Fabric banners can be used as a visual display of our beliefs and faith. I like to make them for both the inside of our home and those that can be used out-of-doors too. I want to share with you our two Sukkot Banners: Rejoice and Yahweh. Both of these banners were made to be used out-of-doors because we usually spend a lot of time outside during the feast of Sukkot. In fact, most years we join other believers and go camping for the entire Feast celebration. We wanted to make banners that would hold up well in rain, wind and temperature changes. This requires the banners to be made in a different way from those intended to only be used indoors.
The two Sukkot banners are made from heavy man-made fabric that is used to make sails for boats. It comes in a large variety of colors and is very easy to work with. One note though, it does fray – so all cut or rough edges must be finished to prevent fraying which can easily ruin a banner or flag in windy conditions. We purchase our fabric online from Beacon Fabric & Notions but you can get a limited supply of colors from local fabric stores, just ask for flag bunting. This heavier fabric is very strong and can withstand the suns UV rays, heavy rains and high winds – perfect for outdoor use.
For Sukkot or Rejoice banner, we wanted to include a graphic of each of the four items that are mentioned in Scripture for Sukkot: willow, myrtle, palm and the fruit of the goodly trees which is historically thought to be citrus, or the etrog. We also included the other Biblical fruits that would have been harvested by this time of year: pomegranates, dates, figs, olive and grapes and the two Biblical grains, wheat and barley. These seven items are know as the Seven Species of Yisrael.
We cut out all of the shapes and I appliqued them to plain white fabric with my sewing machine. The grapes, figs, citrus, pomegranates, olives and dates are all padded with thick quilt batting to give them more dimension. Some of the items are only attached in one place and this makes them more three-dimensional and they blow in the wind, which is kind of cool. I did the dates and olives this way. The dates are sown to a braided length of gold yarn and that braid is sewn to the backing in several places. This allows each date to move in the wind. The olives are only sew to the backing at the top of each one. I wish that we would have thought of this idea earlier during construction – we would have finished the grapes the same way.
The first section that we sewed in place was the lettering, right down the center. Each letter was padded with the quilt batting mentioned earlier.
Then I sewed the leaves and the citrus together as one larger applique. Once that was finished we pinned it in place to be sewn later on. I did the same thing with the grapes and pomegranates.
For the palm leaves, myrtle, willow, wheat, barley, and olive branch, each leaf, branch or fruit was pinned in place. I over-lapped items some items and pinned them into place and then we looked at the banner and adjusted things as needed. Once we were happy with the placement, I began to sew everything in place using the zigzag stitch on my sewing machine.
Here is a closeup of the bottom of the banner that has the word Sukkot spelled in Hebrew characters and has the two most referred to Scripture references.
For the banner poles, we use white metal closet rods from Lowes. Avi glued a piece of wood into one end and then screwed a piece of metal that sticks out about an inch. This piece of metal actually has screw threads on both ends but I don’t know what it is called. The banners have a wooden closet rod at the top with a hole drilled partially into the center. That hole is large enough to accommodate the screw end coming out of the metal closet rod. To make the banner poles stand up outside, Avi pounds 24″ metal stakes into the ground and we just slip the hollow metal banner pole over top of the stake. This gives them a very solid and un-tipable stand.
Our Yahweh banner is made from the same fabric but we only used blue and white. The letters were appliqued to the white background fabric and then it was sewn to the top of the blue fabric. The bottom corners were tacked in place by hand sewing them.
The Hebrew characters on this banner are pronounced in Hebrew as Yod, Hay, Vav, Hay which is the memorial name for the God of the Hebrews. These characters are known and the tetragramaton and they are often spelled YHWH or YHVH in English letters. We pronounce them as Yahweh but there are other pronunciations that people use because the original pronunciation was lost long ago. That is why observant Jews often refer to Him as Ha Shem. We are looking forward to the day when our Abba Father will restore the true pronunciation of His name to His people.
Avi just told me at Sukkot this year (2012) that he would like for us to make an outdoor banner like these for each of the Biblical Feasts. That was news to me, so I guess we will be designing banners and I will be sewing a lot more in the year ahead.
I hope you like our banners and I would be happy to answer any questions about them that you might have. Please leave me a comment.