Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Banner--Tutorial

For Little Man's first birthday, I made him this awesome "Happy Birthday" bunting banner.  It looked so festive hanging across the dining room above the cake at the party!  (Check out last week's post about my son's first birthday party and his rainbow cake tutorial.)  Another bonus:  this banner is made with fabric, so I can reuse it year after year. 

I looked for a tutorial online to make this bunting, but couldn't find a really good one.  Several basically said, "cut out triangle shapes and sew together".   I tried to explain a little more clearly how I made mine.
What you need:  I used quilting cottons for the pennants, letters, and ties.
  • 2/3 yd main fabric for the front of the pennants
  • 2/3 yd pennant backing fabric
  • pinking shears
  • 15 feet of bias tape (or 1/4 yd fabric)
  • scraps for letters (or 1/4 yd fabric)
  • fusible web

Let's get sewing:
1. Make your pennant template.  I used a piece of lightweight cardboard.  Mark a 7 x 10" rectangle.  Mark the center of one short end.  Use a ruler to draw two lines from the outside edges of the unmarked short end to the center marking, making a triangle shape.  Cut out on the marked lines.  (Oops, I didn't get a good pic, but this is pretty straightforward.)

2.   Lay out your backing and main fabrics wrong sides together.  Mark the pennants with a fabric pencil.  You can flip your template after each triangle so the shapes "nest" and you don't waste any fabric in between triangles. To spell out "happy birthday" you'll need 13 pennants.

3.  I pinned the triangles inside the marked lines so I wouldn't hit the pins with my pinking shears.  Then, cut through both fabrics at the same time on the marked lines.

4.  Sew along both long edges, about 1/4" from the edge.  I left the pinked edges raw.  Since these won't be washed or handled roughly, I don't think they'll fray much.

5.  Hand-cut out your letters and follow the instructions on your fusible web to adhere them to the main fabric.  I made my letters about 4" tall and 2.5" wide.  If you aren't happy with hand-drawn letters, you can also print a huge font on the computer and use that as a template.

5.  To give the letters a little pop, I zig-zag stitched around the edges with white thread.

6.  If you have bias tape, simply pin your triangles about 1" apart, with about 12" between the two words.  Your tape should cover the top 1/2" of the raw short edge.  Tuck in the two short ends of the bias tape about 1/4".  Then, topstitch about 1/8" from the edge to sew it all together.

If you don't have bias tape, check out how I made my own straight-grain version.
Now, it's time for a birthday party! 
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