Sequins and Slippers - The Show!

You may recall, back in April I filmed the first of my crafty ideas in a shoot, which paved the way for this very Blog!

And you know one of the reasons I'm so glad this is ready to share with you now..? Because I believe bunting is a summery celebration! So what better month to share a 'How To' on making some of your own..?!

Also - you now get to meet Rod..! This is his first real starring role in anything, so please be kind (if you're thinking of commenting), and let me know if the final scene makes you laugh the same way it makes me laugh every time I watch it (yes, I am that sad!).

It's all in the details...

I suppose the first thing to state, which is a little obvious, is that bunting can be as different as you want it to be... You can use paper, cardboard, felt, plastic sheeting - even crocheted wool (!); this is just the version I've chosen to demonstrate. And, much in the same way the materials can differ, so too can the shape and size - you could make it with square flags, tin foil stars - hell! Anything goes! Again, I've gone down the 'traditional' route - but you can really make it your own;


To explain how I came to be counting flags in the video; it's just ONE way of deciding how long the bunting will be, and to work out how much material you'll need.... Last year I made bunting for a friend's wedding; the couple bought their fabric, and I kept on making flags til there was none left... I think there was about 33metres in the end...
With a maniacal look, proud of my handwork!

Sew, how much fabric do I need?

How long's a piece of string?! You could work with as little as a metre of two different contrasting fabrics to start with, then play it by ear and buy more if need be - again, I'll just reiterate the proportions for the bunting on the video, just in case you find the dialogue version too fast to make a note of!

Imagine the flags are 20 cm in width, and based on the fact you'd make one flag for every letter of 'congratulations!' (for example) it'd need 16 flags (including the exclamation mark) then two flags either side of the word, just to add some length... that makes 20 flags in total. Lost yet? Good! Don't forget to add gaps between flags and at either end, for the purposes of this 'assignment' let's say they're 5cm each...

Find the bias binding length by doing the following equation
(20 flags x 20cm) + (21 spaces x 5cm) = 400cm + 105cm = 505cm = just over 5metres.

You'll notice I'm not talking about the length, just the width, of the flags; I think it's a matter of taste whether you like the 'boxy' triangle or the slimline triangle, again it'll be a case of trial and error :)

'boxy' VS

I won't go through every stage, as I think it's quite self explanatory - but you may be wondering why there are still pins in the flags after I've sewn them together (at 2mins 52secs on video); obviously some people would removed them as they sew... and I would too, normally, this is one of those anomalies that comes with filming something you normally do without thinking..! :)
Shop-bought bunting can be pricey...

Background Info...

As the next few episodes come out, you'll see they follow a bit of a 'format', and you'll get to know Rod more as each one comes... I thought I'd give a bit of background info as to what went in to the making of these short videos...

It was a real eye opener when I started prepping for this shoot. Mostly, as a presenter I turn up to a studio or location and either read from autocue or present live; but either way the prep is mostly done by the producer and/or director. On this occasion, I had to foresee the various stages the bunting would 'zip' to, so as not to state the obvious and be seen 'real time' sewing through every stage. Again, I don't normally have an iron hot and ready for action at my feet, but these are things that you get to thinking about when prepping a crafty shoot; what will be needed, where, and when.

The shoot is filmed in my lounge mostly, although I don't a) talk to myself or b) face towards the wall to sew... this is much how it looks normally... It's shot on two cameras, one set for the wide shot, the other handheld for close-ups, which is what gives it that 'natural' feel. It didn't feel particularly natural lighting-wise, as there were (what I call) flood lights in the lounge, giving an amazing brightness and edge to everything. I think it's details like this that make it look different from other filmed-at-home Youtube videos - it'd be interesting to hear whether or not you notice, or if it all looks much the same as what you're used to... I'm really chuffed at how Plus 44 Films brought my ideas to life!

I'm looking forward to sharing more of these short videos with you SOON..! And in the meantime I'll be cracking on with my Summer Challenge!


  1. Very cool :0) The blog is looking great.

  2. Took me a little while to get around to watching the video; handheld devices were taking umbrage with the youtube - but it was worth the wait. Looking forward to seeing more in the series.

    Constructive criticism - only a couple of things: all the math at the beginning; I would like to have seen it all on a whiteboard (or blackboard) - I don't know why, it must be the way my brain works (either that or my misspent youth watching Countdown has brainwashed me into expecting such things). I liked the "top tips" (although would like to have seen a bit gathering all the tips together and drawing more attention to them -- again, it's how my mind works).

