How to make a medieval banner

Written by tara m. clapper
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Medieval banners can add an air of authenticity and atmosphere to a faire, themed wedding or the classroom. Medieval banner design allows you to use your own creativity and research.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Computer and printer or pattern book (optional)
  • 1 thick dowel rod
  • 2 yards of fabric (solid colour)
  • 1 yard of fabric per secondary colour
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine or fabric glue
  • Measuring tape

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    Design the Medieval Banner

  1. 1

    Decide on the banner shape. Medieval banners come in a few different shapes (rectangle, vee).

  2. 2

    Choose or create your banner design. This can include a symbol of your family's heraldry, symbol of national origin or a design matching your room or decor. You may select a basic pattern (like an eagle or shamrock) from a pattern book or download and print a pattern using a computer. You may also draw your pattern. The size of your pattern is up to you, but should be no wider or longer than 12 inches.

  3. 3

    Select the banner colours: one for the background and another for the main design element. If you are looking to create an authentic banner, stick to earth tones. Ensure that the colours are contrasting because banners are meant to be identifiable from afar.

  4. 4

    Acquire materials. Felt is inexpensive and easiest to cut (especially for the design), but fabrics such as linen, wool and cotton are historically accurate.

    Create Medieval Banner

  1. 1

    Trace the banner pattern shape on the main background piece of fabric using chalk and include any loops for hanging the banner. Allow 1 inch for finished stitching along the non-hanging sides.

  2. 2

    Cut the main background piece carefully using scissors.

  3. 3

    Trace and cut the main design element. Place aside.

  4. 4

    Hem the non-hanging sides of the banner 1 inch evenly using a sewing machine, needle and thread or fabric glue. If using glue, allow time for glue to dry after this step.

  5. 5

    Affix main design element to the banner by your preferred sewing method. Sew loops around to the back side of the banner and insert dowel rod. Hang banner as desired.

Tips and warnings

  • Embellish your completed design by creating fringed edges.
  • If you need to hang the banner on a nail, tie twine to each end of the dowel rod and hang it by the centre of the string (as you would do with the wire on the back of a picture frame).
  • If designing for the Society for Creative Anachronism, be sure to follow proper historical guidelines.
  • If you select a complicated main design element, you will likely have to affix it by hand-sewing it or using fabric glue--not a sewing machine.
  • Always take care using sewing machines, needles and scissors. Children should be supervised with these tools.

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