Saturday, August 16, 2014

Palm Frond Project

We have been in the midst of a building project at church, and I was tasked with making some palm fronds out of cloth to go in our Upstreet (Kindergarten through 5th grade) hallway.

We needed them to have some stiffness to arch out over the hallway. Thought I would share the process, since I found nothing out there to help me...this was just plain and simply think and come up with it on your own. Once, I figured out what to do this really was an easy project.

First, the pattern. It was just drawn on some brown bulletin board paper. I used it to cut two pieces for each frond. Ashley, our designer picked out several patterns of green quilting cloth. She said don't finish any edges that would lead to the charm. She was right as you will see.

Next, I took some buckram (a thick interfacing used in draperies) and cut a pattern out of it. Then I laid it on top of 1 of the colorful pieces' wrong side. I made 4 sleeves for tying wire to go across the leaf. I left one end open and then cut the tying wire into a piece long enough to slide in, then I sewed the end up, so that it wouldn't slide out.

Buckram is found at JoAnn's in the home decor fabrics and comes on a bolt. I had never used it before, but it was very easy to work with. I found it to be a very sturdy interfacing. I will use it again, maybe a purse? However, I did find a description of it in one of my old sewing textbooks from college. I didn't have a clue what the designer was talking about when she used the term.

Tying wire was found at the hardware store. I got mine at Ace. It comes in a circle of wire. You will see it momentarily in a picture. It gave the fronds some stiffness and could be manipulated to shape the frond after hanging.

The right side of the fabric with the tying wire in it.

Just another photo of the cross pieces. I did use wire cutters to cut the tying wire.

Then I ripped, not cut strips to go the lengthwise of the other piece of fabric. Ripping was just easier and made it quicker to get a straight line than cutting it. Just remember you can only rip on the lengthwise grain of fabric. I laid it the lengthwise making sure it went all the way to the end on the top of the leaf. I sewed it down on three sides, leaving the top open to slip in the last piece of wire that would be used to also stick it in the top of the tree. This piece of wire will need to be longer than the palm frond as you will use it stuff it in the tree.

I also made some sleeves for the wire sticking out, but they weren't needed. Now, for how they turned out. 
I used different patterns for the top and bottom of a palm frond as well as a different pattern for the long strip to put the wire through. I think I used six different patterns for approximately 12 fronds. Each of the fronds was about a yard long.

I was quite proud of myself. Using my sewing talents for good. I would never have thought of this on my own. Our designer is out of this world, but I was proud to bring her thoughts to life.

I did make a test project before cutting on her fabric, which I always suggest. Back in the day we called that making a muslin.

My test project. Just pulled some old cloth out my tubs.

My faithful helper in the background.

Our building project at church is all complete and we were featured in the newspaper today. The building is amazing and most of it was done with volunteer labor. Ashley, our designer, put in countless hours to make the kids' environments a spectacular place. Our newspaper called us the Disney church. I love it! Nothing is too good when sharing about Jesus.

Hope this is helpful to someone!

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