Tutorial: Sew Yourself a Craft Show Sign

Posted in: Tutorials — By on December 8, 2010 3:16 PM

Sewing School recently did our first craft show (as Sewing School that is)!

Sewing School at a Handmade Holiday

We needed a sign for our table, so naturally we stitched one up!

Sewing School sewn banner

It was a fairly simple process.

To make our sign, we used:

  • your logo, enlarged and printed out into each sections (I’ll explain below)
  • fabric (fleece – for the back, a background fabric, and other bits for the appliqué pieces)
  • fusible web (the kind with paper on the back)
  • double fold bias tape
  • thread
  • a sewing machine (of course!)
  • two 1/2″ dowels, cut to the width of your banner

So first you want to determine how big your want your sign to be.  Add 1/2″ on the sides and at least 3″ on the top and bottom. You can even add more if you want your logo to be further away from the edge.  Once you’ve determined the size of your sign, cut your background fabric and fleece (the fleece gave the sign some ‘poof’ when it was quilted and a nice soft back.. cut the fleece a little bit bigger so if it shifts you still have enough to cover the back).

Next you want to enlarge your logo and separate the elements for printing. This will give you your appliqué pieces.  For us, we had the words ‘Sewing School’, the school house, a needle, and a few pieces for the spool of thread.

If you want to quilt your background, do it now. Mark your fabric with tailor’s chalk, pin and top stitch along lines. Be careful with the fleece! It will want to move around, so go slowly and make sure your presser foot isn’t using too much pressure, so the fabric moves smoothly and does not get stuck. Trim the excess fleece when you’re finished.

For really detailed things like lettering, fusible web is REALLY helpful. It basically allows you to stick fabric to fabric.  I’ll explain how it works – It’s sticky on both sides when you use a hot iron. But one side has a paper backing. So you can draw on the paper, fuse the open sticky side to your appliqué fabric and cut it out. Then you can peel off the papery side and your appliqué piece will have a layer of fusible glue that can be ironed onto something else.  Make sense?

We printed “Sewing School” out on our printer. Because of the size, we had to print the images out over a few pieces of paper and tape everything together.  Next, we cut the letters out and traced it onto  the paper side of some fusible web (NOTE: When you trace your pattern onto the fusible web, make sure you do it in REVERSE! This is especially important with logos and text).
Then we ironed (with a very hot, dry iron) the fusible web to some very nice black wool felt.  The amount of time you’ll have to hold the iron over the fusible web will depend on the materials you’re using.

You can do this for all of your appliqué pieces, but it’s really only necessary for those things that you’re not stitching down or complicated objects. If you don’t use fusible web, use some light weight fusible interfacing so your fabric will lie flat when you appliqué.

Next it’s a matter of deciding which pieces need to be stitched down first. We did the school house first, then ironed on the lettering and did the spool last. Use a medium-wide, close together zig zag stitch over the edges. This is also called a ‘satin stitch’.

We also added some of the details using a zig zag stitch. Just go slowly and be patient. We didn’t do any stitching on the lettering. You could anchor everything with stitching, but it can get complicated.

Time to finish the edges! There are a number of ways to finish the edges. You could simply zig zag or serge the raw seams; you could hem all the edges; or you can do what we did and bind the edges with bias tape.  We only did this on the vertical sides because the top and bottom are folded back… and we ran out of bias tape.

After you’ve finished all the edges, press under about 2 1/4″ on the top and bottom and hem at around 1 1/2″ to 2″ – this makes the casing for your wooden dowels. Insert your dowels and hang up your sign! You can use string threaded through the top dowel casing to hang it.

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1 Comment

  1. Tamara says:

    Very cool! Thanks for sharing.

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