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Everyone loves celebrating, right?! And if you love decorations to add happiness and festivity to your home, holiday or party, learn how to sew a pennant banner so that you can customize it to your personal needs!
These banners are easy and a perfect project for beginners, as well as a perfect gift for your loved ones this coming holiday season! You just need to know a little bit about bias tape, and you can sew up a bunch of festive bunting! (See my series on how to make and use bias tape!)
Kids LOVE banners with their names! My children each have their name banners in their favorite colors hanging up over their beds. But you can go totally wild with the words you put on your banners. You can really get creative with this project!
Are you ready to learn how to sew a pennant banner with appliqued letters and words? Let’s get started!
- Fabric yardage or scraps. For this banner, I used the extra corner pieces left over from one of the circle skirts that I sewed for my daughter (and which you can just barely see a couple of photos above – get the free circle skirt tutorial and pattern for girls and women here!). How much exactly you need depends on what shape/size pennants you will make.
- Double fold bias tape. Any size is fine, but I prefer 12.5mm (½”) double fold. You can use storebought bias tape or make your own! I highly suggest you use the continuous bias tape method that I explain in this sewing lesson so that you will have a lot of bias tape in the perfect color without having to piece together a bunch of separate strips. The exact amount you need depends on how long your banner will be.
- Smaller scraps of fabric for appliqué letters.
- Heat’n’Bond Lite* for appliqué.
- Celebrate! Banner pattern (optional)
You can just create your own banner template and appliqué letters, or make it easy (and quick!) on yourself with my Celebrate! Banner pattern! Spend less than you would for a coffee, help fund this website, and be able to make loads of bunting banners in tons of different ways! The Celebrate! Banner pattern includes five shapes, each in four sizes, as well as four sizes of appliqué letters (upper- and lower-case), numbers, symbols and shapes. In just minutes you can start making the perfect banner! There are so many options, including single-layer flags, no-fabric banners and even no-sew banners!
Now, let’s get started!
Sewing the pennants:
1. Cut out the flag shape and size that you like most from the Celebrate! Banner pattern, or just draw up your own template. Here I am using the size L Triangle flag.
2. Trace the flag pattern onto the wrong side of your fabric. Make sure that you trace two per flag, one for each side. Then cut out the pieces.
If you’re using larger scraps, you might be able to fold your fabric together, right sides facing, before tracing so that you automatically end up with two pieces in one go, like I did above.
Use any shape you want, but the Triangle fits together the best for the least amount of fabric waste, as you can see indicated by the arrows in the picture above.
3. Trace the letters, numbers or symbols that you need from the Celebrate! Banner pattern onto the paper side of the Heat’n’Bond Lite*. I used the size L letters and shapes. Trace as many of each letter as you need. For example, I traced three “e”s for the word “Celebrate”.
Again, if you aren’t using the Celebrate! Banner pattern, just make up your own letters, but just make sure that you trace them as a mirror image, as you can see above.
4. Cut around the traced letters, leaving some extra space around them, and iron them onto the wrong side of the appliqué fabric, following the instructions on the Heat’n’Bond Lite* package. Then cut out the letters and shapes along the lines.
4. Peel off the paper backing of an appliqué letter and center it onto the right side of one flag. Iron it in place, again, according to the instructions on the Heat’n’Bond Lite* package, then sew all around the edges with a zig zag stitch or blanket stitch. If you’re new to appliqué, read my machine appliqué sewing lesson to learn more about it! (#1 above)
5. Put the appliqued piece on top of a non-appliqued piece, right sides facing, and pin all sides together except for the flat top. (#2 above)
6. Sew along the pinned sides with a 1 cm (3/8″) seam allowance, then clip and notch any corners or curves. See my sewing lesson on turning and topstitching to find out more about clipping and notching. (#3 above)
7. Turn the flag right side out, pushing curves and corners out completely with a chopstick or other blunt point, and iron flat. Then topstitch close to the sewn edges. (#4 above)
8. Repeat for all of your flags.
Looking great so far!
Putting the banner together:
9. Cut the length of double fold bias tape that you’ll need. Calculate the number of flags by the top width of the flags and then add extra for hanging. I like long strips to hang for more versatility, so I usually add about 70 cm (28″) per side.
10. Turn each end of the bias tape wrong side out along the center fold and pin it together. (#2 above)
11. Sew across the short edge with about 1 cm (3/8″) seam allowance, then trim close to the seam. (#3 above)
12. Turn the bias tape right side out again, folding the raw edges back inside and pushing the corner out with something pointed. I use the tips of my fabric shears. (#4 above)
Now both ends of the bias tape are finished nicely.
13. Fold the bias tape in half to find the center and mark it with a pin. (marked above with the center arrow)
14. Slide the two center pennants inside the fold of the bias tape on either side of the center pin, and pin them in place. Make sure the unsewn edges reach the inside fold of the bias tape. (marked above by the side arrows)
15. Continue pinning the pennant flags in place in the correct order.
16. Sew down the strip of bias tape, from one end to the other, close to the edge.
And that’s it! You’re done! Wasn’t that easy?
All you need to do now is throw a party and celebrate!
But don’t think that these banners are only for parties! Once you have learned how to sew a pennant banner and how to personalize it with appliqued letters and words, you can create a banner for any situation, holiday or… just for everyday fun!
Why not create an inspirational banner with your favorite word? (Here is the Celebrate! Banner‘s curved flag.)
You don’t even have to use fabric, if you don’t want! I sewed this paper banner a few years ago because I wanted a colorful prop for my no-sugar lemonade recipe. I gave my kids some crayons and instructed them to color some old discolored cardstock. I then cut out the pieces of paper from the pattern and sewed right across the tops of them, leaving long tails of thread for hanging!
And let’s say you don’t want to sew at all? No problem! Trace the pattern out twice for each flag, with the top edges touching, then fold the piece in half, as I did with this rainbow glitter paper. Glue it in half with colorful string holding the pennants together! This no-sew banner is a perfect way to involve young children in making banners!
The important thing is to just have fun!!
Now that you know how to sew a pennant banner, make sure you check out the Cucicucicoo Pattern’s new pattern for the Celebrate! Banner! This very inexpensive pattern gives you virtually unlimited banner options, letting you start creating at a moment’s notice!
In fact, I invite you to take a look at some of the incredibly creative ways my pattern testers hacked this pattern to make their own very original banners!
Don’t forget to check out the other tutorials and lessons (and the rest of the Bias Series) on the Cucicucicoo’s Learn to Machine Sew beginner’s sewing course!
And of course, don’t forget to save this tutorial on Pinterest!
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6 thoughts on “How to Sew a Pennant Banner with Letters and Words”
These are so fun! And what kid wouldn’t want their own name banner?! What a great idea!
They are SUPER fun, Linda! Not only to hang up, but also to think up creative ideas for them! And not only for kids; I have my own hanging up, too, though not with my name on it. I’ll be showing a tutorial for that one another time! 😉
love it! pinning it to my birthday diy board!
Oh, yay, Jeanine! These are really perfect for a birthday party!