by Rebecca Kemp Brent
It’s a banner day at my house! I’ve been asked to stitch a new banner for Sewing Secrets. With colorful fabrics on hand and zakka style inspirations – and lots of wonderful threads to choose from – I’m ready to go.
First we chose a font. Digitizing software provides tons of choices, and it’s a challenge to find the right one. It’s easy to change the letter size and word arrangement, though.
Next, I cut the fabrics into 1 1/2″ squares and arranged them to be sure the colors are well mixed. Those squares get a lot smaller when the seam allowances are taken!
I like to chain piece the squares. I assemble rows of three patches and then sew the rows together to make the pieced panel, all without clipping the thread chains. It’s a great way to stay organized. I also like to use a 1/4″ foot with a guide to keep the seam allowances even.
I decided to assemble the banner on a base of quilt batting. The needlepunched batting is strong enough to hold up as a backing, and having the backing in place before I begin the embroidery and decorative stitches will give the piece more texture.
The best part: choosing which threads to use. Heavy? Shiny? Variegated? All of them?
One of the font possibilities is made with running stitches. To ensure good visibility on the banner, I’m wondering if I could stitch the letters with Dual Duty XP Heavy thread. I tried a sample both ways, and ultimately decided to stay with the All-Purpose weight, but with a larger needle and some care to keep the knots from building up on the fabric surface, I think Heavy thread is also a possibility. The moral is: always stitch a sample first!
After marking the location, I hooped the fabric and stabilizer. This is the easy part: just push a button and let the machine do its job.
To finish up the banner, I put three rows of decorative topstitching to the left of the pieced band: straight stitch with Dual Duty XP Heavy, straight stitch with polyester Machine Embroidery thread (shiny!), and a triple-stitch zigzag with a multicolored Machine Embroidery thread that coordinates really well with the fabric colors. I’ll finish the edges to be tidy, and then the banner is ready for its closeup!
Thanks Rebecca!! We selected the bolder font to debut. What do you think?
About the Author
Lynn is Director of Consumer Services with Coats & Clark.