Make an Inspiring Banner with Kraft-Tex
In a world with so much going on, it’s hard sometimes to remember to think about the things that center us. For each of us, it helps to focus on something different. For me, I find that if I stop to listen – not just stop talking long enough to form an argument – but really listen, I make better decisions about next steps. Issues ranging from current events to connecting with a friend to deciding on the next creative project all seem clearer when I pay attention. This Kraft-Tex banner will help me do just that.
This hit close to home recently when I participated in a Zoom forum with people of varying backgrounds and experiences, most of whom I had never met. Some people were called on to speak, while others were designated “listeners”. I was in the latter group, and it was not easy because, well, I have opinions. But I gained so much by just taking in the feelings and experiences of others and not worrying about what I would say and how I would say it.
I decided I needed something to prompt me to listen more, so I made this banner. I chose “Listen”, but there are as many inspiring words as there are people waiting to be inspired. Pick a word that motivates you, then make a banner!
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I wanted my banner to make me happy, so I chose a flower motif to be the background of each letter. And because scrappy makes me happy, I used a different cotton print for each flower and its “Listen” letter. I traced 6 of my flowers onto the paper side of Wonder Under fusible web.
Then, using Wonder Under’s instructions, I pressed the traced motif to the back of my cotton fabric and cut out the flower on the drawn lines.
Here is the first flower all cut out. To remove the paper backing from the fusible, I scored the paper with a pin and peeled the it off from the center to the edges. That little trick eliminates any fraying that happens when the paper is peeled from the edge.
Now I can fuse each flower to my Saffron Kraft-Tex. It’s such a sunny color, so perfect for a cheery project.
With an open toe foot (#20 on a Bernina), I stitched the edges of each appliqué with a blanket stitch. Adjust the stitch so that it’s just how you like it. Just be sure that the stitches are not too close together. If your stitches are too dense, the Kraft-Tex could perforate, then fall apart. Test with scraps! Stitch all the way around the flower without backstitching when you start and stop. Leave enough of a thread tail so you can tie off the threads in the next step.
After stitching all the way around, the pesky thread tails are super easy to manage. You can use the bobbin threads to pull the top threads to the back, or you can thread each top tail onto a needle and poke the thread through an adjacent hole. When all four threads are pulled to the back, tie a surgeon’s or square knot, then weave the tails through the back of the appliqué stitches and trim.
Using sharp scissors, trim the Kraft-Tex around the flower, leaving the amount of border that pleases you. I didn’t mark – just eyeballed it – but you can mark a cutting line if you wish. The stitches make a clear outline of the motif, so you can mark your cutting line on the back of the Kraft-Tex – they won’t show on the front of your project. While I was at it, I traced and cut 1 1/2-inch Kraft-Tex circles for my flower centers.
I played around with fonts on my computer until I had one I liked and printed the mirror image of “L i s t e n” on the paper side of fusible web. (My version is in the free download.) Before fusing, I played with the order of the flowers on my design wall so I could place each letter exactly where I wanted it. Then I fused a rough cut of each letter to the back of each of the flower fabrics.
Just like with the flowers, I pressed the fusible web for each letter to the back of its cotton fabric, carefully cut each letter (that part is kind of fiddly) then fused to the circles cut earlier. I fused the letters to the circles, then appliquéd them with the same blanket stitch. Then I buried the threads as before. Next, I placed each circle at the center of it’s flower (“basting” with fusible web), then blanket stitched around the circle.
Here’s what the flowers look like from the back. You can barely see where the thread tails are buried. I played with the spacing until I liked it, then marked some cording (I had 48 inches in my stash) every 4 inches to place the flowers evenly along the banner. I attached each flower (check to make sure they’re right-side-up and in order!) with heavy thread.
The reveal! My Kraft-Tex banner! Letters in order and right-side-up! Success! I tied a knot at each end to keep the cord from unraveling. I like the look of the fringe, so I kept it. But you could trim it if you like a tidier look.
Here’s my Kraft-Tex banner on my design wall, reminding me to pay attention.
Here is the Kraft-Tex banner nestled in our deck railing herb garden.
And hanging in the apple tree. There are lots of apples this year!
An old fence gives me a good place to stop and listen.
Browse through more Kraft-Tex projects and inspiration on Create Whimsy.