Tuesday, November 24, 2015

April Rhodes Banner Adventure Swap

I participated in the April Rhodes Banner Adventure Swap run by Kid Giddy and The Tattooed Quilter. The challenge was to create a banner no larger than 8x16" using only April Rhodes fabric. This was my first swap so I was nervous to participate because I have never sewn something like this that wasn't from a pattern, but I figured I could come up with something good in the two months that we were allotted.

My partner didn't request anything specific and left pretty much all of the design details up to me, other than mentioning that the Bound fabric line was her favorite of April's. After digging through her Instagram account, I found out that she is a huge fan of essential oils. I knew I wanted to incorporate essential oils into her banner, and I went through a bunch of ideas before I settled on the final design. Initially I thought about piecing together essential oil bottles, but then it came to me: create a personal totem pole for her using essential oil ingredients. I also wanted to incorporate feathers without using actual feathers, so I shrunk the wonderful Feather Bed pattern by Anna Maria Horner to 33% of its original size. I used the Kid Giddy Paper Pieced Totem Pole pattern for reference and also added some teeny tiny flying geese. I had most of the elements ready to sketch when my IG friend t_jaye posted the most awesome fabric weaving tutorial. Perfect for the top of my banner! It looks super complicated but was actually pretty easy to execute.

Here's the final result:

April Rhodes Banner Adventure Swap

I am in love with it. My fingers have never felt so huge working with the tiny tiny pieces. Perhaps I would have had an easier time paper piecing some of the elements, but I have no experience with paper piecing. Now for some gratuitous detail shots.

April Rhodes Banner Adventure Swap

I hand embroidered the essential oil ingredients on the totem pole and the face, except for the beakthat's a small piece of fabric. I like how it adds a little depth to the face.

April Rhodes Banner Adventure Swap

Oh those flying geese! Each triangle is 1" wide by 1/2" tall. Never. Again. 

April Rhodes Banner Adventure Swap

Early on in the swap I was playing around with weaving. I liked the result but I didn't want to include it on the front of the banner because it was too big and not as precise as I'd like. But it's fun hidden element on the back of the banner. The Weaving for Beginners course by Annabel Wrigley on Creativebug was super helpful. I ended up making my loom out of a Cheerios box and it worked out great!


So concludes my first swap. I really enjoyed the design process. It wasn't nearly as difficult as I had made it out to be in my mind. I hope my partner loves the banner as much as I do!


  1. It really is so great. You did a great job incorporating your partner into it. Thanks for sharing the link to my eagle totem, and for participating! xoxo kid giddy

  2. This is so amazing! How on earth did you manage to give it away?!

    1. I was so so so tempted to keep it! Part of me wants to make one for myself, but I'm not sure I have the patience to make another one.


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