Hark the Herald Angels Toran


  • 70cm of red fabric (or 50cm if red pennants are made from another fabric)
  • Fat 1/4 of lilac fabric (enough to cut lilac pennant as well)
  • Fat 1/8 of cream fabric
  • Scraps of fleece or felt for stars
  • 50cm of heavy sew in Vilene
  • 2.5m of ric rac
  • Scraps of fabric for angel wings, faces and stars
  • 20cm of Bondaweb
  • Scraps of sheep’s fleece or wool for hair
  • Ink pens / pencil for angel faces
  • Top stitching thread for quilting

Finished Size

22 x 25" (56 x 64cm)

Skill Level


You can download a copy of the template pages for this project here, Hark the Herald Angels Toran


To ensure you make best use of the red fabric, cut the backing 14 x 25 1/2" and the border strips, two 3 x 21" and two 3 x 14 1/2". Cut the Vilene 14 x 25 1/2". Put on one side.


  1. Using the template, cut a total of ten pennants from fabric and five from the Vilene. Marion has used three different scrap fabrics, however each of your pennants can be different fabrics front and back using small scraps, or the same fabrics as the main section of the toran.
  2. Cut out freehand, five stars from fleece or felt and hand stitch onto five pennants.
  3. Make up a sandwich of a fabric pennant RS down, Vilene and a pennant with appliquéd star RS up. Pin and satin stitch around the edge in a matching thread colour. Pin and stitch the ric rac down the sides and point to give a neat edge. Put the five pennants on one side.

TIP! Before pinning the three layers together, it is a good idea to trim a tiny amount from the edge of the Vilene (about 1/16") so that it doesn’t extend beyond the fabric when sewing.

The appliqué panel

  1. Cut a rectangle 9 1/2 x 21" from the lilac fabric.
  2. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, iron Bondaweb onto a piece of cream fabric 5 x 8" (angels’ dresses), 4 x 4" (wings / hands) and tiny squares of calico (faces) and other prints (stars).
  3. Trace off the templates and pin onto the Bondawebbed fabric. Remember to flip the angel templates so that the angels face each other. Cut out the motifs on the line. Position on the lilac fabric and iron into place. Ensure that you iron the pieces in the correct order (ie. wing on top of the dress etc).
  4. Test your pens on a scrap of fabric and then draw the angel faces. Use a soft red pencil for the cheeks. Stitch on the hair at the centre. If you want to add the stitched writing, sew this now in a running stitch using top stitching thread for definition.
  5. Sew on the top and bottom borders and press. Sew on the side borders and press.
  6. Layer the backing fabric RS down with the Vilene and the appliqué panel RS up. Pin. Add decorative hand stitching, outline quilting or beads as desired and as time allows. Trim any excess Vilene or backing fabric.

Assembling the toran

Hark the Herald Angels Toran
Hark the Herald Angels Toran
  1. Pin the pennants so that they overlap onto the back of the panel by 3/8". Sew in place with a line of stitching 1/4" from the edge of the pennant.
  2. Cut out the binding 1 1/4" wide and join to give a total length of 56".
  3. Cut out a sleeve 4 1/2 x 24" and hem the short sides. Fold in half lengthways and with WS together. Centre and pin with the raw edge along the top edge of the toran.
  4. Pin and sew the binding around the sides and the top of the toran (either as separate lengths or in one length, mitring the corners). This binds the toran and attaches the top edge of the sleeve at the same time.
  5. Slip stitch the bottom edge of the sleeve to the backing.
  6. Cut out and join a strip of the red fabric 1 1/4 x 52". Press under a 1/4" seam along each long edge.
  7. Turn the toran to the reverse and starting at the centre, pin the binding at the bottom concealing the top edge of the pennant (Figure 3). When you get to the side edge, flip the toran to the front and continue pinning, concealing the bottom edge of the panel. Flip again to the reverse and pin, turning under the end of the binding when you reach the centre again. The binding should be at the same level, back and front. Tack in place to enable you to machine into position along each side of the binding close to the edge.
Figure 3: Binding the bottom edge of the panel
Figure 3: Binding the bottom edge of the panel

First published in Popular Patchwork January/February 2001