Jan 19, 2015

Blue and Gold Service Banners

Welcome to my redone blog, now being called Patriotic Heartstrings Quilting.  My name is Michele Savikko Bilyeu and today, would have been my father, Bernhard Michael Savikko's birthday.

He passed away in 2010 after a long life of service, to his family, his country, our family, and to my mother as he helped me care for her for the last ten years of her and his life.

In honor of my dad, and of today being Martin Luther King Day and "Be of Service Day", I am sharing this free tutorial on creating a blue or gold star banner for families who have or have had a family member in active service. Blue Star banners may only be hung by families that have a loved one in active service. A gold star signifies a family member was killed during active service. A multiple star banner signifies more than one active family member in service or those that have passed away while in active service.

After writing (on my primary blog) about Rod Raubeson, the former Marine who taught himself to sew in order to make Blue Star and Gold Star Service Banners, I decided many years ago, to make one, myself.

I was able to locate directions and a pattern for both the center star and the border measurements from The Quilter's Cache at: Armed Services Flag with alternate directions available from Blue Star Banner If a quilt is desired, directions and a pattern are available from the Military Mom's website at: Blue Star Banner Quilt

It is very important to understand that only families with actively serving members of the Armed Forces are to hangup an armed services banner such as this one. Anyone can make one or buy
one, but only families in active and armed military service are toactually hang one on display in a front window.

The concept of a service banner is both licensed and regulated. They are meant to honor
and show respect for the families whose fathers, wives, sons anddaughters are away and serving during times of armed conflict. Today, Blue Star Service Banners are displayed by families in all branches of the Armed Services, including the National Guard and the Reserves.

To Make a Blue or Gold Star Service Banner you need basic sewing supplies
and fabrics of red ( for (4) 2 1/2" strips), white ( for a 9" x 14"center panel) and blue ( for a star that is about 7" x 7") I chose to make mine a quilted banner, so I also used a thin batting.

The 2 1/2" red borders are attached to both of the sides and then boththe upper and lower edges. Trim evenly to size. By using a machinedzigzag stitch or turning under and hand sewing, the star is thenappliqued to the background (white) fabric and through the batting.

 Right sides together, seam front and back together, leaving a small side opening for turning right sides out.

A narrow 'quilting rod' sleeve can either be hand or machine sewn onthe backing. I show it here with a cord indicating its location. Fold it under to the back and slip stitch down for the final project.

5.I also added free-motion or meander quilting stitches throughout thecenter panel's surface to create a decorative effect and emphasis the quilted banner aspect.

To 'hang', insert a wooden dowel or curtain rod through the quilt
sleeve unit in the back and hang with decorative cording, as desired.

an alternative hanging method, you can use two narrow hanging loops and
insert the rod through them. Make them with two pieces of 2 1/2" strips
stitched down or seamed right sides together. Iron flat, and insert
between sandwiched layers while stitching top seam in Step #2.

To make a Gold Star Banner:

 Make as above, only using gold fabric to create a gold star for a family that has lost a family member due to their active duty in the Armed Services.

To make a Family of Stars Banner:

Add additional stars for each family member who served in the Armed Forces. My family had five members all serving at the same time during WWII. My father and four brothers all went to war from our little island in Alaska. But only 4 of the brothers returned home after service. One uncle was killed when the plane he was co-piloting was shot down at sea. The pilot was killed, but my uncle managed to land the plane, losing his own life in the process. There were, however, survivors of the crash that survived their wounds ..the count of survivors vary but the final tally does not. My father and his brothers mourned the loss of their youngest 21 year old brother for the rest of their lives, but all of them were proud to be of service to our country...and this was before Alaska was even a state but still a territory of the United States!

Other Links:

The Blue Star Service Banner American Legion

To order a banner from the American Legion

Directions For Making a Blue or Gold Star Service Banner

Paper blue star banners for patterns or for personal use by military families with active members currently serving in the military ONLY to hang inside their home windows.

Download One-Star Blue Star Banner 8 1/2 x 11

Download One-Star Blue Star Banner 8 1/2 x 14

Download Two-StarS Blue Star Banner 8 1/2 x 11

Download Three-StarS Blue Star Banner 8 1/2 x 11

Download Four-StarS Blue Star Banner 8 1/2 x 11

Download Five-Star Blue StarS Banner 8 1/2 x 11

Please note:

only government licensed sources may officially manufacture true Blue
Star banners in mass. But just like paper flags during 9/11, unofficial
forms of flags and banners, used and hung with respect do not infringe
on copyright laws of actual manufacturing rules.

Other links: Our Nation's Fallen Heroes

Free Patriotic Quilting Patterns

Lest We Forget:

those who cannot sew, but have family members in the military and wish to display a banner in their window, banners can be purchased at the American Legion website and and paper banners are also available for download at my previous post: Blue and Gold Star Service Banners (

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey from Alaska to Oregon with thousands of free Quilting, Sewing, and Crafting Patterns and Tutorials. Help change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!

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