Science has never been my strong suit, but I’ve always loved astronomy. It seems to run in my family—my father also has a fondness for it, and would often call me outside to look at the rings of Saturn or a distant star through the telescope. But no matter what else was up there in the sky, I always looked for Orion’s Belt and the Big Dipper first. Even today, there’s something comforting about those constellation’s familiar shapes.
Of course, it’s pretty hard to stargaze in the city! I was feeling nostalgic for my winter constellations, so I decided to sew one of my own. The little wall hanging I made provides a cheerful replacement for my holiday decorations. I love how simple and clean the Big Dipper shape turned out, and the fringe at the bottom of the banner adds an interesting textural element. And as far as patterns go, the sky really is the limit on this project—how cute would this be with your astrological sign?
- Dark blue fabric
- 3/8-inch dowel
- Dark blue ribbon or yarn
- White thread
- Dark blue or black thread
- Basic sewing needle
- White colored pencil or tailor’s chalk
- Measuring tape
- Straight pins
- Safety pin
- Iron and ironing board
- Optional: sewing machine
- Cut a rectangular piece of the blue fabric, 23 inches long by 18 inches wide.
- Fold three of the sides of the rectangle in .5 inch, and iron the fold in place. Finish setting the fold with pins.
- Stitch the fold in place, using either the needle or the sewing machine and the blue thread. A basic straight stitch should do just fine. End your stitches 3.5 inches from the bottom edge of the banner.
- Fold the stitched short end of the fabric down 1 inch, and pin the fold in place. Stitch the fold down to make a pocket for the dowel to fit into.
- Use the colored pencil or tailor’s chalk to mark the stars for your Big Dipper pattern. You can definitely freehand this, but for those who prefer measurements: draw four dots in a roughly square shape, 4.5 inches long by 3.75 inches wide. This makes the main part of the dipper. Next, mark the handle with three more dots: the first 2.5 inches up from the upper left hand dot, the second 1.5 inches up from that, and the third 2 inches up from that. Make sure to put a little bend in your handle, too.
- Thread the needle with the white thread.
- One at a time, stitch little stars over each of the white dots. To do this, use the dot as the center point, and make five short stitches that meet there. Tie a knot after you stitch each star.
- Connect the dots using one long stitch between each star.
- Add a few extra stars around your Big Dipper, anywhere you’d like.
- Carefully clip the un-stitched, bottom portion of the banner into narrow strips, 3.5 inches long.
- Gather the strips together, a few at a time, to make bunches. Tie off each bunch with a piece of ribbon. Knot the ribbon in the back of the banner so it’s not visible.
- Cut a 42-inch long piece of ribbon or yarn, and tie a knot at one end. Stick the safety pin through the knot.
- Using the safety pin as your guide, thread the ribbon through the pocket at the top of the banner. Once you’ve pulled the ribbon through, snip off the end with the knot and remove the safety pin.
- Trim the dowel down to fit the banner, and slide the dowel into the pocket.
- Knot the two ends of the ribbon together, and hang the completed banner on your wall.
- You’re finished! Now step back and enjoy your own little session of stargazing.