    I can't believe how much ironing (you can't get away with disguising it with a different word - ironing is ironing lol) was involved!

    (I don't believe all that 'pressing' is necessary - if only there was a "this is what happens when you don't press" comparison and I'd be convinced! What do you mean "I sound adverse to ironing?" - I have an iron and board that I keep in pristine condition... (hardly used? Shhh... ))

    I'm niggling. The whole thing was really good and informative, looked quite professionally put together and produced. You were bubbly and chatty and did a great job of keeping it interesting (I'd imagine it's quite hard talking to people who aren't there - having to anticipate questions and so on); the beginning and end bits made me chuckle - good to see Rod stealing the show :o)

    Thanks for sharing - looking forward to further episodes!
    Have a great bank holiday weekend there,

    1. Hi Neil! Thanks for persevering with the video :D

      Funny you should mention the 'math' at the beginning; there was another camera filming my writing on the pad (above me) but it didn't make the edit. I told my Mum about it, we planned to make it a split screen affair, with the writing showing at the same time, her comment was 'How very Thomas Crown Affair!', love that! Anyway, as you can see, it didn't work out that way - and I agree it's a little long-winded to follow.

      And altho' I am aware that the video can be paused, or the details can be read here, I really appreciate your feedback, and I agree with you that collating all the Top Tips and Instructions and maybe even Materials Needed, would be a good idea :)

      You're telling me about pressing - it's not one of my favourite things... in fact, on the video I went into a long-winded story about how I used to iron for a posh lady (for a small wage) when I was a teenager, put me off for life... (*that anecdote also lies on the cutting room floor!). This could've easily run into a half hour presentation on bunting... and who'd watch THAT? Not me!! Ha!

      It's surprising how much I've learned from this whole experience really, and how different I feel presenting this (as opposed to anything else); it's a unique situation, producing, directing and 'starring' in your own production (I feel much closer to Mel Gibson now. Not necessarily a good thing).

      So Thank-you Neil, and keep those comments coming, I'm always appreciative! :)

    2. I think you must get some of your way with words from your mum - "very Thomas Crown Affair" is a splendid way of describing the effect. (It's been a long while since I watched either version of the film though, wonder if they'll sneak on TV next bank-holiday-type-week-off-period-thing).

      I think, no matter how much we know, we're always learning; especially when - like you - you've changed things around a bit taking on more of the behind the camera roles. I've heard that the hardest thing of it all to balance is the editing; it's easy to be too strict or too indulgent - you have to like approach it all with a different head on or something.

      (Speaking of editing - sounds like you'll soon have enough "cutting room floor material" for an anecdotes and out-takes spin-off show :o) )

      Anyway I'm nattering on - have a good day,

  3. How long does it take to shoot one of these Gemonstrations?
    Is Rod a one take wonder?
    You mention using the two cameras, one minor point I'd raise is that there was criticism of the Gadget Show World Tour when Poly and Jason were talking to camera after a gadget piece they would look past the camera rather than at it, is this an industry thing? How do you decide when to look at the camera directly and when not to, is it a post production decision?

    1. Hi Brian!

      Sorry to take so long replying!

      Well in answer to your 'how long' question, I prepped enough to film 6 'gemonstrations' in one day, just in case. The reality was that sound and lighting are tricky to get perfect, and with such a small crew we were testing things out as we went along.

      There were a good few 'firsts' on that shoot; coupled with the fact we're both professionals in this industry...I think we put some pressure on ourselves to do it right (when other crafty-centric people would be happier, easier, if that makes sense?). Having said all that, it went surprisingly well- and we kept things in (like Rod making random noises in the background) so it wasn't too 'clean'.

      So yes, Rod is a one take wonder, as everything he does, I wonder at :) And I wouldn't want him to get bored/upset/agitated - so I made sure the last scene was only filmed twice, just so turns out he played his role to perfection!! Ha ha!

      As for the 'talking past the camera' thing, it wasn't a conscious decision on my part- it does have to be filmed that way from the off, so it all depends if you have enough cameras to make that kind of decision in the edit. I think it gives a fairly 'modern' feel... It also feels a bit more like you're overhearing a conversation, as opposed to being talked at/to... So I'm sure there are as many 'fans' as there are opposed to, that technique. I'm still on the fence TBH... :)

      You've made me wonder if there's a blog post in this... Thanks again Brian!

  4. Great video Gema, can't wait to see and learn more. I just loved the last scene with Rod at the end! He's gonna be a star. ;-)

    1. Thank-you Rhowena! I'm really chuffed you like it :)


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