Making a Beautiful Fabric Banner with a Patchwork Heart....Photos of a Work in Progress

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Making a Beautiful Fabric Banner with a Patchwork Heart....Photos of a Work in Progress

I've missed you all so much! And I've missed blogging! You can't believe all the neat posts I've saved up for you and the photos too. :o) I can't wait to see what you all have been doing this week as well--it's so nice to be HOME again. :o)

After days and days of catching up on the housework, bills, necessary sewing and estate work for my father, it's hard to believe I'm really getting to do what I love most of all...fabric art! I have a sewing blog that you may not be aware of, but it's mostly just to catalog things as I make them. It's called DC's Creations.  I don't know if I qualify yet as a 'fabric artist', but that is my passion. I've won several awards at art shows hosted by Shona Cole of An Artful Life and Grace Community Church, but I'm still not sure. I don't know if I ever will be. Tee-hee! But still, this is what I love doing when I  have any spare time at all. (Now Shona IS an artist and her work is GORGEOUS. You should definitely check out her blog! She is incredibly inspiring and has one of the most beautiful blogs I've ever seen! My photos look good only because of her. :o)

One of the things I've learned how to do very well in the last seven years, is to make banners.  Since I sewed and designed 12 worship banners for our church, I'm sure it made sense to my friend's husband to ask me to make the banner for her special ministry weekend. I've done a banner for this particular ministry before for another weekend leader and it was such a privilege! I don't charge for this sort of thing--It's a labor of love.

And because it's a surprise, I'm only showing you bits and pieces. This banner is for the leader of the women's ministry weekend coming up at Tres Dias and it is a gift for her. So, I won't be showing you the final banner,  until after the weekend has come and gone and it has been presented to my friend Peggy.

Planning where to put the scraps based on color and design.

I want to explain, in depth, how I pieced the heart which is the center piece of this banner on another day. (I've always wanted to learn how to 'foundation piece' and now I know--wow--it's so fun!), but I have to have this done by Oct. 7th. So, I'm just showing you some photos of this work in progress, without a lot of explanation. A friend, is coming over to do hand-work--bless her little heart! I'm saving the heart for her to quilt. :o)

When I started this project, my friend's husband gave me the bag of fabric which matched the cardstock for all the little tags and correspondence for the ministry weekend, and some pieces of the cards and scrapbook materials used as a starting place.  My goal was to use this fabric and the scripture and my friend's desire for a scrappy heart to design a banner. (I have to say that I LOVE these colors and patterns! I'm so impressed that they picked out the perfect selection of fabrics to work with. :o)

I have spent the whole day working laboriously on measuring and re-measuring--calculating and then calculating again so that when I finally pick up the rotary cutter or scissors, I won't make a mistake. It's so easy to do that! I'm working alone today because I have to concentrate or make big mistakes! I'm SOOOooo tired. I can't tell you how bad my feet hurt. My wise daughter said, "Hello--Mom--where are your tennis shoes?--Why are you working barefoot?" So of course, I put on my shoes right away. :o)

I've done so many quilts, that the planning and making of the mock up using the paint program and Picasa, was a cinch. Without this mock up, which takes several hours to do, the whole project would be a wash! I do the mock up, keeping in mind the proportion of 4' x 6' and then print it out about 8" x 11" which is close to the 4' x 6' size.  I tried so many variations-- green background with red border and vice-versa--4 x 6 versus 4 x 5 and then sent them on to Dan for approval.

The mock up is the key to a successful banner! How convenient that someone had quilted a crazy quilt heart in complimentary colors for me to use for the mock up. Of course, the fabric was all wrong, but I like to give my 'clients' and/or friends a really good mock up so they know what they are getting. I'd rather them change things BEFORE I start cutting and stitching, rather than after. :o)

When I blow it up with my projector, I can trace the lettering and measure the design features so that everything will be the right size...only much bigger!  I'm so glad one of Peggy's friends, from church, offered to help. She is cutting out the letters for me, while on vacation. (Yes, I AM learning to delegate!!)

I can do this in my sleep, but I still stress over it. I'm meticulous at this stage because if the planning and cutting goes right..the actual sewing is a cinch!  Working with expensive tapestry fabrics, that someone else paid for, can be a bit stressful. I take every precaution I can. This is where my perfectionism really pays off. BTW, I used to NOT be a perfectionist, but that was BEFORE I learned to quilt. In quilting, every 1/16" of an inch MATTERS.

