Party Banner Tutorial

Niki, of HootyCutie Designs was kind enough to do a guest tutorial for all you lovelys. She is an amazingly, talented seamstress and has just started up her own Etsy business. Please give her a warm welcome and check out this very detailed and through tutorial! She puts my sewing tutorials to shame! Take it away, Niki!It is quickly approaching my favorite time of year. Fall! Football season, shortly followed by holiday time… it’s the most wonderful time of the year (I know terrible!). It is my favorite time of year, because there is are so many celebrations and so much time spent with friends and family. And celebrations mean decorations… and so, I introduce the Party Banner Tutorial.

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For this project you will need three fabrics (1/4 yard each):

Party Banner Tutorial
The first step is to cut your triangles for your pendants. For this banner I made them six inches wide, but I’ve also made others eight inches triangles and it works just fine for a larger design. You simply want an even number to make your triangle. First (pic 1) –  lay your fabric (folded in half) out on a cutting board with one corner lined up square with the markings on the board. Second (pic 2) –because you want the top to be 6 inches wide, you are going to angle your cutting board 3 inches from the edge of the top of the fabric to the bottom.( For instance, I started my fabric at the one mark, so I angled my board from 1 at the top corner to 4 at the bottom.) Next (pic 4) – angle 3 inches from the triangle point to the top going in the other direction (first triangle made). From there (pic 6) – angle three inches back the other way and so on until you reach the end of the fabric. This will give you six pendants (2 triangles each… so 12 triangles total).

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Repeat this with your second fabric. In this case I am using a fabric with a directional pattern. So I know what you are going to say. Half of the pendants are upside down. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Simply use the upside down triangles as the back sides of your pendants.

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Now you are going to cut the third fabric for the ties. Lining up the fabric lengthwise, cut two strips 2 inches wide.
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With the remaining fabric you are going to create your letters. Now, if I had one of those fancy cutting machines, I would so have used that! Alas, I do not. This just goes to show you that anyone can make this banner! And trust me, I have terrible handwriting too. Whether you are lucky enough to be using a cutting machine, or doing them by hand, you are going to want your letters to measure 3.5 inches tall by 2 inches wide. (Please ignore my sad excuse for an “S”). I used scissors to cut out the letters and an X-acto knife to cut out the middle of the “O”.
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Party Banner Tutorial
Since N-O-L-E-S is only five letters, and I had six pendants to fill, I came up with a solution. I simply cut out an “FS” from the extra patterned fabric I had from cutting out the other pendants and attached it as I would the letters.Now to add your letters to your pendants. You have several options here. I was going for a more “raw” look, so I chose to simply sew my letters on as is. However, this CAN be time consuming and slightly tricky. So if you want something simpler, you can use iron on fusible (I like Steam-a-Seam Lite) to add the letters. If you choose to use the fusible, I would add the fusible to the letter fabric BEFORE you cut out the letters. If you are going to sew your letters on, remember to sew your letter to only a single layer of the pendant (Why do I mention this? Yeah… I’ve done it).
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Now that your letters are attached, you are ready to assemble all your pendants. For your letter pendants, you will pin one triangle with a letter, and one without making sure you put your pendants right face together. Remember when you make your pendants with the directional fabric that you pair a “upside down” triangle with a corresponding “right side up” triangle. Using a ¼ inch seam (I actually do less), start at the top and sew down one side and then up the other leaving the top open.
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Then you are going to turn the pendants right side out. I use my old dog chewed paint brush to push the tip out.
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Then you are going to press the pendants. I’ve found the easiest way to do this is to start at the tip, working up one side, then flipping it over to do the other side. If you roll the seam between your fingers, it will push it out all the way.

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Next you will need to make the “bias tape” to attach all the pendants together. It is not a true bias tape because we did not cut our fabric on the bias, but this is the method used to make bias tape. You could just buy bias tape, but it would up your cost significantly. The first thing you will do is attach your two strips together with a diagonal seam. I think the pictures do a good job showing how to do this. If you are using printed/one-sided fabric, make sure that you pin them right sides together.

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Then, take a long needle and stick it in your ironing board top creating a one inch gap.

Party Banner Tutorial
Then take your long strip (remember the two strips are now one long strip), fold it in half, and cut an angle on BOTH ends. Feed that angle underneath your one inch gap created by the needle. This will fold your two sides in ¼ of an inch. Feed it all the way through to the other end.

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Fold and press this strip in half. To finish the ends you will fold over the point of the angle you cut in the beginning. Press it in place, and then fold the strip in half for a clean finish.

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The next step is not necessary, but makes hanging the banner much easier. I used the left over fabric from making the letters to cut to small ties to add to the ends of the bias tape. I cut them 2 inches wide and 8 inches long. Follow the same method above, finishing off ONLY ONE end of each strip by tucking the angle.

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Run a stich from the finished end of the smaller strips down to the unfinished angled end. I do my stich as close to the open edge as possible.

Party Banner Tutorial
We are almost there people! Now you need to attach your pendant pieces to your “bias tape” Figure out which pendants are going to be the middle of your banner. I sketched mine out on paper. How do you find the center of the “bias tape”? Since you have sewn two equal length strips together, you can use the middle of that seam as center. Starting on one side of the middle, place one of the pendants in the fold of the “bias tape” and pin it in place. I like to leave a small gap between my pendants, but it is not necessary. Once you finish one side, go back and do the other side.

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If you are adding the small ties, make sure you pin them into the banner at the ends. Use the angle on the unfinished end to make it stick out.

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Last step! Stich your bias tape closed. I pinned the banner towards the left; because that is the way I am going to run it through the machine. This way I can pull pins them out as I go (without ruthlessly stabbing myself).

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Voila! You have a very professional looking party banner!

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Hope you have a great time creating your banner!

Don’t sew? Don’t have time to make it yourself? Just head on over to HootyCutie Designs! I can create a custom banner to match any of your party needs.

By Best Kids Health Blog

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  • The Annessa Family
    September 7, 2011 at 10:08 PM

    Really appreciate you step by step tutorial for this – gives me just enough confidence to give it a go!


  • Stephanie
    September 8, 2011 at 3:50 AM

    Where did you get your cutting board and big ruler thing? I really need to get something similar. I have been eyeballing all my cuts thus far, but I think its time to step it up a notch. I love the helpful tricks you included, like using a paintbrush to poke out corners and rolling the hem in your fingers to get it to pull out! Thanks so much!

  • Niki
    September 9, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    I'm so glad you guys enjoyed it!
    I got the cutting board at JoAnn's by the cutting counter. It is like $30 or $40, but just wait till you have a 40% of coupon and then it isn't so bad. The ruler I got at Bernina (by Fresh Market). I think it was like $35, but well worth it. This one has little rough spots on the bottom to help prevent the board from slipping. You can get other ones at JoAnn's though. I use them with every project… a must have for sewing!