December 5, 2009

Henri's Flags

I would like to welcome Erin, Portland mama, writer, crafter, and designer, as a periodic guest blogger on Crafty Bird. Erin answered the Call for Crafters (see the bottom of the page!) and has agreed to share her experiences in using the various patterns we sell to make lovelies for home, family, friends and self. For her first post she chose a pattern from Amanda Blake Soule's book, Handmade Home. I'll let Erin take it from here...

For my first project, I chose the One-Word Banner which is featured on the cover of the book. I decided to make it for my son, Henri, since I have been wanting to put his name above his bed (like his big brother, Oliver's) since we moved in 3 months ago.

I had plenty of cream felt on hand from my handbag supplies and many, many scraps. I sorted through all my scraps to find the perfect fabric and color combination for my sweet little man. In the book Amanda suggests either drawing your letters out freehand or using your computer. I chose the latter as I wanted consistency and perfection with my letters. I printed them out using Word with the font at about 500pts. It took a bunch of experimenting to find just the right font and letter size, and in the end, I changed them up a bit while cutting my fabrics.

Next I wanted to tackle the end pieces. The author had sweet little birds framing her word "Dream." For Henri I wanted owls. I spent a bunch of time drawing out how I was going to do it and finally found inspiration on my neighbor's etsy shop, Little Mama's Designs (she makes owl appliques that I have been drooling over), and Henri's owl bedding.

This is where I added a step. The instructions tell you to place the letters one inch above the bottom of your flag, center them and pin. I went a step further and used some Stitch Witchery to fuse my letters and owls to my felt (you MUST use a press cloth here or your felt will melt...). This step insured that my letters wouldn't move on me during my stitching. Next, I took all of my pieces to my machine and stitched around them with a 1/8" seam allowance—allowing for some natural fraying to occur over time.

Once I had all the letters and owls stitched onto my flags, I grabbed my tub of bias binding and found the perfect chocolate brown binding. I chose to make a slightly longer length for my banner, laid it out and placed all of my pieces, pinning them in place. At this point, I stitched all along the open edge of my bias tape and across the top of the folded over banners, securing them to the binding, and Viola! It was finished! The next morning I was so excited to hang it on Henri's wall, that it was the first thing I did.

I am so proud of how it turned out, and I would have NEVER thought of making a cloth name banner if it wasn't for the book. I am thrilled with the experience and looking forward to my next project out of Handmade Home.

Many thanks Erin!

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