How to Sew a Half Fan Flag Bunting

Updated May 22, 2018

A half fan flag bunting is a very popular decoration for patriotic holidays such as July Fourth, Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Election Day. With its colourful stripes and complicated collection of folds and curves, fan bunting looks very complicated to make. In fact, if you know how to use a pair of scissors and a sewing machine, you can easily make this project in an afternoon.

Decide how wide you want your flag bunting to be. This will be the number on which to base all of your dimensions. For instance, if you want it to be 30 inches wide, then 30 is your base number. The width of your panel will be half of the base number, or 15 in this example, and the length of your panel will be 1 1/2 times your base number, or 45 in this case. So you will create a panel that is 15 inches by 45 inches in this instance.

Cut a number of fabric strips that can be easily divided into the width of the panel. For example, your panel in this project is 15 inches wide, so five 3-inch-wide strips will equal 15 inches. Add 1 inch of seam allowance to each strip, so in this example cut five strips that are each 4 inches wide. The colour of strips is totally up to you and your design sense.

Lay out your strips in a pleasing pattern to decide in which order to sew them. Sew each strip to the adjoining strip using a 1/2-inch seam allowance.

Hem all sides of the resulting panel by folding the edge under 1/4 inch, then folding the edge over 1/4 inch more. Sew a seam along the fold, catching all the edges together.

Lay the panel on the ironing board, wrong side up. Press all the seams open to make them lay flat. Turn the panel over so that the right side is up. As before, find a number to divide the panel measurements into equal sections, this time in the length. The panel is 45 inches long, so sections of 5 inches will work well. For the best results, try to choose a number between 4 and 7 inches.

Spray the panel with spray starch to help create sharp folds. Fold up one short side of the panel over onto the front, exactly at the 5 inch mark. Use the iron to create a sharp crease at this point. Fold the fabric toward the back side of the panel at the next 5 inch point, and crease again. Continue on in this back and forth accordion manner until you have folded and creased the entire length of the panel.

Thread the large needle with strong thread like quilting thread and knot it with a double thread. Hold the fabric panel together in the folded position. At a point 2 inches from the top, thread the needle through all the layers of the folded panel. You will have to separate the layers a bit to get the needle through them all, but pull the thread as taut as possible after all the layers have been sewn through, then knot to secure. You will now have a fabric fan, much like the paper fans children make.

Attach your half fan bunting to a wooden porch roof or railing with a staple gun. Begin by attaching one 15-inch end to the underside of the porch roof, stapling along the entire length of this side. Immediately after you staple all of the first end, the second end will be hanging down to be stapled next to it. When both sides have been stapled up, the rest of the fabric will hang down in a graceful fan arch with patriotic stripes.


This project can be made in a variety of fabrics for different celebrations. Sports fans can use their team colours or businesses can use company colours. If you don't have a wooden surface upon which to attach the bunting, self-stick Velcro strips work very well.

Things You'll Need

  • Cotton fabric in patriotic colours
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Spray starch
  • Thread
  • Heavy needle
  • Staple gun
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About the Author

Working in sunny Florida, Anne Baley has been writing professionally since 2009. Her home and lifestyle articles have been seen on Coldwell Banker and Gardening Know How. Baley has published a series of books teaching how to live a frugal life with style and panache.