My goodness, I can’t even tell you where April went. I think I blinked and it was over! And as I type this post (finally) May is nearly over too! A nasty little bout of tendonitis in my hand has kept me from crafting or creating much at all. When I finally got the time to make this banner my heart sighed a happy sigh of relief. It is so good to be making and stitching again.
I really adore the way the April banner turned out. It is inspired by the flowering trees in my yard that make April so wonderful. I have pink and white Dogwoods and a flowering cherry and crabapple trees. I chose the colors of those trees for my posies, but you could easily change the colors to one that matches your favorite trees.
The focus of the banner is a sweet little bird nest on a branch. I picked a small twig from one of my Dogwood tress to use for a branch. The nest is in honor of the nest right outside my studio window. In April I watched as a momma robin built a nest and then waited in anticipation as she sat in the nest. Finally, two days ago I saw three little beaks! It is so much fun to look out the window and watch as momma and daddy robin tend to the babies!
Are you ready to get to making?
April Handmade Heartfelt Banner Supplies:
- Pattern: April Handmade Heartfelt Banner Pattern
- Die Cutting Dies (optional): Tammy Tutterow for Crafter’s Edge- D1007 Posey Flowers #1, D1008 Posey Flowers #2, D1009 Posey Flowers #3, D010 Posey Flowers #4; Q1087 Mini Circle Set
- Fabric: banner sized scrap of choice; Fabric Funhouse Cork Fabric
- Linen: Week’s Dye Works Linen 36 ct- Linen (or Weeks Dye Works Weavers Cloth- Linen)
- Wool: Week’s Dye Works Wool- 1109 Angel Hair, 1115 Banana Popsicle, 2109 Morris Blue, 2176 Meadow, 2248 Cherry Vanilla, 2263 Begonia
- Velveteen: Lady Dot Creates Hand-dyed Velveteen- Paper Whites
- Batting: Warm Company- Warm & Soft Cotton Batting
- Ribbon/trim: Lady Dot Creates Hand-Dyed Ribbon- Wedding Mint; 24″ of twine, ribbon, or other trim
- Embroidery Floss: Sulky 12 wt Petite Cotton Thread- 4014 Ocean Blue, 4011 Milk Chocolate, 4020 Moss Medley, 4017 Lime Sherbet, 4102 Spring Garden, 4002 Buttercream, 4019 Forest Floor
- Hand-dyed Buttons: Just Another Button Company- Champagne Snack Pack, Rose Sprinkle Pack
- Handmade Buttons: Just Another Button Company- 1214.m Medium Bird Nest, 4709 April Tag, 1173.w Wee Country Bee
- Beads: Mill Hill Petite Seed Beads- 42017 Crystal Aqua
- Filler: Wool Roving or fiberfil
- Ink: Tsuikneko/Imagine Memento Luxe- Dandelion, sponge dauber
- Adhesive: Therm O Web HeatnBond EZ Print or HeatnBond Lite, Fabric Fuse
- Tools: Scissors, Pinking Shears, Iron, Ironing Surface, #8 embroidery needles, beading needles, #00 beading thread, sewing machine, pressing cloth, air dissolve pen
April Handmade Heartfelt Banner Instructions:
Print or trace the pattern pieces onto the paper side of HeatnBond (HNB).
Cut the pieces apart and pair them with the fabric colors of choice.
Cut the heart and all the posies from felted wool, felt, or velveteen. I’ve noted the colors I used in the supply list above. I used Weeks Dye Works felted wool for most of my pieces except for one small flower. I wanted it to be a bright white so I used Lady Dot Creates Paper Whites velveteen. (You can’t get a pure white in felted wool.)
Pair one banner with cotton batting and one from linen (or your desired base fabric).
You can cut the small flag out of any material you choose. I used a fun cork fabric from Fabric Funhouse.
After pairing the pattern pieces with the fabric, use an iron to fuse the pattern piece to the fabric.
Cut the heart and the linen (or fabric) banner along the solid pattern line.
Use pinking shears to cut the batting banner. Cut outside the solid line pattern line so that the batting banner is slightly larger than the linen banner.
Leave the HNB backing paper on all pieces until instructed to remove it.
Cutting the tiny pieces…
Cut each flower out along the solid pattern line.
The flowers in the pattern are very small. You may prefer die cutting them instead of hand cutting them. The posies in the pattern are similar in size and shape to the posies in my collection of dies from Crafter’s Edge.