I plan to quilt the heart but won't be adding any decorative stitching as is traditional with a crazy quilt pattern, but that's OK. She just wants the design to be homey.

 Jeanne, Me, Tammy (my bestest friend ever!) , Peggy (whose husband asked me to make the banner),  Alison, Debbie, Julie, Rachel ( the expert quilter), and Angela (one of my sweetest friends!)
I have gotten Tres Dias friends of this friend (Peggy --right in the middle of this photo from several years back)  involved and they will be dropping by during the week to help make the banner. We want this to be a 'group' project. One friend is an expert quilter who excels with the sewing machine and another  (who is not pictured) loves to do handwork.She is Christi from LachPach Pics --Hallelujah! I'm saving up all the rest of the work for when they come over.:o)

One of my fun challenges for tomorrow is going to be to design a pieced border that matches the scrapbook border design of the name tags and place cards. The card's edging was cut out by a pair of scrapbook scissors.  My job is to design a border that replicates that border, for the banner.

In this photo, I had to sew on a piece that had an obtuse angle. The option was to 'inset' the piece for the heart, or hand-applique the piece to it.  Of course, I chose the hand-sewing option. :o)  I had already sewn most of the seam in this picture--I was down to the last stitch. As you can see this yellow piece of fabric was not a straight edge!

This pieced border will be made from the scraps used to piece the center heart. I will be hand-appliqueing the scrapbook edging. This is what I love to do more than anything in the world--needle-turn applique'. I've worked for years to develop this skill.  For me, this is easy. Thanks again, Margie, wherever you are, for teaching me how to needle-turn applique.  You will never know how your faithful supervision has paid off, all these years later. :o)

I have to ask you now, do any of you like to hand-work?  Which do you like best--machine work or hand-sewing?  I'd love to talk shop with my fellow sewers and quilters out there. :o)

Happy Homemaking!


Trudy said...

Donna, you are definitely a fiber artist. You do beautiful work. It is very artistic. It's so great that you have some ladies helping you with this. That way you can enjoy the process without being overwhelmed.

In answer to your question, I despise doing handwork and quilting. I enjoy looking at someone else's handwork and quilting work, though. I am in awe of those who do it well, you being one of them. I admire this skill very much in others. It's just not something that I enjoy. I pretty much just love to do garment sewing, Faster gratification, and I can wear it. Double bonus.


Thea Ester said...

Thank You for the comment, Donna!

Lovely pictures here, and ooh how lovely friends You have! Thanks God! :)
And Your Banner is very beautiful!

Love, Thea

GlorV1 said...

That is going to be a great banner. Your work is very artistic. You should make banners and sell them on Etsy or at festivals or even garage sales. I bet you would do really good. You are always up to something, I just can't keep up with you. Tee Hee. Today I am cleaning house for sure. I better go so I can start doing that. Have a great week. I loved all the pictures, thx for sharing.

A.Marie said...

Hi there! I came over her from Annie Jones' Blog, Real Life Living. You do fantastic work and your pictures are amazing!!

Maria Killam said...

You are an artist Donna! What a great project, thanks for sharing it with us!

Jill said...

So beautiful! You are truly talented! I just love quilts!


Caroline said...

oh wow, definitely a labor of love! Will you applique all the letters of the verse?

i can't wait to see the finished product!

Donna said...

I'm so glad you all like the banner...such as it is at the moment. Thanks for the encouragement everyone!

I don't plan to applique the whole verse as there just wouldn't be room. But the scripture at the bottom of the post is the theme for the weekend.

Donna said...

Trudy--that's so funny! You are right. Using a machine gets a lot more bang for the buck. That's why I don't quilt a whole lot any more--at least not by hand. And that is exactly why I gave up cross-stitching. It's tons of work with very little result.

Clothes are much more rewarding. But banners are pretty quick too. I love doing them!

Unknown said...

Ok, I hope you aren't expecting too much out of me. I prefer hand work because it goes slowly and not as error prone, for me at least. Eek. I hope I don't let you or Peggy down. But, I will eagerly be there in the morning to stitch between poopy diapers, of course. :-)

Donna said...

Don't worry Christi. It's a little bitty thing compared to a quilt. Just 16 x 17". I don't care how long it takes as long as we finish by the end of the week. I'm just glad you are coming. :o)

“There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~ Margaret Sangster

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