Monday, March 3, 2008

Happy Birthday Banner

Can you celebrate a birthday on the day you were born? Well that is what we are doing at the Village Shop Blog. We have been working for months getting this blog and our Etsy shop ready to go, and now it is time to celebrate with our very first tutorial.

I must admit that I was "inspired" by a popular catalouge to make this wonderful Happy Birthday banner. This said catalouge had a wide spread on children's birthday party fixins, including a wonderful banner, that if you were smart you would reuse over and over and over. I made mine pretty gender neutral, and I am going to keep it in the box with my wrapping paper and balloons, so when the big day arrives, I am ready to celebrate.

Let's get started.

Here's what you need:

  • Felt, about 1/2 yard or 13 of those squares.

  • (13) 6" fabric scraps

  • Fusible web or freezer paper

  • Embroidery floss in a variety of colors to match/contrast your fabric

  • A cutting mat, ruler, and rotary cutter

  • Pins, scissors, and a needle
Now while you are at your computer you will want to print out your letters. I used the Century Gothic font in 500pt with the bold feature on. I also used the mirror image feature in print preferences. Print two each of, H, A, P, and Y, and one each of B, I, R, T, and D. (I know you could have figured that out yourself, but sometimes we all need a break.)

Next cut out 13 felt pieces 6x9 1/2 inches.

Now make a mark one inch up from the bottom on each side. Also make a mark at the bottom center of your felt piece. If you are a step skipper like me, you will just use the grid on your cutting mat as a guide. Using your ruler, connect the dots, and cut your diagonal edges, forming a point. You may want to over shoot the center dot, just to make sure you get a sharp point, instead of a dull one.

Next you will fold over the top edge of each felt piece 1" creating a casing for the yarn to run through. Pin each one, and attatch with a blanket stitch. For a diagram on blanket stitching click here. I used the DMC color Ecru for this.

Make a pattern for each letter you need by tracing the printed letters on fusible web or freezer paper. Then cut out the letter pieces, but don't waste your time being too perfect because as you know, you just have to cut them out again once they are adhered to the fabric.

It starts getting exciting here. Lay out your fabric pieces in the order of your choice. This part is so fun to me. Make sure you achieve good visual balance. Layout the letters on top of the fabric pieces.

Then stack them up in order. You wouldn't want to lose all of your hard work organizing those colors and patterns. Take them to your ironing station.

Don't forget to iron them to the WRONG side of the fabric. After they are all stuck on, cut out the letters, perfectly this time. At this point you can peel of the paper backing, and if you chose to use fusible web, you can then iron the pieces directly to your felt pieces, but I am a little scared of melting my felt, so I don't do that.

I just slap a few pins in mine and start stitching using a blanket stitch. This does take some time, but you can do it while you watch/listen to your favorite television program. If you need step-by-step stitching instructions, check here. I can always use a good refresher on the blanket stitch.

Once they are all stitched up, thread the yarn through by taping it to a pencil, or in my case a skewer. I suppose you could hang them all on one string, depending on where you choose to hang your banner. Now you just have to wait for the next birthday. Mine is next in our little family! Yipee!

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