I was very excited when Eileen gave me the opportunity to write this month’s Monogram of the Month feature. I’ve had my eye on the banner designs from JoAnn Connolly’s book, Sweet Stitches – and decided instead of monograms today I’d do a fun banner. I’m quite fond of quick and easy projects that require minimal effort but create lots of joy while I stitch. And these designs fit my requirements to the letter! (Pun intended!)
I wanted to make something special for my friend, Jean, who will be celebrating her 95th birthday. Friends and family are gathering this 4th of July weekend to celebrate her day. I decided to make a festive banner to mark the occasion—plus it would make a great backdrop to take photos of her with her family. Great memories everyone can cherish!
Like most of our readers, I like fabric and I eagerly sign up for any excuse to buy more, more, more! But this time, I decided I’d challenge myself—really test my nouveau designer skills and gasp… use what I already have!
I rummaged through my containers of fabric – I was certain I had nothing! Nothing! But wait… that polka dot fabric is kinda cute. Actually, it’s very cute. So cute, I haven’t used it because I wanted to use it for something special. It was a small remnant I purchased over a decade ago from Hancock Fabrics. It’s perfect. Once I found the main fabric it was easy to add other coordinating fabrics.
My next challenge was figuring out what combination of letters to use. “Happy Birthday” is an obvious choice. But I decided to go with something more universal—and that can work all year long—“Celebrate”. After all, life should be a celebration—especially when you have lived 95 years!
Sweet Stitches comes with an accompanying CD. I transferred the letters to spell “Celebrate” to a USB stick for my embroidery machine. Then I stitched the designs.
- Be sure to keep the book handy! The photos and step-by-step instructions will guide you along the way. Initially I thought I didn’t need to read the steps—I like a challenge. But after stitching a few samples I decided I’d go ahead and read the steps. Surprise, surprise! Following the steps made the process much simpler.
- JoAnn has a reason for suggesting you use Temporary Spray Adhesive when working with applique fabrics. If you don’t… you might end up with puckers! Oops!
- Applique scissors are especially useful when trimming.
- If you place white on top of a busy fabric, be aware of the possibility of fabric show-through. My first ‘careless’ attempt to solve this problem was to place a second layer of white fabric. But the fabric I was using was very heavy—so when it came time to trim the two layers of white fabric, it wasn’t an easy or flawless task. Argh!
My second attempt was much better. I used a layer of stabilizer underneath the white fabric.
- Mix & Mingle… and have fun! Don’t feel like every letter has to be the same color. Mix and match. That’s what makes the process fun. Plus this gives you a chance to use small fabric scraps.
Here’s a look at the finished banner! I look forward to decorating for Jean’s birthday and creating fun memories! Imagine the banners you can make for someone special! Give it a try.