Have you noticed that pennant banners are everywhere these days? They’ve become popular decorating items, and no wonder! They’re really cute, whimsical, and also quite easy to make!
My mom asked me to make her a banner for her classroom this year, and I was thrilled to oblige! Then my sister decided she wanted one, and then my cousin. I ended up making three banners in the matter of a few days, but I had a ton of fun doing it and am now hooked on these things!
Being the finicky perfectionist that I am, I wanted to make my banners double-sided, with no raw edges. It adds just a wee-bit more work, but not much at all! In addition, I appliqued the letters to the front of the banner.
Ready to do it yourself?
To start, you’ll need some fabric! I just used cotton quilting fabric. You’ll need as many different varieties of fabrics as suits your fancy (my mom just wanted one fabric and my sister and cousin each picked two). Then you need a small amount of contrasting fabric for your letters (if you’re appliqueing something). Make sure the contrasting fabric really stands out—my one disappointment with my sister’s is that the letters don’t stand out as well as the letters on the other banners that I made. You’ll also need some bias tape. It comes in a package like this:
You’ll want double-fold bias tape. I chose extra wide, but you can pick whichever width you like.
Now enlist your sister to help you make your triangle pattern. Remember, your actual triangle is going to be smaller than the pattern because your seams will eat up some of the size. It took me a few tries to get the exact triangle shape/size I wanted.
If you are able, fold your fabric right sides together so you have two layers. Pin your triangle pattern piece and cut both layers at once. That will give you the front and back of one flag. If you don’t have enough fabric to be able to fold it in half or your fabric is one-directional or whatever, you can cut out the triangles one at a time instead of two at a time. Up to you! The point is, you need a front and a back for each triangle you’re sewing.
You also need some letters to applique! My mom, having been a teacher for 30 years, just happened to have these stencils handy, so I used these. Pin your stencils to the fabric (or trace them if that’s easier) and cut your letters out.
Now applique the letters to whichever triangle pieces you want to be on the front side of your banner. (Need help? Follow my tutorial here.)
Once you’ve appliqued your letters, pin the lettered triangles onto their back pieces (the triangles without letters) right sides together. You’re going to sew down the sides, but not across the top. You can use a small seam allowance, I used 1/2” seam allowances on these, but I think 1/4” would probably have been better. It is important to make sure your seams won’t run through your letters.
Once you’ve sewn all the triangles, iron your seams open! Ironing your seams is really important for this project. It makes the edges nice and crisp-looking.
Once you’ve ironed your seams, you need to trim them to reduce some of hte bulk. Here’s a little tip: trim your seams in “layers”, meaning you’re going to leave one side of the seam longer than the other. This makes it less bulky when you turn it right-side out. For something like this it is generally better to leave the front side longer than than the back side. This way, if your fabric happens to be a little see-through, the longer edge on the front will cover the back edge.
Trim your point straight across, as close to the thread as you can, without clipping the thread.
Now take your bias tape, open it up, and sandwich the tops of your triangles between the two pieces. Try to ensure that the raw edge is pushed right into the fold.
Like so. Pin your triangles where you want them (I overlapped mine a little) and then sew straight across the bias tape. Make sure your triangles are tucked in the bias tape well so that they all get sewn in!
And that’s it!
Here is my mom’s banner gracing her classroom!
Here’s a glimpse of the one I made for my sister. It had her name one it (which is why I’m not showing the whole thing). This one was the hardest because it had the most letters.
And my cousin’s! It was my personal favorite.
Aren’t these fun? I just love them! I hope to make a Happy Birthday banner for my kiddos and some other banners for different seasons.
Last week I made this reversible banner, one side for Fall/Thanksgiving and one side for Christmas. I’ll share more about this banner next week!
Until then, have fun being creative!