Handmade birthday

Despite not feeling well, Aidan is beginning to anticipate his birthday.  I’ve started working on his birthday crown and his name banner in small fits and starts.  The boys will be sharing the birthday banner that I made.  I don’t feel like I was able to talk much about Oliver’s mama-made gifts, so I thought I’d highlight them a bit now.

The ‘OLIVER’ banner was easy and fun to make.  I loosely followed Amanda Soule‘s directions in Handmade Home for the felt banner she made.  Instead of felt, I used burlap and chose to hem the edges for a little cleaner look.  You can just as easily leave the edges rugged, I’m sure.  I wasn’t sure how I would attach the letters on this one, so I used some fabric glue after a short, but failed attempt at sewing the letters on.  Half of the letters are made from a Recess charm pack from moda, with the other half being from my scrap stash.

The ‘happy birthday’ banner was fun to make and relatively quick, for all the space it takes up.  I used a fair bit of instruction from the tutorial over at the moda bake shop.  Instead of buying a charm pack, though, I used a fat quarter bundle of 1 from each print in the blue colorway of Shade Garden by Michelle Engel Bencsko for Henry Glass.  I cut out 14 rectangles that were 6″ x 16″, folded them in half with wrong sides together, and sewed a 1/4 inch allowance leaving a small  amount open for turning.  After I turned them, I cheated a bit and skipped handsewing them shut.  Instead, I ran a really close machine stitch, which was largely hidden by the thick ric-rac trim that I used.  For the letters, I did as the tutorial said and used heat ‘n bond instead of engaging in what was sure to be a long amount of time bending and swearing over my machine. ;)   I used a font that I liked in MS Word, high tower, and made them about 4″ high.

The crown:

I am so pleased with the way Ollie’s crown came out.  The end result was so much better than I thought that I would be able to create.  That said, there are some things that I want to fix on it.  I plan to rip it apart before Oliver’s next birthday, lol.  I wasn’t able to get a large enough piece of wool felt for the back lining of the crown before my deadline.  I had to use acrylic felt for it and it shows.  The quality is so lacking and different than the wool felt, so it will be replaced.  I also want to take my time more on the contrast stitching on the front.  I did it a little differently on Aidan’s crown and would like to employ that technique on this one.  On Oliver’s, I tried to sew the whole thing together while making a nice straight stitch.  Oliver was also helping me with this by stepping on the pedal for a little bit of surprising bursts of extra speed. My sewing is not that great, so, of course, things went awry the minute he touched the pedal.  For Aidan’s, I did all the contrast stitching before attaching the front to the back part of the crown.  This way was so much easier and came out much cleaner.  I also worked on it while all my little helpers were sleeping.

As far as tutorials go, I used tips and tricks from two different ones and merged them together a bit to make my own.  I modified the pattern from juicy bits to include a larger peak and broke it up into 3 sections for the front.   I also looked at Nicole’s tutorial from Frontier Dreams just to give me more ideas.

To see the crown and banner as WIPs and some of the symbolism behind the embellishments on Oliver’s crown, click here.  The only thing not mentioned is the fabric used to cover the elastic.  It’s scraps from one of the first pairs of pants that I ever made for Oliver, shown here.   Happy crafting!

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