Wednesday, February 01, 2006

making your own Steelers banner

The Steelers banner in this blog post was offered through a Pittsburgh Freecycle group and created quite a stir. Some of the people realized I only have one to give away and asked for some info on how they might make their own. There are many ways this could be done, but here's how I made mine:

Background is a king size cotton bed sheet, black. Top seam of the sheet is the top edge of your banner.

Iron Wonder Under fusible web to the backside of a king size white cotton sheet; a half yard or so of black cotton fabric (not the black sheet -- this is a different piece of black fabric for the letters); and 1/2 yd each of blue, yellow, and red cotton fabrics.

For white circle, fold white king size bed sheet in fourths. Have a friend hold one end of a piece of non-stretchy rope/string at the folded center corner. Run the string to the nearest opposite corner and position your hand, holding a marker, 2-3 inches in from the edge. Holding onto that point on the string, swing your marker hand in an arc. This will mark out 1/4 of a circle. Cut along this curved line, all four layers of fabric, open the white sheet, and you will have the white background circle.

Position white circle on black background and iron in place. The Wonder Under will fuse the white to black when heat is applied. I think I did this by laying the whole thing out directly on my wood floors, but you might need to lay out towels to protect your floor surface from the iron's heat. Follow the Wonder Under instructions exactly and methodically adhere the entire circle area -- tedious, but worth it. Pay extra attention to the edges of the circle to make sure they're well adhered. (If you prefer, the Wonder Under and ironing could be skipped altogether and the pieces could be pinned in place, then sewn. This would be cheaper, but it would be awkward to maneuver that much fabric through a sewing machine.)

For the letters, I chose a suitable font and messed around to get the biggest size I could print of a capital S on an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of paper. Using that same font and size, I printed out the other letters in lower case, each on their own sheet of paper. Then I used an enlarging copier to blow up the letters even more and transfer to legal size paper, so 14" tall. (I suppose this could all be done freehand too.) I then used the papers as my templates and cut the letters out of black fabric with Wonder Under backing. Lay the letters out on the background, but don't fuse them yet!

For the diamonds, fold 1/2 yd of fabric in fourths. This fabric should also have Wonder Under adhered to its back. Draw a slight arc from one corner to the one diagonal to it, with the center of the arc bending slightly toward the folded center corner. (If unsure about this, do a test run on a piece of paper first.) Cut along this arc, open it up, admire your perfectly symmetrical diamond, and position it on the background circle, but don't fuse yet!

Use the scrap corner cut from your first diamond as template for the other 2, also cut from fabric backed with Wonder Under. Position all the diamonds on your background. Refer to something official from the NFL to make sure they're in the proper color order!

Fiddle around with positioning so your letters are evenly spaced and in a straight line, with the center of the S lining up with the fold line across the center of the white circle and also lining up directly with the meeting point of the 3 diamonds. Stand back as far as you can to get a good overview of your design. When you're happy with the layout, read the Wonder Under instructions again, then take a deep breath and iron the letters and diamonds to fuse them in place.

Add grommets along the top for more strength of the hanging points, if you want. When we hung ours, we used two furring strips (1"x2"), overlapped about 8" at the center, screwed together at a few places along the overlap. Slid this wood into the seam tunnel at the top of the black sheet and stapled the sheet in place at a few points across the span so it wouldn't bunch up on the wood. This keeps the top edge nice and straight for hanging (see second picture of blog entry). The wood was then attached to our house, so the weight was evenly distributed along the wood and kept the fabric from tearing in the weather. If I remember correctly, we also lashed the bottom corners down, but this would probably be best done if you add strength to the bottom corners by sewing some more layers of scrap black fabric to the backside of those corners and installing grommets.

Youns are now ready to hang 'em high and drink an Arn City beer in celebration! :-)
Go Stillers!!

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