When I started to prepare Baby’s nursery one of the items I shopped for was a bedding set for her new cot, but no matter where I looked, they all included cot bumpers. While these are usually very pretty the advice from the NHS and the Lullaby Trust is not to use them.
Read this Lullaby Trust article for more information https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/parents-should-remove-cot-bumpers/
In the end I settled on a bedding set which included a cot bumper, but I decided that instead of allowing it to gather dust in a draw, I would turn it into some beautiful personalised bunting for my daughter. If you’re in the same boat, here are some simple instructions to turn your unused bumper into a fantastic decorative keepsake.
You will need:
- A cot bumper;
- If your bumper is one colour or your childs name is reasonably long – 1 meter of contrasting cotton fabric;
- 3 meters of ribbon;
- Cotton thread to match the main colour;
- Embroidery thread in a contrasting colour;
- A basic sewing kit;
- A sewing machine (optional);
Step 1: Planning
Before you start work out what you would like your bunting to look like. How many letter banners will you need, would you like any blank banners or banners with shapes on?
Baby has a 4 letter name but as I could get 8 banners out of my cot bumper I chose to have 4 letter banners, 2 heart banners, and 2 blank banners. My cot bumper also had some pretty decorative ties which I decided would look lovely as streamers hanging between each banner.
Step 2: Patterns
Once you know what you want your bunting to look like it’s time to make some patterns. The first pattern you will need is your triangle. You can either find a template for this online by Googling “Bunting Template” or you can make your own like I did, by drawing a triangle onto a sheet of A4 paper. Make sure that you add half a centimetre to both long edges of the triangle for your seam, and bare in mind the width of the ribbon at the top of your banner.
Next, check that you have enough fabric for your bunting. You will need two triangles for every blank banner, and three for every letter banner. If you don’t have enough fabric you can buy some contrasting cotton fabric from shops such as Hobby Craft.
Next, you need to create your letters and symbols. You can do this one of two ways. You can print letters from you computer, you may need to tweak them a little until you get them the correct size for your banners as you want them to take up most of the central space without getting too close to the edges. Alternatively, you can draw out triangles the same size as your banners, for each letter and draw them into the space yourself.
Step 3: Preparation
Now that you have your pattern you can prepare your fabric. Using a seam ripper unpick all of the seams on your cot bumper, along with any quilting. This will take a while so make yourself a cup of tea and find something to watch on Netflix.
Iron the flattened cotton and lay your pattern out onto it. Remember, you will want your letters to be cut from a different colour to your banners. Once you’re happy with your pattern you can cut your fabric.
Step 3: Sewing your letters
Now that you have your pieces cut to can start constructing your banners. First pin each letter onto a triangle of fabric in a contrasting colour, being careful to leave the .5mm seam allowance around the triangles. Next, using either a needle and thread or a sewing machine, carefully stitch around the edge of the letter, keeping the stitches as discreet as possible.
Once the letters are fixed in place you can add decorative stitching if you like. I used contrasting embroidery thread to define my letters by running a back stitch along the edges with a running stitch just inside.
Step 4: Banner Construction
Now that your letters are in place pin a each letter triangle to a blank triangle with right sides together (letters and any prints facing the inside) Then sew along the two long sides of the triangles .5mm from the edge of the fabric.
Once both edges are secure, snip any excess fabric from the tip of the triangle and turn the banner right sides out. Repeat for each banner, then press each one flat with a warm iron.
Step 5: Stringing
The final stage of making bunting is to attach the banners to a ribbon. Pin each banner to the back of your ribbon in order and lay it flat so that you can check that they are in the correct order. I had to unpick 3 of my banners because I forgot to do this!
Using a sewing machine or small running stitches fasten the top of each banner to the top of your ribbon so that each banner corner touches the next. Once the tops are secure, run a matching line of stitches along the bottom of the ribbon to keep it flat against the banners.
Step 6: Hang!
You now have some beautiful, unique bunting for your baby’s nursery, so go hang it and admire your handiwork!
If you’ve made your baby some beautiful bunting from a cot bumper I would love to see it! Please send pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add them to a gallery.