DIY Bridal Shower Banner

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February 6, 2013 by erikacsc31

I made a banner for my sister’s bridal shower. I wanted an excuse to use my sewing machine. I knew I wanted to make a simple, pretty fabric banner. My goal was to make something just as pretty as what you might find in-store or online, only better AND just as cheap. I don’t know that I quite achieved THAT, but I’m proud of it nonetheless.

The search was on for some cheap fabric. I knew I had to find fabric squares because I didn’t have enough scrap fabric on hand with the color palette I had in mind. I knew I wanted fabric with nice spring hues. I remembered someone telling me that Wal-Mart had a good craft section so I thought I’d check it out before going to Joann’s.

I’m glad I did!! I found the PERFECT pack of 5″ x 5″ pre-cut quilting squares for $7.99 with plenty of squares to spare (just incase I messed things up). The patterns and colors were exactly what I had in mind. YES! I had both ribbon and twine at home, but I had a lace trim in mind. What do you know?! I found a cute lace trim there: only $2.99 for the entire thing!

I gave way to curiosity and found myself at Joann’s. I wanted to check out their fabric selection. To my surprise, they didn’t have much and what they did have available was: A) ugly, and B) overpriced. Besides, now that I receive text-message coupon codes and mailed coupon offers, I will NEVER buy anything full price from Joann’s again… unless it’s an ABSOLUTE must.

I ALMOST bought some letter stencils at Wal-Mart (which were a great price), but I wasn’t really sold on the font style. It looked like they had more of a selection, but most everything was gone. I checked out the selection at Michael’s, but after I noticed there prices were at least ten times higher, I decided not to buy them there. I was determined to stick to a budget. And then it dawned on me, “I know Chris has used stencils for his school projects, ” I said to myself (literally. I’m known to have full length verbal conversations with myself. Cuckoo I know :/).

One thing I did buy at Joann’s was a basic ivory-colored muslin fabric for what would be the letters on the banner. I went with the one on sale for $2.99 a yard. I bought 1/2 yard. I found the stencils in my garage. Sweet. Not exactly the font I had in mind, but hey, it’ll do.

Here all materials used in no specific order:

  • Fabric squares (5″x 5″ quilting squares)
  • Muslin fabric (for letters)
  • Pencil (for tracing stencils, a fabric pen works too)
  • Stencils (*I used poster letters as stencils, 2 1/2″)
  • Trim
  • Scissors
  • Pins & cushion
  • Fabric Paint (or puffy paint)
  • Hot glue gun (*or sewing machine-if you have one)
  • Fabric Tape (I used Heat n Bond iron-on adhesive)

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After figuring out what my Banner would read: Bride To Be, I cut one of my fabric squares into a triangle shape to use as a cutting pattern for the rest. I didn’t even need to measure them because they were a perfect size.

Time-saver Tip: Fold your square fabric swatch diagonal to make your triangle. Works great if you’re looking to make a banner without letters. DSC_0012

After I was half way through my cut, I realized I could have just folded the squares diagonal to make a triangle. Darn. My letter stencils would not have fit, in my opinion-at least not for the size I wanted my letters to read.

NOTE: make sure your letter stencil will fit in the banner before you cut!

Since the squares were small, I didn’t have much to cut. I wasn’t really concerned with perfection, so long as I cut straight lines.

Once I cut my first triangle piece, I used it as a stencil to cut the rest. In total, I cut 9 pieces. Next, I used my poster letters as stencils and traced and cut all of the letters I would need.

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It was time to place the cut out letters onto their respective fabric. I first laid out the fabric squares in the pattern I wanted.

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Then, I carefully pinned each letter to the fabric to keep intact. DSC_0018

Now here’s where it got tricky for me.

My plan was to sew the letters onto the fabric squares and have the stitching give the letters a pop of color and an outline; I failed to realize that my machine is very, VERY basic. The stitch I had in mind was not available on my machine. I gave it a go anyway, but the stitch…well it pretty much sucked. It was plain and didn’t look good. Plus, it was harder than I thought it would be. TEDIOUS.  Did I mention my machine malfunctioned? CRUD.

After about an hour or so of taking my machine apart, I FINALLY fixed it. Disaster. At least I realized that this wasn’t going to work.

On to plan B: Fabric tape.

Fabric tape was an added expense I didn’t originally plan for, only $2.99 (on sale) at Joann’s. Not too bad.

So…I wasn’t really impressed with fabric tape. Or, maybe I didn’t use it correctly? I have no idea! Eventually, it did come in handy, just not for my letter cut-outs.

Onto plan C… I pulled out the good’ old fashioned glue gun.

When in doubt, go glue gun :0)  It did the trick.

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I hot glued each letter onto my triangle swatch. DSC_0001

Next,  I placed my lace trim along the upper edge of my flags… DSC_0008

and then used my iron-on adhesive to apply the trim to my cut-outs. DSC_0004

Lesson here: I learned how to take my machine apart and how to follow directions! Well…kind of.

I learned that there are two distinctive differences between the following:

what I WANT to do vs. what I’m CAPABLE of doing.

Two very different things, apparently.

I also realized it’s time for a new sewing machine. For now, it functions for basic projects. But if I want to step it up, I need to upgrade!

Finally, after I put the whole thing together, I let it dry. Soon, I realized what I had been dreading was indeed the case: the letters were too light and needed that pop-which I had planned to give them with a bright-colored stitch (only that didn’t quite work out). So, I bought some brown fabric paint (as my little sis suggested) for less than a dollar at Michael’s  and outlined the letters…

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okay, okay. I had my sister do it.

Nevertheless, I finished the banner! HOORAY!

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Total project cost: $14 dollars. Not too shabby. Well, you can be the judge of that. Maybe I just think it’s fabulous because I put it in all the effort and am just happy to have seen an end product! Either way, I’m pleased! 🙂

Now, onto the next one! I hope my experience doesn’t turn you away from a DIY project. That was not my intention!! I simply wanted to document my experience.

Learn. Grow.

Until next time,

Erika

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