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New Silk Pennants 4/23/11

April 23, 2011

So my plan for this weekend was to make a pair of painted silk pennants for the Hubs and I so we would have some flash for Crown Tournament in May.  His old banner that I made is horribly faded and not really attractive anymore.  I had originally intended to lay out the designs on the silk on Friday, but ended up spending the whole afternoon playing train games with Philip instead – bad me!

After sleeping in somewhat on Saturday, I got the designs laid out and the silk into the stretching frame.  Here’s my method (new and improved since the last time I did one of these).

I’m making these pennants out of two pieces of 8mm silk habotai that is 45″ wide.  I cut two 10″ strips across the width of the fabric (at least I thought they were 10″, as they seem to have ended up being 9.5″ after washing).  These I pre-washed in a little warm water and dishwashing soap and then hung to dry.  When almost dry, I pressed them to get out the majority of the wrinkles.  I’ve found that if you let the silk dry completely, it doesn’t iron as well.

First, I lay the silk out on a piece of clear contact paper.  I suppose it doesn’t have to be clear, but if you want to trace a design onto the silk, clear is good.  The contact paper also helps keep the silk in place as you’re drawing the design.  Last time I did this, I tried rolling the silk around a small dowel to help lay it out straight.  This was still difficult, as the silk is slippery and didn’t want to stay rolled around the dowel.  This time I had the idea of stitching the silk to the dowel to hold it in place, and this worked pretty well!

Next, draw your design.  I pre-drew my designs for these two pennants on graph paper so I knew what I wanted to go where and how it would all fit into the space I had worked out.  A handy tip: When drawing on silk, a dull pencil is much better than a sharp one!  The sharp pencil will tend to catch on the fiber of the silk and drag it out of position, but the dull pencil runs more smoothly over the surface.

Third, stretch the silk on a frame.  There are many methods of doing this.  The Hubs made me a couple of frames out of 1×2″ wood with a bar down the middle so I can do two pennants at a time, which has come in handy!  Previously, I have used the method of  attaching safety pins to the edges of the silk and then stretching rubber bands to thumbtacks set into the wood frame.  This has the disadvantage of causing the design to warp as the tension is pulled in different directions and I was struggling with keeping things straight when the Hubs came up with a brilliant idea!

He suggested stitching both ends of the silk to dowels and then using those for the initial lengthwise stretch of the material.  This method worked fabulously and I was able to keep the design much straighter on the silk.  I also used the safety pin/rubber band/thumbtack method to add a little tension along the sides of the pennants, since the material will tend to sag somewhat once I start applying the dye.

Now, my back is sore from bending over the table for several hours and my hands are sore from fiddling with thumbtacks and rubber bands, so I’m going to leave off for the day and move on to applying the resist tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Cellach permalink
    April 25, 2011 1:24 pm

    Thanks for sharing, I’m hoping to make banners like this some time.

  2. April 25, 2011 2:15 pm

    You’re welcome! The process is somewhat long, but worth it in the end. Let me know if you want some pointers when you do your own.

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