For the past 15 years or so, I’ve made personalized gifts for friends and family that commemorate special events like weddings and births. These embellished felt banners combine two of my favorite things, hand embroidery and handwriting. You can see this and other banners by scrolling through the archives here.
Now, I finally had the opportunity to make a banner celebrating a birth in my immediate family! Last month, our son Ian and his wife Liz became the parents of our first grandchild! Little Elias was born on Jan. 18th, 2023, 100 years to the day after my father.
We are all completely in love with with this little guy! I just love watching my son interacting with his son. As an extra bonus, the new family lives practically across the street, so we get to see Elias all the time. I can already feel my focus shifting into Grandma mode, which is a welcome change. Hopefully, there will be room in my heart for both art and being a Grandma.
Naturally, I quickly got to work making a banner for Elias. After picking out the basic color scheme, I wrote his first and middle names in cursive handwriting on paper. Using that as a template, I made a 3-dimensional copy with memory thread. That way, I knew what length of wire to use.
I wrapped the memory thread (or wire) with 3 strands of embroidery floss.
UPDATE: I misspelled Laszlo, which is the baby’s maternal great-grandfather’s name! Watch this video to see the remake.
I usually use variegated floss to wrap the wire, which can look like stripes on the 2nd pass. The wire ends are bent over and wrapped, so that no raw ends are hanging out. It’s similar to the technique I use to make doll limbs in my how-to book Felt Wee Folk.
When I finished wrapping Lazslo and positioned it on the felt background, there wasn’t enough contrast, so I gave it a candy stripe to make it pop more.
I use an ironing board as a work surface. Here, you can see what I’m working on in the middle and on either side are printouts of banners I’ve made in the past, which I used for reference.
I had to wrap the numbers a couple of times because the size was off.
I edged the green felt panel with blanket stitches, using variegated pima cotton thread from the Caron Collection,
I wrote out the birth weight in green first and then did it over in yellow to create more contrast, which seemed to be a recurring theme with this banner.
After sewing the lettering onto the green background panel, I chain-stitched a vine to fill the open space between the names.
Out of my stash, I selected bone beads to make a decorative separator between the names and birth date.
I then sewed the green panel to the lavender background felt.
To make the banner rigid at the top, I made a sleeve and inserted a piece of wood.
I looked through my driftwood collection and found the right sized stick that would work as a hanging bar. I drilled holes big enough to thread cord through.
I fed cord through the holes and a metal bead separator, hiding the tail threads on the back.
This banner will soon hang on Elias’s bedroom door. Welcome to the world little one! We look forward to getting to know you!
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