Make a Holiday or Any-Day Banner: Part Two

Now that you know the basics for making a banner, let's get started. As mentioned in the first blog post, select the flag shape you prefer. Design a template to use for marking your shape on fabric. Cardboard, tracing paper, or cardstock are good options. For this project, and for frequent use, I purchased template plastic. Template plastic is available in single sheets in various weights in the quilting notions section of your local fabric store. (Dritz manufactures the plastic that I used.) 

Cut your desired shape. If you use plastic or tracing paper, you can see the fabric design through the shape. Move the shape in different directions to select the desired cutting direction. In Figure 1, I aligned my template to my fabric so that the bottom of the pinwheel handles points toward the tip of the chevron shape. In Figure 2, the tip of the shape points upward in opposition to the direction of the pinwheel handles. Since I want the pinwheel handles to point downward, I must make sure to cut my fabric correctly. Make a written or mental note of this arrangement so that you cut for fabric accordingly. 

 Figure 1:  chevron tip points downward

Figure 1:  chevron tip points downward

 Figure 2:  chevron tip points upward

Figure 2:  chevron tip points upward

Next, decide how you want to cut your fabric if you are making more than one flag from a single fabric pattern. Fold the fabric in half, cut edge to cut edge, and see how many flags can be cut. Unfold, and fold the fabric selvage to selvage. repeat the template testing. Follow the "The Old House" rule:  measure twice, cut once. (I still make mistakes with this rule! Recently, I was rechecking my measurements prior to cutting and mentally patting myself on the back for being cautious. And I cut one segment an inch short anyway. Ugh!)

For this project, I made a chevron that is 7 x 10 inches. I cut rectangles in 7 x 10 inch sections first. Then I used my template to mark the chevron tips. Finally, I used a rotary cutter and ruler to cut out the tips. See Figures 3 and 4.

 Figure 3:  template dimensions

Figure 3:  template dimensions

 Figure 4: chevrons cut and ready for sewing

Figure 4: chevrons cut and ready for sewing

Once you get your flags cut, place the two pieces right-sides together (RST) . See Figure 5. 

 Figure 5: chevrons stacked RST

Figure 5: chevrons stacked RST

Set up your sewing machine to stitch 1/4 inch seams. I used a size 3 stitch length. Remember to leave one side (the top) open. See Figures 6 and 7. 

 Figure 6: sewing a flag together

Figure 6: sewing a flag together

 Figure 7: flag sewn together

Figure 7: flag sewn together

Trim excess fabric from all points. This step removes bulk from the corners.Turn flags right side out (RSO). Use a bodkin, orange stick, pencil, or stiletto to push out corners. Use the tool to bring the seams to the edge of the flag. You want all sides of your flag to be as straight as possible for top stitching. Adjust your needle so that it is closer to the edge of the flag. Top stitch all edges except the top. See Figure 8.

 Figure 8: completed flag

Figure 8: completed flag