Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How to Make Your Own Banner

I celebrated my little one's birthday recently and we decided to go with a sport theme - well, a sporty Mickey theme to be exact.  Well, as many things that I want to do, there wasn't anything out there that was both sports and Mickey.  All the ideas were one or the other, so I took ideas from both and merged them together.
One thing that I really loved was the sport flag banners.  Since I wanted both themes, I went ahead and found fabrics that worked for both.  I searched yard sales, thrift stores and my own storage.  I got 2 sheets on clearance at a thrift store for $2 in navy and dusty blue (that's a ton of fabric for that amount).  I found a red & white stripe at a yard sale for $3 for 4 yards.  I already had a Mickey print and a red and a light blue/white stripe.  Then I found a multi-sport print at JoAnn's.  It was the most expensive at $4.19/yard on sale, but it tied everything together.
I made my own triangle template.  I folded each of the fabrics in half, making sure that if there were stripes, they were lined up the correct direction.
For this project, it really doesn't matter if your fabric is "right" or "wrong" sides together.  I would then lay my template on top of the fabric.  I found it easiest to cut all the way across the fabric of the height of the triangle
After that, it is easy to cut each set of triangles.  I found that if I had the fold to the left, I would get 3 to 5 and 1/2 triangles out of each strip.
You will need to cut out triangles in each of the fabrics.  De[ending on how long you want your banner to be, will decide how many triangles total you need.

Now onto the sewing!
Place your 2 matching triangles (or mismatching if that is the look you want) right sides together.  Sew the 2 sides together, leaving the top open.  I did mine in batches - sew 5 or 6 and then do the next steps, since I was trying the process out.  It would make more sense to do all the sewing at once.
Next, you need to turn them right side out.  It is best to use a pointed tool like the one pictured to the left to push the corner all the way out.  This tool is specifically designer to help push corners out and things like stuffing into small areas, but you could use anything.  If you do not have anything, it will still work, it just will not be as crisp of a triangle.  I used the tool on the triangle on the left and did not on the triangle on the right.
For the next step, I ironed the seams and corners.  Again, this could be skipped, but it would not look as crisp.
You will need to fold in about 1/4 inch of the top edges and iron down flat.  There should be no raw edges showing.  You could pin it down if you want to keep it closed, but I found that if I ironed it well, I did not need to.
I top-sewed down the top edge to keep it from getting messed up.
You should end up with a pile of multi-patterned triangles

In order to figure out the pattern that I wanted, I first laid them out on the floor to play around with color combinations.  I found that some triangles looked better next to others.  For instance, my light blue and the light blue stripe were 2 different light blues, so they did not look good next to each other.  The same could be said of the navy and Mickey on navy.
Once you have your pattern figured out, this also gives you an idea of how long your finished banner will be.

I made a stack of my triangles in the right order so that as I sewed them, I could just easily grab each one in order.
I used an inexpensive white 1/4" ribbon.  Measure how much ribbon you want to hang off the end.  I left about 2' and then started the first triangle.  Using a zigzag pattern to give it a little more strength, I sewed the ribbon to the triangle.  I left about 1 1/2" between each triangle.  Continue sewing triangle and repeating your pattern if needed until your banner is the right size.  Make sure to leave the same amount of ribbon on the end that you left on the beginning.
And WALLAH!  You are done!
Now, you can make a banner for any event and in any color!
I hope feel comfortable trying out this fun and easy sewing project.

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