When die cutting wool, I add HNB to the back of the wool since I prefer to fuse most of my pieces before stitching. You can die cut wool without the HNB if you prefer.
The pink circles in the image above indicate which flowers from the four dies sets are a comparable match to the pattern pieces.
If the idea of cutting all the small circles makes you grumpy, I would suggest the Crafter’s Edge Q1087 Mini Circles die set. It has several different sizes of circles in it. They are in strips so that you can cut several at one time.
Alternately, you could replace the small circles with buttons (JABC Sprinkle Pack buttons are the perfect size) or brads.
Assembling the banner…
Remove the paper backing from the back of the linen banner. Center the linen banner on the front front of batting banner (do not remove the backing on the back of the batting banner). Use an iron to fuse the two pieces together.
Remove the paper backing on the back side of the heart. Center the heart on the front of the banner. Use an iron to fuse in place.
Remove the paper backing from the back of the batting banner. Set aside to use later.
Assembling the posies…
Use a coordinating embroidery thread to add a blanket stitch around the edge of the heart.
Use a fabric safe ink like Tsuikneko (Imagine Crafts) VersaCraft or Memento Luxe to add an accent to the center of each posey. Use a small blending tool (shown: Ranger Ink Detail Blending Tool) to apply the ink to the center of each posey.
Place a pressing cloth or art towel over the flowers. Iron over the flowers and cloth to heat set the ink. Make sure to keep a scrap piece of the HNB backing paper under any flowers that may have lost their backing to prevent them from bonding to your ironing surface.
Place the large circles in the center of the larger posies and the small circles in the center of the small posies. Use an iron to fuse the centers in place on each posey.
Place the banner backing paper (slick side up) under the banner.
Peel the HNB backing paper off each posey.
Place the assembled posies on the heart using the placement guide from the pattern as a guide.
When you are happy with the placement of each posey, use an iron to gently fuse each in place. You will want to lift and set the iron straight up and down. Ironing in a circular fashion the way you would iron clothing could cause the pieces to move.
Use embroidery floss and a needle to add decorative stitches to the center of each posey.
In the large 7 petal posey I added straight stitches from the center of the posey to the outer edge of the circle like the spokes on a bicycle wheel. I added small french knots to the center and at the end of each spoke.
On the five petal posey I added spokes in different colors and different lengths and a pile of french knots in the center using a variegated floss with different pastel shades.
- I added a single french knot to the center of the circle on the small 5 petal poseywith spokes that came out from under the circle to the edge of the posey between the petals.
- For the small 7 petal posey I added spokes from the center of the circle to the edge of the circle and a single french knot to the center.
- On the small 5 petal posey I added spokes that came from the center of the circle to the edge of the posey between the petals. I added a small cluster of french knots to the center of the circle.
- For the leaves, I added a simple straight stitch along the center of the leaf. I started the stitch at the base of the leaf and ended it about half way to the tip of the leaf.
Use an air dissolve marker to make dots on the heart between the posies. The placement guide has small circles
Use a beading needle and beading thread to add a bead to each dot.
Adding the backing fabric…
Place the backing fabric right side down on your ironing surface. Place the banner on top of the fabric. Use an iron to fuse the banner to the fabric.
After pressing, gently lift the edges of the leaves and petals up to give them dimension and to clear them from the path of sewing machine foot.
Machine stitch about 1/4″ from the edge of the banner.
Trim around the edge of the banner, leaving a slight bit of the backing fabric showing beyond the edge of the batting.
The finishing touches…
Choose a small twig (about 2″) from a favorite tree. Adhere the twig with liquid glue to the center of the heart along the left edge.
Tie a small piece of ribbon (about 3″- 4″) into a bow. Attach the bow to the bottom of the twig with liquid glue. When the glue is dry, add a few stitches through the bow and around the twig to make them extra secure.
The length of the small flag can be adjusted as desired. I shortened mine slightly. Stitch a small heart button to the bottom of the flag.
Attach the nest button on top of the branch and the bee flying about the flowers. Add the April tag to the lower right corner.
Add two buttons to the two top corners for attaching the twine used for connecting each banner. (You can revisit how to attach the string and how to connect the banners in the January banner tutorial.)
My favorite details…
It is hard to pick a favorite part of this banner. I love all the little details like the way simple french knots and the tiny beads add so much texture.
And this little guy… could he
be bee any cuter?
And of course, the nest is simply my favorite bit. It will always remind me of the fun I had in April watching momma robin building her nest for her babies.
PS. If you missed any of the previous banners, you can find them here: