DIY decorations: How to make a mix-and-match banner

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CONCORD, N.H. >> I recently moved to a new house that is less than half the size of my former home, but the new place has one key feature the old one lacked: a fireplace. Or, more specifically, a fireplace mantel to decorate.

Moving and furnishing a new house is expensive, however. So I designed a pennant banner that can hang from my mantel all year round and be quickly updated from holiday to holiday, season to season. The secret is reversible fabric pennants that are held in place with bits of Velcro. It took a little planning to figure out the best color-combinations, but the result is a banner than can be transformed over and over again.

The orange, black and white version can easily segue from Halloween to Thanksgiving by switching out the black and white for more autumnal brown, red and yellow. Swap out the greens on a green-and-red Christmas banner and replace them with pink and white for Valentine's Day. Bring back the green for St. Patrick's Day, mix pink, yellow and light green for Easter and spring, and follow up with red, white and blue for the Fourth of July. Or, arrange the pennants in rainbow order for a festive birthday banner.

I chose to sew mine, but an even easier option would be just cutting triangles out of felt.

How to make one

What you'll need:

• Cardstock or thin cardboard

• Approximately 2 yards of extra-wide double-fold bias tape in a neutral color (I chose gray)

• 1/4 -yard pieces of solid color fabric in 10 colors (I used red, orange, yellow, light green, dark green, blue, pink, brown, black and white)

• Approximately ½-yard of 1-inch wide sticky-backed or heat-set hook-and-loop tape

• Sewing machine, thread

• iron

Instructions:

1. Create a template for the pennants out of cardboard or cardstock by drawing a triangle that measures 6 ½ inches across the base and 6 ½ inches tall.

2. Layer two pieces of fabric together. The color combinations I chose were: red/black, orange/white, yellow/blue, green/pink, light green/brown.

3. Trace templates onto each pair of fabrics and cut out at least three pennants for each combination.

4. Sew along two sides of each triangle with a ¼-inch seam allowance, leaving the base of the triangles open.

5. Turn pennants right-side out and press.

6. Sew openings closed using a zig-zag stitch.

7. Cut hook-and-loop tape into small rectangles, measuring about ¼ inch by ½ inch. Adhere four of the softer "loop" pieces to the top corners of each pennant, two on the front and two on the back. Unfold the bias tape, and adhere the rougher "hook" pieces, using the pennants as a guide for placement. The goal is to be able to sandwich the pennants inside the folded bias tape, with the hook-and-loop tape holding them in place.


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