My sweet little daughter's birthday is in just a few days - she is going to be 2! She is starting to get excited about eating a cake, and opening presents...mostly because her older sister is telling her all about it :)
We don't have very many reusable birthday decorations - and I have been wanting to make a Happy Birthday banner for a while now. I gave myself the deadline of my daughter's birthday, and luckily I got it done just in time!
I made it bright and colorful so that we can use it for anyones birthday - boy or girl, young or old :)
It turned out to be very long - so it is hard to photograph in one long swoop...
It would look great outside, but we still have a landscape of snow that is taller than me...so that will have to wait :)
Want to know how it was done?
I made myself a paper triangle template - about 7" tall and 7.5" wide - and cut 26 triangles with my rotary cutter and mat - 13 triangles for the fronts and 13 for the backs, since "Happy Birthday" has 13 letters.
I cut 7" tall strips of fabric, and alternated my triangle template back and forth to make easy cuts.
To spell out "Happy Birthday" I chose a font that I liked on the computer, made it the right size, printed it out and cut around the letters. Then, I put the letters face down on felt, traced and cut around them. I used alternating felt colors - but a single color would also look great depending on the color of your base fabric...
Using a zig zag stitch, I sewed each letter onto a triangle, all around the edges.
I thought it would be cute to make flames coming off the letters - like they were little candles.
I cut 13 flames from yellow felt, and sewed them on with a zig zag stitch...only along the bottom of the flame. I left the top of the flame unsewn for a couple of reasons.
1) I like the look of a "3-D" flame - having the top pop out.
2) I needed to be able to fold the flame back when I sewed the ribbon along the top edge, so that the pointy top wasn't covered by the ribbon.
Next came the ruffles...
I made strips of fabric, 1.5" wide by about 40" long. Using the longest stitch on my machine, I sewed a line 1/8" from the top of one side of the strip...and pulled one string to gather/ruffle the fabric.
With right sides together, I pinned the ruffle along the 2 edges of the triangle, curving it sharply at the point.
To sew it all together, I changed tactics a couple of times. This is what worked best.
I placed a blank triangle piece on top of the lettered triangle and ruffles, with right sides together, and pinned one side down. I made sure that the ruffled fabric at the point of the triangle was laying flat, and to the left. Then I sewed along the pinned edge, with 1/4" seam allowance.
Then, I pushed the ruffles all along the point toward the right, along the line I had already sewed, making sure the opposite line of ruffles was laying flat, and nothing would get caught in the next sewn line.
I then pinned the other side of the triangle down, and sewed along the second side - as shown below, 1/4" from the edge.
Using the open top, flip the triangles right side out, pressing out the tip of the triangle with a pencil or closed scissors - and it will look like this:
Once you have added the ruffles onto all 13 letters - it is time to string them all together.
I used a few different coordinating ribbon colors to make a long piece of ribbon...
I pinned the ribbon along the top edge of each triangle, and sewed as close to the edge of the ribbon as I could. As you can see, the top of the flame overhangs the ribbon slightly, so I made sure to fold the tip down as I was sewing, so that it wouldn't be caught in the stitches.
Sewing along this top edge closed the opening of the triangle as well, and the ribbon covers the raw edges.
I made sure to sew each triangle very close together (which I find usually makes a banner look better because it is easier to read) - and this banner is particularly long, so I wanted to squish it as close together as I could.
It definitely makes a statement in the room - and adds so much color and charm to a birthday! I am excited to use it for years to come:)