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″)
- 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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
okay, okay. I had my sister do it.
Nevertheless, I finished the banner! HOORAY!
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.
Until next time,