed the paper then made the triangle.
Using your template, cut 1 flag from each colour. If you’re making masses of diy rainbow bunting, you could cut 2 or 3 (or more!) from each colour.
Odd numbers usually look better, but the more flags you have, the less noticeable it will be if you have an even number. My bunting has 11 flags.
Sewing Your DIY Rainbow Bunting
Decide on the order for your flags. To do this, lay them all out and rearrange them until you like the order they are in.
Now put them in a pile, wrong side up, starting with the red end. This will make it easier to sew as the flags will be at the free end of the sewing machine, and your flags will go red to purple from left to right.
Take one end of your bias binding and fold it in half lengthways. Don’t worry about doing the whole lot at the moment. You can fold more as you go.
Sew along the bias binding a little way, so that you have enough to tie one end of your bunting to something.
Slip the first flag (purple, wrong side up) into the folded bias binding. Sew along the bias binding, catching the flag in between the folded bias binding.
Then slip the next flag in and keep sewing.
You’ll have to stop every so often to fold more of the bias binding in half. I do this while sitting at the sewing machine.
Keep going like this until you’ve attached all the flags to the bias binding.
Sew a bit more of the bias binding so that you have enough to tie the other end of your diy rainbow bunting. You could measure, or you could guess! Just don’t cut the bias binding before you’re sure that you have enough to tie the other end!