Banners: materia

It’s a slow process to go from “some fabric” to “a banner” sometimes.

At its core, the work of appliqué looks something like this:

  • Cut up a bunch of pieces of fabric and interfacing.
  • Glue the interfacing to the fabric with steam heat.
  • Fold the pieces of fabric into the shapes determined by the interfacing.
  • Pin the fabric pieces to other fabric, in the shapes you’ve decided look best.
  • Sew.
  • Press frequently.

Less frequently included in such lists of steps is the seventh step (which actually goes between all of the other steps, namely, “pray”.  There is a lot of stuff to get right in a banner, particularly a banner which is intended to serve as a magical emblem of the light of the West (Sunset) passing through the door/trilithon into the world we inhabit — an image of knowledge, power and peace.  AWEN.

So here we are. The first of these banners is now essentially complete.  The next step is a little harder.


You see, this banner (like so many others) has tassels down along the bottom. And either tabs or a slot across the top.  But a banner like this is often assembled rather like a bag — two big black panels, one with imagery on it, and one without.  The two panels are sewn together, outsides-in, and then turned inside out.  The edge will then get top-stitched to help hold it together, and maybe tied/button-hole sewn in a couple of places to keep it from looking baggy.

It’ll be great.

But those tassels along the bottom edge? They have to get sewn into the inside-out seam, to secure them quite thoroughly and to hide the loops that hold them together.  That can’t be done early, and it can’t be done until the UPS fairy (or the USPS fairy, who tends to be more reliable) delivers the tassels themselves from the magical land of New York City (and M&J Trims). So now, we wait.  And we check in with the commissioner about how they’re going to be hung — on a rod with a triangular cord, or depended from a rod by banner tabs.  It’s an important question, and we’ll leave it to the commissioner to decide.

And now I get to figure out, and reverse-engineer, how I made the overlapping green and yellow squares on the banner of the East.  It wasn’t very satisfactory, as I recall.  I THINK that I made two large squares of green and yellow fabric, and then interleaved them with strategic cuts.  It was very wasteful of fabric, and didn’t turn out well (or not as well as I’d like on a professional job like this one).  So we ponder new solutions for a while.





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  1. For those of us who don’t know much about advanced sewing:
    * what’s interfacing?
    * was there any reason you chose this method over embroidery or a thermal transfer from vinyl?

    • Interfacing is a whitish material that looks similar to very dense cobwebbing or very loose felt. It varies in thickness from 1/8″ to gossamer, and it usually has a layer of glue on one side. When cut, it holds its cut shape — so you can cut it to a desired shape, like a long skinny triangle, and then fold a piece of cloth around the cut piece to make a shape.

      I chose this technique because my embroidery skills are both ugly and slow. I could do zig-zag appliqué, but I don’t think it looks as clean — it leaves fuzzy edges between the background and the foreground. And I didn’t consider thermal transfer at all, largely because I had forgotten the technique existed. But some investigation of it this morning demonstrates to me that I won’t get professional-looking results that way. I don’t have the right equipment, and don’t have the space to add that equipment right now.

      I’ve also thought about creating pre-printed diagrams that could be printed on cloth at Spoonflower, to make banners. But I haven’t done that, either.

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