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The group began in 1987 with five ladies with varied talents! We were however very fortunate to have one member who was very gifted in design who also was very gifted in matching colours.

We started with simple banners depicting Praise, Prayer and Worship followed by three Easter banners, one Harvest banner and three Christmas Banners.

The materials used included curtain material, old evening gowns, stoles etc and the stitching mainly simple hem stitching some machine work with a little crochet.

More recently we have made a number of hand embroidered Banners and also larger panelled banners fixed to the inside walls of the Church. They are embroidered with couch stitch using wool and silk embroidering threads. They are modelled on the stitching used on the Bayeux Tapestry. The banners are not available for sale





(a) One enthusiastic artist/sewer/designer – any one quality is sufficient, but the enthusiasm is essential.
(b) As many volunteers and conscripts as possible – not necessarily qualified; willing will do!

With an amateur team, make use of what talents each member may admit to – some may use a machine with confidence; some are happy to cut out shapes; some will pin things together and tack them in place; others could finish off seams etc and, best of all, some may have wonderful ideas!


(a) Recycled materials from friends and congregation, old curtains and left-over bits and pieces from dressmaking.

(b) New material. If you meet once a week and put a small amount of money in the ‘kitty’ for tea, you will eventually have enough to splash out on new material.


(a) Illustrations from the Good News Bible make an easy starting point, especially for beginners in the art.

(b) Discussion within the group will provide inspiration for original designs.

(c) Project slides on to paper pinned to a wall where shapes can be selected and outlined.


(a) Do keep in mind that Banners are, for the greater part, viewed from a distance. Small fussy detail is lost.

(b) Do fill the space.

(c) Do keep shapes fairly large and contrast one colour with another to make them stand out.

(d) Do make sure that lettering is absolutely horizontal or vertical if the design dictates. If not so designed, make sure the letters are sufficiently askew to make it clear that is what was intended – Dancing Letters!


(a) Don’t be too ambitious to start with.

(b) Don’t start without a full scale drawing.

(c) Don’t use material that frays. Iron-on Vilene can prevent this and felt is ideal if unexciting.

To Transfer Design:

(a) Trace the main shapes from the design onto a large sheet of tracing paper; can be found in an Art Store.

(b) Place the tracing on top of the background fabric and tack along the lines with contrasting thread to sew the tracing and fabric together.

(c) When complete, run the point of a needle along the lines of stitching and tear away the paper. The stitched design will be seen on the fabric.


Appliqué is the quickest way to a Banner.

(a) When the group is all together suitable materials can be selected from the rag bag.

(b) Each member can be allocated a section of the design.

(c) Trace the chosen piece from the design to use as a pattern. Take it and a selected piece of fabric home and prepare it for sewing to the background at the next session.

Appliqué Shapes can be cut from patterned fabric – birds, flowers, boats, buildings etc – and backed with Vilene ready for use.


(a) Pin the prepared shapes onto the background and tack them down ready for hand sewing or machining.

(b) Hand sewing can be done by two or three working together if the Banner is big enough.

(c) Machine stitching – zigzag or satin stitch is best done by one member as homework.

(d) Lettering can be applied to separate strips of fabric which are applied, in turn, to the main Banner – again as homework.

In order to make the best use of available talents, and to keep members busy and interested, it is a good idea to have more than one Banner on the go at one time.
It doesn’t take long for an amateur group to become professional. Happy Sewing!