Last year I designed some Candy Corn Gift Bags as a party favor for my almost-annual pumpkin carving party. I made 4 dozen and ended up with 17 leftover. Since I don’t like to repeat party favors from year to year, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do with them but I couldn’t just throw them out!
Fast forward to brainstorming project ideas for the 14th & 15th arts and viola! Total lighbulb moment: with their handles removed, the bags look very pennant-like and pennants are very big right now in party decorations. It seemed to me like the perfect opportunity to up-cycle my leftover treat bags and add another decoration to my growning stash of fall/Halloween decor.
First you need the bags. My eHow article from last September gives full, step-by-step instructions for making the bags to be used as party favors. If, however, you want to go straight to the garland, skip the pressing and hemming of the top edge in step 4 and stop when you get to the end of Step 7.
In my case, though, I needed to remove the ribbons and buttons that create the handle of the bags and press them flat. I thought about ripping out the hem, as well, but decided to save myself the trouble. The buttons were easy enough to remove with a single flick of a seam ripper.
To complete the garland, you’ll need:
- 17 candy corn gift bags
- 1 yard patterned fabric or 3 yards 2″ ribbon
- Scissors or rotary cutter
- Iron and ironing board
- Tape measure or ruler
- Straight pins
- Sewing machine, needle and thread
|Start by cutting the patterned fabric into 4-inch-wide strips.
I had this remnant in my stash that was 1 yard by 40 inches. 3 strips, even though I’ll lose 2 inches when joining them together, gives me plenty of length (118 inches) to span the 8-foot (96-inch) opening where I plan to hang this banner. The extra length (11 inches on each side) provides enough of a tail that we can easily tie up the banner when finished.
|Make Non-Bias Tape*
After we’ve joined the strips together (1/2-inch seam allowance) and pressed those seams open, we press the very long strip of fabric in half, lengthwise, wrong sides facing.
Open up the pressed fabric and fold each side in towards the center, pressing once again. You can pin this if you want, but it’s simple enough just to fold it as you press and save the time.
Finally, fold the fabric over along that first fold, lining up the outside edges and pressing a final time. This holds all the folds in place and keeps raw edges inside, creating a nice, clean edge to slip our pennants into.
8 feet = 96 inches
17 pennants, 3.5 inches wide = 59.5 inches
96 – 59.5 = 36.5 inches
36.5 / 16 spaces = 2.28 inches
|Now those math classes come in handy. (In case you ever wondered when you’d use them.)
To get a nice, even garland we need to be able to space our pennants evenly. To do this, take the total length of your banner, subtract the amount of space the pennants take up and then divide that space by the number of spaces there will be between the pennants (# of pieces minus 1).
To make things easy I rounded down slightly and will put 2 1/4 inches between each of the pennants.
That wasn’t so hard, now, was it?
|Find the center of the non-bias tape and (with the fold opening downward) place your first pennant inside the fold. Measure 2.25 inches from the edge of the pennant and place the edge of the next pennant at that point, pinning in place.
Continue in one direction until you’ve placed 8 candy corn in addition to the center corn.
Rather than having to measure both sides, once I got the first side pinned I flipped over the tape–still folded in half–and matched up the rest of the candy corns so that both sides were even.
If you’re using 2″ tape instead of fabric, just fold the tape in half over the tops of the pennants and pin in place. Pressing is optional but recommended.
|Sew along the bottom edge of the tape–about 1/4-inch from the edge–slowing down slightly as you go over the edges of the pennants since the extra bulk could easily break a needle.
When you get to the end it’s a good idea (but, again, optional) to sew another line along the top edge of the tape. This keeps the tape fairly sturdy while it hangs and prevents flattening or bunching when washed or stored by trapping the top edges of the pennant in place.
Technically, we’re done, but there’s always one or two more finishing steps that can be added to make the project that much nicer.
|Since I had the ribbon leftover from the removed handles, I thought they’d make nice bows on the front of each pennant. The only wrinkle was that the lengths were short and I wanted to sew a button on each center–the bulk would have been hard to manage with a traditional bow.
Instead, I folded each length of ribbon in half and sewed a quick seam a third of the way down from the fold. Ganging them one after the other on the sewing machine made this step go quickly and saved numerous starts and stops.
|After separating each loop from the “ribbon raft,” open up a single loop and squash the top down to the seam, creating a bow. Position this along the bottom edge of the tape at the center of each pennant and sew in place, along with a decorative button.
Since my garland is visible both from the dining room as well as the living room/entry, I alternated sides for my bow and button placement. I also found that by hiding the stitches under the bottom edge of the tape, they can’t be seen on the non-decorated side.
I used 4 1-inch cup hooks suspended from my ceiling to hang the garland, the two ends tied to the outer hooks and the 2 center hooks placed 31 inches in from each edge. If you wanted more swag to your banner, spread the pennants out a bit more and increase the length of your tape to allow more of a bow in your banner. I kept mine rather straight so that tall folks (unlike my 5’4″ self) won’t have to duck.
I don’t know about you, but we love Halloween–it’s our favorite holiday! And now that Labor Day has passed we’re already starting to decorate. This banner is the first bit to go up and it’s making me smile every time I see it.
Have you started your decorating yet?
Coincidentally, the theme for this week’s CSI project is Fall so I’m linking up with those fabulous crafters. Make sure to check out all the fun fall projects over at the CSI project!
*Actual bias tape is cut on the bias–diagonally against the grain–but folded and pressed the same. Fabric cut on the bias flows and stretches more than straight-cut fabric which makes it easier to edge items with non-straight edges.