Happy Birthday, Happy Baby!
I know every mom says this, but wow, do our little ones grow fast. I can’t believe that Happy Baby is one! I guess technically he’s Happy Toddler now. We celebrated his birthday a bit late last Saturday. It was a good excuse to finally make a birthday banner like I’ve been wanting to do for a while. You can’t really call this a proper tutorial, but at least it should give you a place to start!
1. Cut triangles out of your chosen fabrics. I cut out 26: one for each letter in “Happy Birthday”. My triangles are about 8” wide and 9” long. I cut them on the fold, so I made my template 4″ by 9″. I made mine to be “girl” colors on one side and “boy” colors on the other. You could just put something completely different on the other side, like “Merry Christmas” or just leave it blank.
2. Cut letters (or pictures, if you want) out of a complimentary color of felt. Make sure you cut out 2 of each if you are making it reversible.
3. Decide what order you want your triangle to be in.
4. Sew the felt letters to the triangles. I’m a lazy appliquér. I didn’t do anything as far as stabilizer or interfacing goes. It makes the letters a bit poufy, but I think that only added to its charm. I simply laid the letter on the fabric triangle, making sure you leave enough room on the top and sides for seam allowance. I had a couple letters where this wasn’t possible. If that happens to you, make sure the top seam allowance is the one you make room for. Otherwise your letter will be covered up by the binding. And that would look silly. I used a straight stitch ¼” from the edge. A zigzag would be cute, or you could try one of your decorative stitches if your machine has some.
5. Once all the letters are sewn on, now you’re ready to sew the triangles together. Don’t do what I did. I foolishly sewed the blue “B” to the pink “B”, the blue “I” to the pink “I” and so on. Those of you who are smarter than me will realize, one side will be fine, but the other will be backward. So right now, the pink side says “Happy dayhtriB”. L I’ll be fixing that. So…make sure you get the letters in the right order if you are making it reversible….last letter of the reverse side sewn to the first letter of the front side and so on. I sewed the triangles together, wrong sides together with a ¼” seam allowance. I left the top open, since it will be covered with the binding.
6. If you have sharp pinking shears and you want to, now would be a good time to pink the edges. I don’t and I didn’t…but the edges will fray. I was just given some pinking shears by my DH’s grandpa, so maybe I will go back and do that.
7. Take a piece of bias binding. I had narrow, single fold bias tape. I was afraid it might be too narrow, but it worked fine. You could make your own also. Four yards was just right for this project. If you have more or less letters, just lay them out and add at least 10” or so, so you have something to tie it up with.
8. There are lots of good tutorials on applying bias tape. I’m not the best at this, so I wouldn’t use my tutorial as a jumping off point. Take the bias tape with the side where you can see the folds face up. Lay it alongside the first triangle, leaving at least 5” for your tie, with the folded side up. Unfold the edge of the bias tape that is lined up with the top edge of your triangle. You will be sewing the right side of the bias tape to the right side of the triangle. Line the bias tape and triangle edges up. Carefully sew just to the right of the fold line of the bias tape. If you have double fold bias tape, use the fold line that is the farthest right. Keep adding triangles until they are all attached.
9. Now, turn the whole thing over. Simple pull the bias tape over the top of the triangles. You will be able to see the seam where you sewed it onto the other side. Try to line of the bias tape so it just covers that seam. Stitch right along the edge of the bias tape, all the way to the end.
10. Viola! A finished birthday banner! Your kids will think you’re amazing (at least they will if they’re 5 and 2).
Please let me know if I can clarify anything. I’d love to see your banners if you make one!