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I love to make banners. My love affair started at a trade show in Seattle. Seattle Flag Works had a display and were giving out "samples" to play with. I took this 6" X 6" piece of purple fabric that had a white piece attached with a zig-zagged heart shape. In my hotel room I kept looking at the sample and kept thinking about all the possibilities. I hadnt even cut the piece yet and I was hooked.
The possibilities of design include: using ready made patterns; drawing your own (if you are so inclined) or finding appropriate clip art. The possibilities of usage for the flags besides hanging from your porch include: using in your garden; hanging on your recreational vehicle; or taking to sports events.
Lets get started! You will be able to use these directions to create a special flag. We will use these shapes as examples to establish the technique.
The Supply List:
- paper that you will use to draw your design (scrim, pellon etc.)
- paper that tears away clean (tissue, wax paper, or blank pattern paper)
- fine point felt pen
- 15" X 22" piece of 200 denier flag fabric (background)
- large pieces (at least 8" X 10") of contrasting colors 200 denier flag fabric
- thread (use whatever your machine likes to satin stitch)
Step 1: make the flag
- with warm iron, press and fold all edges under 3/8"
- then, fold and press again 1/2" on both sides and the bottom
- to make corners fold over nicely, "open" them up and trim diagonally across boxes that the creases make, then fold the edges back up. This makes the corner less bulky, but is more durable and less technical than the mitered corner.
- Topstitch 3/8" from the folded edge to create hem for those three sides
- Fold over the top to make the header, press lightly. Parallel with the hemmed edge 3/4" and on the fold line, make a 3/4" buttonhole on each side. (This is important on anything but the "sample" because banner poles will have an attachment on them to keep the banner from sliding around). Then, topstitch to form the header. Stitch again 1/4" from first stitching for strength. Now the flag piece is finished.
Step 2: the design
- On the Pellon, draw a triangle with an 6" base and the height of about 12", draw 3 circles within the triangle (this is a party hat) Draw 2 balloons (with trailing strings) off to one side. Give each shape a color number and make a color key at top. Keep in mind that this project is for practice and technique. When you have a ready-made banner pattern, you do not have to do this step .
- Now trace the picture onto the "tear-away" material. The picture on the "Pellon" would be your original that you would want to keep.
- Lay the paper on top of the flag piece and secure at the top of with a pin. Between the paper and the flag piece, slip in the fabric (this piece should be cut larger than the size of the "hat") that you will use for the "hat," secure this with a couple of pins. Cut the colors that will be your "balloons" a little larger than the drawing and slip them between the paper and flag piece (secure them with pins also.)
Step 3: the sewing
- Using a medium length straight stitch, following the lines you have drawn on tear-away, sew through all the layers.
- Now tear away the paper!
- Get out some scrap fabric, and select a satin stitch that is the width that will satisfy you.
- Using your satin stitch, stitch on the lines that you have made with the straight stitch. Go slowly around the circles. Pivot around the corners.
Step 4: the cutting
- On the front of the flag, trim off the fabric that obviously does not belong there.
- Turn the flag over, and cut out the back side of those shapes. This is what makes the flag "two-sided".
After doing a sample piece, you probably will get the idea of the limitations of some designs.
Weather or Not Fabrics & Findings has a good selection of patterns and has UV, mold and mildew resistant 200 denier flag fabric.
Happy Sewing, Michelle
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