A Swag of Flags
This colorful swag of fabric flags makes a great decoration for parties… or for no reason at all.
By the way, what is the right name for this thing? A garland? No, that is supposed to be flowers or leaves or something. Banner? No, that is supposed to be one long strip. Bunting? Maybe that is it, but it just sounds wrong. It reminds me of that old nursery rhyme, “Bye Baby Bunting” where they swaddle the baby in fur. Not right for this light and breezy adornment! Maybe festoon is the proper term for it.
In any case, these decorations seem very popular lately. I’ve been wanting for some time to make one, and finally this weekend I got the extra nudge I needed, when I volunteered to do the decorations for an upcoming birthday party.
What you need:
Thirty 5 x 5″ fabric squares (You can get a coordinating set of pre-cut “charms”, or you can cut your own.)
One package of 1/4″ double-fold bias tape
Ruler, pencil, scissors, etc.
Step 1: Prep for sewing
Create 15 pairs of the fabric charms. Place them face-to-face with wrong sides out. Measure and mark the center of the bottom edge of the charms. (Be careful if some of your designs have a top and bottom; make sure that the top of the design will wind up at the top edge of the flag.) Measure in 1/4″ on both sides, at the top edge.
Draw two lines defining the shape of the flag. Connect the middle “point” (very close to the bottom edge… but leave a teeny bit of fabric beneath it), to the points that you marked on each side of the top edge.
These will be your sewing lines.
Step 2: Sew and trim the flags
Start sewing at one of the top edges.
Sew along the line until you get to the marked point almost at the bottom edge. End with the needle in the down position, at the tip of the point of the flag. Lift the presser foot, pivot the fabric. Then lower the presser foot and sew up the other side.
At the tip of the flag, trim close to the seam (being careful not to clip the stitches).
Turn the flag right side out.
I used a mechanical pencil with the lead retracted, to make sure the tip of the flag was properly and completely turned.
Finger press the edges…
and then iron on both sides.
If you look closely at the top edges of the flag, you’ll see a tiny bit of excess fabric sticking out, at the seam.
It is important that the top edge of the flag is fairly straight, so trim those parts off.
Repeat this process for all 15 flags.
Step 3: Attach the flags to the bias tape
Leave a “tail” of about 15 inches of bias tape. Carefully tuck the top edge of one of the flags into the bias tape, with the slightly smaller edge of the bias tape on top. Sew the flag to the bias tape.
When you get almost to the end of the flag, insert another flag snugly into the bias tape, leaving about 1/3″ between the flags. I backstitched at the edges of the flags, to make sure they were secure. Continue in this fashion until you have used all the flags. Cut the bias tape about 15″ from the last flag. Stitch along the bias tape “tails” to finish the ends.
All done! Ready to festoon something!