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America's Party-Perfect Pattern

Source: Martha Stewart Living, July 2007


Everyone knows what to do with bandannas. You drape them babushka-style over your head on painting day, tie them around the dog's neck, and spot them in old Westerns. But none of these applications captures the bandanna's beauty. Look closely at its bitty stars and wavy flourishes, flashy as fireworks, and you'll see the spark of an all-American party.

Invitation Card

Classic bandanna motifs are the inspiration behind this lively redo of plain stationery. Rubber stamps in a slew of shapes -- stars, floral patterns, and other doodads -- do most of the work. For dots, use a regular black-ink pen and/or a white-paint one.


These paper-bag luminarias channel the bandanna via their flowery cutouts and two-tone color scheme.

Table Runner

Rugged and practical, bandannas seem almost patriotic, so this table runner is fitting for the Fourth of July.

Drink Covers

Summer sips entice everybody -- even insects. These covers, prettified with bandanna-style paisleys, can keep them out.

Food Flags

Plant banners in your burgers -- and anything else you're bringing to the picnic table -- and your party foods can support the bigger bandanna theme.

Strawberry "Bandanna" Tart


  • Several bandanas (number varies depending on project)

  • For Invitations: Two stamp-ink colors

  • For Luminarias: Red and a white paper bag of the same size

  • For Luminarias: Decorative craft punches

  • For Luminarias: Scallop scissors

  • For Luminarias: Votive candle

  • For Table Runner: Sewing kit

  • For Table Runner: Iron

  • For Drink Cover: Disappearing-ink fabric pen

  • For Food Flags: Craft knife

  • Toothpick or skewer

  • For Food Flags: Double-sided tape


  1. To mimic the look of an actual bandanna, create a repeating pattern. If using two stamp-ink colors, always let the first color dry before applying the second.

  2. Using scallop scissors, trim 1 to 1 1/2 inches from top of white bag. (Or you can cut a free-form pattern with scissors.) Use decorative craft punches and a Japanese hole punch to cut a repeating pattern through the bag while it is still folded.

  3. Trim 1/2 inch from top of red bag. Unfold the bags, put the red into the white, and pour in gravel for weight. Place a votive candle inside, checking that the sides of the candleholder extend past the flame.

  4. Lay a bandanna flat (you'll need several matching ones). Fold down the bordered edge of a second one, and lay it on top of the first, aligning the patterns, below.

  5. Pin in place. Sew a running stitch across the underside where the patterns line up. Remove the pins, and trim excess fabric with pinking shears, leaving a 1/2-inch hem. Add on more bandannas in the same way, and press the seams with an iron.

  6. With a disappearing-ink fabric pen, print the template for this pattern, and trace onto a handkerchief. Embroider with two shades of embroidery floss, using a chain stitch on lines and French knots on dots. To keep the covers from blowing away, sew on beads.

  7. To make a bunch of the little skewers, color-photocopy a bandanna (or several different ones for more colors), enlarging or reducing the pattern as you like. Using a straightedge and a craft knife, cut the image into strips. Trim to the desired length and width, keeping in mind that the strips should be twice as long as you'd like the finished flags to be.

  8. Fold each strip over the end of a toothpick or skewer, and secure with double-sided tape.

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