Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Alphabet Pennant Banner

Until a few weeks ago I hadn't thought about Nicaragua. I knew there was pain there, poverty, malnourishment, and a lack of education, but I wasn't doing anything about it. Our friend, Chris, however, is doing something. He started championing an organization that provides meals to families and runs a preschool within an impoverished Nicaraguan community. He traveled there, got involved and has now moved there to dedicate 9 months of his life to this cause.

The organization's preschool, with limited resources, is changing the community. Students who attend receive a meal (likely the only meal they'll eat that day), start their education, and learn about God. As I listened to his story, I thought about my Texas friends who had just prepared their classrooms. I remembered their cute bulletin boards and curriculum ideas, and the joy that a well-organized and decorated classroom brought them. I couldn't help but think that the teachers of this Nicaraguan preschool would feel the same joy in adding functional decoration to their classroom as well.

Whether or not God needs me to make an alphabet pennant banner for this preschool in Nicaragua, who knows? But I do know that he wants us to love his children in Nicaragua. This banner is my attempt to show them God's love.

I started with fun, bright colors.
Found a triangle pennant pattern here through a Google search and traced it onto a folder to make a template. Then I traced it onto my fabric.
I used pinking shears to keep them from raveling and to save time. In the end, I like the way the cut edges look. Then I laid out the cut pieces and decided my pattern.
I used Adobe Illustrator (but you could use paint.net or even Word) to make the alphabet stencils. Each letter is approximately 2"x2" to fit appropriately on the flags. Hmm...time to buy a new ink cartridge.
I cut out each letter, then used them as templates and traced them onto heat-n-bond (sometimes called WonderUnder). It's cheap and you can find it at fabric stores.
Following the instructions on the heat-n-bond, I adhered the traced letters to a scrap piece of brown fabric I had on hand. I highly advise ironing the letters on in blocks. If you cut each one out BEFORE you iron it on to the fabric, you'll have a difficult time cutting the fabric around it and waste a lot of time.
After cutting out each letter, and ironing them on to the flags, it was time to sew them all together. I sewed them left to right onto 7/8" grosgrain ribbon, leaving about a foot of extra ribbon on each end for tying. The flag placement is easy to eyeball, so I recommend not using pins. After sewing the length of each flag, it's important to put your needle down and lift your presser foot to add the next flag.
You can see here that the flags are right-side down and lined up with the edge of the ribbon. Don't forget to back stitch at the start and finish to lock your threads.
And that's it!
You'll notice a few extra letters since this is the Spanish alphabet. I was so relieved when my husband reminded me about that. And I minored in Spanish! How embarrassing would that have been?!
This truly was an easy project to whip out over the weekend. And solid cotton fabrics and grosgrain ribbon made it a cheap one as well. My total for the entire project was around $5.
As I sewed, I prayed for the Nicaraguan children who would be looking at this alphabet almost every day. It's just a few strips of fabric, a few hours of work, a measly few bucks invested. But I hope that this one small contribution will impact their lives. That it will speak to the teachers who receive it, that they will feel appreciated, loved and prayed for.
From one child of God to another.

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  1. I have goosebumps on my arms and tears in my eyes right now. I love that you prayed over the kids as you sewed this for them...I do that for the things I make too and feel that when my kids wear things I made and prayed over that they are literally clothed in prayer.
    What a beautiful project!

  2. Great post! That is really sweet. I love this for a general pennant banner. You have a big heart. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I blogged about you and this post. I hope you don't mind.


  4. Amy, I just sent you a message. I'm a new blog follower of yours now! Thank you for your sweet words!!

  5. Love this! Thanks for linking @Creative Itch's "Sew Cute Tuesday"!

  6. Wonderful post. Lots of inspiration and ideas for me (my friends are moving to Mexico to help orphans - now I know how to help)! Can't wait to look around here more. Thanks so much for sharing yourself!

  7. Very cute! What a fun addition to a preschool either in Nicaragua or here. It would be nice in a nursery too! Thanks for linking up to Topsy Turvy Tuesday's!

  8. This is fantastic! Love the story and the banner! I had to laugh at the ink cartridge though...that was me earlier this week!

  9. I'm in the process of learning Spanish, so this naturally caught my eye. What a cute sweet little project. Thank you for sharing.

  10. how wonderful... we are off to Nicaragua Oct 13 for a mission trip... we are going to Masaya. It gave me a great idea to make things for the Church to take with me!!! love it!

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