More on Making Banners

Gunnora Hallakarva gunnora at
Wed Oct 2 08:50:52 PDT 1996

I've found more interesting information on making banners on the Historical
Costuming moderated newsgroup.  This note comes from Master Giles, once of
Bonwicke but now living in (I think) Caid.



Date:    Tue, 1 Oct 1996 10:29:01 -0400
From:    Gileshill at AOL.COM
Subject: Re: Banners

Sally asked:
>  I've been asked to make some 'authentic' banners to
>  fly over a medieval castle.  They'll be about 4 foot square and need to
>  stand up to the vagaries of the weather. Any suggestions as to what fabric
>  to use, the method of construction and the type of paint to use?

A number of my friends in Southern California (led by Esther Benedict and
Bruce Miller) have made heraldic banners using silk cloth.  The pattern is
lightly drawn in pencil, traced with resist, and then the  outlined shapes
are colored with silk paint. The edges are finished using french hems, and
grommets or buttonholes can be set into the edge for ties or ropes.   I'm not
sure how these will stand up to the 'liquid sunshine' with which the UK is so
richly blessed, but they work well here in the desert.

You might also consider a technique I've heard called 'reverse applique':
 Choose a base cloth the color of the field.  (If your field is divided, make
your ground cloth match it...)  Using a very narrow satin stitch, applique
the charges to the base cloth.  Turn the banner over, and using the satin
stitch as a guideline, CAREFULLY cutting inside the outlines, cut away the
ground cloth that is behind the charges.

You now have a banner that looks the same on both sides.  Retrace the satin
stitch lines, using a wider stitch so that the raw edges (on both sides of
the banner) are caught beneath it.  (You might want to FrayChek the edges
first for extra strength.)

Given the vagaries of English weather, you might consider the use of a
synthetic like polyester oxford cloth, rather than a more period -and more
delicate- fiber.

Paul Giles
Orange County


Gunnora Hallakarva
Ek eigi visa (th)ik hversu o(dh)lask Lofstirrlauf-Kruna
heldr hversu na Hersis-A(dh)al

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