This article originally appeared on the cforcesf website and is used here with the author’s permission.
Regarded by many in the flagging community as a rite of passage, many new flaggers are intimidated by the ritual behind making their first set of flags. Traditionally, techniques are passed from parent (experienced “flag Daddy” or “flag Mommy”) to child. The process can be as simple or complex as the artist chooses. The varying degrees of creativity intrinsic to each set of flags is one reason flag making has been so mysterious yet rewarding.
You will get out of the experience as much as you put into it.
That said, the following is a basic blueprint to make a set of flags. It is not the only way to make them and is not meant to replace the complex fun of being taught by an experienced artisan. I encourage you to make the most of your experience. Be creative!
- Fabric – Lightweight! Use Nylon, Silk, Polyester, Lamè.
- Beaded Curtain Weight – Also called Shot Tape, Weighted Braid, and Weighted Cord.
- Needle & Thread – Fabric Tac.
Most fabric comes off the bolt 42″ wide, some are 45″. You purchase the length.
2 yards would be cut in half to make 2 flags 42″×36″. 36″ is a big short side. 32″ is average.
Before You Sew
Cut or tear fabric. Lay pieces on top of each other. Set curtain weights along corner. Mark fabric where you will start sewing in weights.Most common weight style shown — others do exist. Prevent weights from falling out by melting ends of shot tape with a flame.
Roll fabric twice around weights.
The space between the beads is the easiest to pass the needle through. Shot tape casing fabric should be sewn with flag fabric to prevent weights from sliding.One method loops between every weight.
Another method is to loop to every weight.
Use a zig-zag stitch over the weights. (This takes practice. Hitting the weights with the needle can damage your sewing machine.)
or, Form a pocket with a straight stitch. Inside the pocket, the weight will tend to slip. Adding a few anchor stitches over the weights will help secure them.
Finishing Unfinished Edges
Some fabrics tend to fray. These you will need to use either fabric-tac (a glue) or zig-zag stitch along the unfinished corners.Fold edge and zig-zag stitch along the edge.
Run a bead of fabric tac along the corner and let dry. (Fabric tac can remain sticky for a week or more.)
“The gift of flagging is spread from heart to heart. Spin the rags, feel the power, experience love, know joy, accept yourself. You are part of our tribe.”