Remember this fabric? I’ve finished my project with it – a happy birthday banner.
Truth be told, this is my second time making this banner. You can see a picture of the first one here. I made a couple of mistakes on that banner:
- I accidentally sewed the two scallop pieces together before sewing my letters on. This means there’s an ugly side showing (but fortunately my sister and brother-in-law still said they liked it and just put that side against the wall).
- I had a really hard time finding coordinating fabric (the party theme was monkey, with the colours yellow, brown and green). I have since learned that purchasing fabric online offers you much more selection allowing better matches.
Want to make a birthday banner yourself? There is a fantastic and easy tutorial over at Kelsey’s blog Vanilla Joy: Making up & over. The tutorial includes a pattern for the letters and the scallop pieces. Kelsey did an excellent job of providing detail and photos, making this a great beginner sewing project.
I did a couple of things differently than Kelsey. I used a zigzag stitch to sew my letters on (see below). I also made the banner double-sided as we’ll be hanging it up outside with both sides visible for Maddy’s birthday in June. I forgot to notch the curves… and when I remembered I was too lazy to go back and do it. It turned out okay, but I’m sure the scallop pieces would be more rounded had I notched the curves. I don’t have a point presser or a mini iron, so I just ironed the seam allowances open as best I could with our regular iron and it worked okay, but Kelsey said using a mini iron cuts the time this step takes by more than half.
I figured this was a good project to practice my sewing on – and goodness, you can see the difference already! Here is one of the first letters I did:
And here is one of the last letters:
Before starting to sew the letters on, I read through Melissa’s (of the blog Sew Like My Mom) applique tutorial on curves. She stresses that you must go slowly. I sometimes have a hard time going slow and suddenly make a mistake. I need to work on that still. She offers some other helpful tips and tricks that I suggest you read through if you’re new to applique.
I also learned some of my own tricks. I used the hand wheel to manually sew on curves or tough spots on the letter (like the circular insides of letters). No matter how slowly I attempted to go, I was having a really tough time with those inner circles. Using the hand wheel was really helpful (though, I hope one day I won’t need to use it as much).
I’m so excited to have this to celebrate Maddy’s first birthday in a few months (Eek – I can’t believe how quickly this year has flown by!).