Sewing a Celebration

We at Sewer-Sewist have been preoccupied with the idea of making our own flag (yes, you read that right, making our own flag) for quite awhile. The topic first came up when we were in the car one afternoon and Josh said, “You know, we should make our own flag. That would be really cool.”

To which Sarah replied, “Good idea. We totally should.”

We tossed that idea around awhile, and on a relatively recent Powell’s excursion (there are many of these such excursions) we picked up the groundbreaking Banners & Flags: How to Sew a Celebration. (For, like $5 or so…)

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There’s something really special about books from the 70s—they’re so over-the-top but folksy at the same time.

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This one has what is possibly the best book dedication ever.

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Hello! Who doesn’t love a parade? That would be downright wrong.

This book covers (obviously) making your own handmade flags and banners (AKA “Sew a Celebration”), and today being Independence Day we thought we’d share some selections out of the flag-making section.

Parts of a flag. (We also learned from this section that a person who’s really into flags is called a “vexillologist.”)

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While we were primarily interesting in the “how-to” component of the book, the types of flags and why they’re made is one of the most interesting sections of this book (this is actually really interesting because it goes into detail about using flags not only for celebration but designing them as protest symbols to affect social change—which has been a long tradition in the U.S.).

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Star placement on a traditional American flag.

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Applying the red stripes. There are very specific proportions you use to make a traditional U.S. flag.

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Techniques for stitching on the stars on the blue background.

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One of the author’s original flag designs.

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(Oh, if Levis still did last… The demise of the indestructible pair of Levis is often mourned around here…)

And, finally, being a seventies book, there’s the requisite rainbow flags.

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We haven’t started on our flag yet, but this book certainly has all the principles and guidelines you need to design and sew your own flag. We’ve been particularly thinking that we could take inspiration from this flag we saw appraised on Antiques Roadshow recently.

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Of course, we’ll add our own twist. Just wait and see.

~S & J

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