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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Pennant Banner How-To

I am totally digging my new pennant banner in the craft room!  I finished it off and wanted to show you my version of how to make one.

For this particular pennant banner, I fell in love with the orange paisley fabric shown above.  I loved it so much, I decided a banner would be a great way to use just a snippet, without having to change my whole color scheme in my room.  I started out finding 5 or 6 coordinating fabrics to go with it, but by the time I landed my stack at the cutting counter I was staring at 12 different fabric bolts.  The more the merrier, right???
I purchased 1/4 yard of each fabric and ran home to get started.  

My first step was to straighten up the fabric edges.  I am terribly lazy and try to cut the fabric as quickly as possible.  These pennant banners are very forgiving, so you can get away with stacking up 4 fabrics {folded in half, so actually 8 layers of cotton fabric} and cutting them all at once.    

When it comes to the pennants, it is a fabulous idea to stack the fabric wrong-sides together.  Once you have your pennants cut out, they are already matched into pairs and ready to be stitched together!!!

I normally line up the 1/4 yard pieces on my cutting mat.  They are placed as best as possible so they line up along one horizontal line, and one vertical line, so a rough 90 degree angle.  When I do this it is very important to keep track of selvage edges that are not printed.  If you don't know what a selvage edge is, it is the bound edge of the fabric that runs the whole length of the fabric.  

Wikipedia shows this picture.  They define selvage as  "the self-finished edges of fabric. The selvages keep the fabric from unraveling or fraying."

When laying the fabric on the cutting mat, I generally pick a line I will cut on, then make sure that all pieces of fabric are just over that line.  That way when I cut the fabric, all the loose threads were cut off and nothing but a straight even edge remained for measuring.  

Up until this point, I only used my straight blade on my rotary cutter.

Once I had all four edges of the fabric stack cut into a perfect rectangle, I removed the straight blade and put on the scalloped blade.

It looks like this...
There are a couple different patterns of blades sold.  There is a wave blade, that is nice because you don't have to pay attention to which way your blade is turned.  With the scalloped blade I had, I always had to double check that I was holding the rotary cutter the right direction before cutting so that the scallop was facing the right direction.  You will see more what I mean in a minute.

In the center of my cutting mat there is a square that contains several different angles.  These angles are there to assist you with all of your cutting needs.  When I make my pennant banners, generally I like the width to be about 6" and the length to be just over 9".  None of these angles printed on the mat match that angle.  This is what I do....I lay my stack of fabric so that the right side is on or to the right of the 8" mark shown by the bottom brown pointer.  I place the edge of my ruler on this mark, then line my ruler up with the second point, or the upper brown marker, at about 4" 10 inches higher.  The brown pointers show my first cut.  

Without moving the fabric, I then place my ruler on the lower pink mark, or on the 2" mark, and then align it on the upper pink mark as well, on 6" 10 inches higher.  I cut again and then the first stack of pennants are ready to sew.  Please note that I always cut on the outside of the ruler.  That is a very helpful rule to follow, so if your cutting blade goes a little off course you do not cut into your piece.  If you end up off track, just start again and fix the mistakes!

OK, so this was my first piece.  Looks great!
Notice the scallop.  It scallops toward the inside of the triangle leaving cute, round scallops.  If you look at the scrap to the left in the picture, the edge is spiky.  The spiky is fun too, but I usually pick on look, scalloped OR spiky, and that is why it is important to watch what direction the scalloped blade is facing. 

My next move was to slide the fabric stack to the right until the bottom corner was at about the 9" mark.  Because I used the scalloped cutting blade I needed to leave some extra room.  I positioned my ruler on the 8" mark on the bottom edge, then made sure the upper end intersected the 4" mark at 10 inches up.  Sometimes, unless your fabric is cut 10" or shorter, you may have to lift the top edge of the fabric to peek under and see if the ruler is in the right spot.  Sometimes you can determine a mark higher on the cutting mat to mark by to make things easier on yourself.

When I cut my second pennant out, notice that I had a whole chunk of fabric stack left over.  

It was at this point that I turned it upside down...
Lined it up on the 8" mark, and cut another pennant out of the scrap.

I cut three pennants out of each piece of fabric, but I only cut out 9 pennant pieces, 2 cuts each.  That is the fabulousness of the fabric stack!  

Now, I mentioned that I layered the 12 fabrics into 3 stacks.  Before you do anything else, layer them all in the order you want them to appear for easier pennant assembly later.

I typically set my stitch length longer for the pennants.  I like to sew either a straight or a zig-zag stitch to bind the two layers together.  I started sewing on the top, right side of the pennant, sewed down to the point, put my needle down, then sewed back up the left side.  

Here is the other vital tidbit of information!  Do not pull the pennant out of the machine!  Leave your needle down...
lift the presser foot and insert the next pennant to be sewn.  

Sew that pennant down to the corner, put the needle down, lift the presser foot, pivot the pennant and put the foot back down.  Sew up the other side, put the needle down, lift the presser foot, then insert the next.  Repeat, repeat, repeat!  I am betting that you can get them all sewn together in a 1/2 hour or less {barring any interruptions}.

Since the pennants were layered in order before you started sewing, your fabulous string of pennants is in order and all ready to be sewn to a ribbon or bias tape!  I had a bag of 2" cream burlap just begging to be put to work.  That was what I sewed to the long string of pennants I had created.

Fabulous.  I can never make up my mind about how to hang the darn things, but I basically feel no room is complete without a pennant banner of some sort ;0)

I am thinking I need some of the corners higher...or maybe lower.  Or perhaps to the side...
Oh!  I can never make up my mind!  Prepare for constant moving in this room.

Don't throw those scraps away!  I have the perfect project for them too :0)
More on that later.



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