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How to Sew a Fabric Banner – Beginner Friendly Project

How to Sew a Fabric Banner – Beginner Friendly Project

In my last post, I had made some bunting to add a pop of color and whimsy to my daughter’s play area. 

While the bunting served that purpose, I think the area still needed something a little more pzazz.

After a bit of head-scratching and online browsing, I started to come across fabric banners. 

I almost bought one, but then I decided to try making one.

It turned out better than I expected, so I decided to share it with you!

Fabric for Banner

For the actual banner itself, I used some duck canvas

I knew I wanted the banner to be sturdy and have a certain degree of stiffness, and I happened to have some duck canvas leftover from a previous project.

I think denim would make a good alternative fabric, though I have never attempted to make this project using denim.

For the decoration/letters, I used the leftover fat quarters from the bunting project. 

Size for Banner

My finished banner measures 21.5 inches x 13 inches.

This project can be as small or as large as you want! Just take seam allowances (approximately 0.5inches per side, and 2 inches for the casing) into consideration!

Hand Sewing and Lessons Learned

Though this is a relatively simple project, I learned a lot from this project.

I may need to invest in a walking foot for my sewing machine. I struggled to sew certain raw edges and the pom pom trim with my machine.

In the end, I had to remove the pom pom trim and sew it by hand.

I was nervous about this as I have always struggled to make hand stitching look neat.

However, I recently invested in some good quality hand sewing needles, cotton thread and beeswax.

It made hand sewing a dream!

I conditioned the thread by running it through the beeswax first and sewing through the bottom hem to attach the pom pom trim. 

It took a moment to get the hang of it, but it was surprisingly easy and very quick.

It goes to show that investing in the right tools pays off (and in this case, was purse friendly too).

I paid $1.75 for the needles from a local sewing shop, $2 for the thread from (from Going Coastal Fabrics via Etsy) and $3 for the beeswax from (from Allie Bee Candle Co via Etsy).

Supplies Used:Sewing Machine

  • Needle Size: 100/40
  • Cutting Mat
  • Scissors
  • Ironing Board and surface
  • Clear Ruler
  • Pins

Hand Sewing

  • Needle Size 9
  • Cotton Thread
  • Beeswax
  • Scrap cotton fabric
  • Duck Canvas
  • Pom Pom Trim
  • Steam to Seam 2 (heat activated pressure sensitive fusible web)
  • Dowel rod
  • Twine

Banner Instructions

1. Prep your fabric(wash, dry and iron)! Follow the care directions for your fabric.

2. Cut your fabric out to the desired size (I did 23 1/2 inches by 14 inches)

With the wrong side facing up (if using a patterned fabric), fold approximately 0.25 inch from the edge of your banner fabric and press in place.

Repeat this, but only on the sides and bottom of your fabric (so three sides have been folded twice).

Fold the top of the fabric down to make a casing for the dowel. My casing measured approximately 1.5 inches.

Pin the folded edges in place.

Sewing as close to the edge as possible, sew in place.

Optional Step: Adding a pom pom trim.

Pin pom pom trim on the back of the bottom hem. 

Using a whip stitch, hand sew into place, ensuring you only sew through the hem.

Sew around the edge 2-3 times before knotting off as close to the pom poms as possible.

Iron your sign!

Letters/Drawing Instructions

Prep the fabric you will be using to stick on your sign. Follow the care instructions!

I SWEAR I ironed it before using these pieces!

Either hand draw or using a template, put the desired sign on the Steam a Seam 2 paper. If using letters, you may need to draw your design backwards (I only realized this once I messed up the first letter, so I don’t have a picture of the ‘backwards’ template).

Cut out your design. Lay out your design on your fabric to make sure you are happy with the placement.

Something I found helpful: once I was happy with the placement of the letters, I used a water soluble pen to draw a line on my banner to ensure I stuck the letters in the right place.

Ensure the marking tool you use is appropriate for your fabric (I drew on and ironed scrap duck canvas, and was still able to easily wash it out).

Remove backing (non gridded side) and place on the back of your fabric.

Cut out letters. Peel off paper and stick on your banner. 

Feel free to play with placement again, as it won’t permanently stick in place until you iron it.

Once happy with placement, press down on the design with iron for 20 seconds.

If using a water soluble pen, you should be able to remove the blue lines with a damp cloth.

Put your dowel through the casing you made.

Using your desired yarn/twine/cord, tie it on the end of your dowel.

Wrap it around each end of the dowel a few times and tie a knot.

I ended up using around 60 inches of cording, and wrapping it around each end ten times. Probably didn’t need as much, but I don’t mind how it looks.

Hang in place! You just finished making a fabric banner!

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed making this project, and it has done what I wanted. The walls definitely feel a little less bare now.

Now that I have posted these pictures, I noticed a pom pom is hanging too low. It’s an easy fix, but still annoying.

I also need replace the blade on my rotary cutter. I assume that is the reason my fabric hasn’t been cutting as neatly as I would like.

The letters are not topstitched on either, as I quite like how it the word look right now. The option to go back and do that is always available though!

So, not quite perfect, but overall, I’m proud of this project and learned a few things.

And the little one really likes it, which is the main thing I suppose!

I would love to hear from you! If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below or contact me via the Contact Page.

If you decide to try this project out, I would love to see it! Email me, or tag me on Instagram or Facebook.

Happy Sewing!!!

Amrita

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