Sew Many Flags
The Complete Flagmaker's Manual
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Australian Capital Territory flag New South Wales flag Northern Territory flag Queensland flag  
South Australia flag Tasmania flag Victoria flag Western Australia flag
Sew Many Flags; The Complete Flagmaker's Manual  
   
Sew Many Flags, pages 126-127 ISBN: 978-952-5424-19-5
Publisher: Artelina. PO Box 421.
Paddington Qld 4064, Australia.
Author and Illustrator: McGifford, Anja

Anja McGifford 2004; no part of the publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.
210 x 240(H), 187 pages
48 colour, 212 black & white illustrations

Some flag making tips from Sew Many Flags:

MATERIALS
The first important decision you have is to choose fabric which is durable against sun and fraying and also flies well and looks good. Woven polyester bunting is excellent for both flags and banners. Sew Many Flags gives you a list of flag material suppliers in Australia.


SEAMS
The seams need to be made strong, especially for an outdoor flag. Use a double felled seam for most seams. A triple felled seam is your perfect choice for those flags in which it's important that there is no overlapping of colour on the reverse.


CUTTING
Quality begins with cutting. Cut along the grain. You don't want your seams look like this:
Drawing a triangle without pulling the fabric in shape. One misshapen, one straight piece A diagonal seam joining two carelessly cut pieces.
1. A right-angle triangle drawn on crooked fabric. When you cut it out, it stretches into an obtuse angle triangle (drawn here red). See what happens when you try to join this piece with another, which is cut correctly. 2. This flag will be a disaster. The only thing you can do to improve it is to replace the red piece with a new one, cutting it while the warp and weft threads run at 90 to each other. Curly seam
A diagonal seam will not lay flat unless you have cut the pieces straight.
Lozenge, not a rectangle Two crooked triangles really show the lack of skill. Distorted flag due to bad cutting.
3. Joining two crooked pieces can look a little better, but the flag will be a lozenge, not a rectangle. 4. It doesn't get any worse than this. Trying to join oblique and sharp angle triangles will make you realise the importance of cutting along the grain. Ugly corners
The corners of your flag will not form a neat 90 angle unless you have cut the fabric straight.

MARKING
Use a small piece of soap for marking fabric. It comes off easily by brushing, or when you press your flag. Ordinary soap leaves a neater line than many chalks, and best of all - it's free. Don't throw away small ends of soap, use them for your sewing projects.


SHAPE OF THE FLAG
There is no one correct shape for all flags. Many are made to either 2:3 or 1:2 ratio, but you have many options:

1. You may want to use the official ratio, which varies from flag to flag.
2. Use the same shape as your national flag.
3. Make the flag in 2:3 ratio - a good choice for most flags.

The question of shape becomes more of an issue when you display two or more flags together. It's a widely accepted practice to make all flags look about the same size, so that one doesn't dominate the others. You have a few ways to make the flags look equal:

1. Choose a common shape and size.
2. Maintain the official proportions and make the area equal in all flags.
3. Keep the official proportions and make all widths or all lengths equal.
4. Make the diagonals equal in all flags.

Each of these ways has its use. Perhaps the most professional is the method number two. Let's assume you have an Australian flag in dimensions 1m : 2m. You want to make a Papua New Guinean flag in its official shape, 3:4, and with the same area size as your Australian flag, 2 square metres. This is how you can work out the dimension for the PNG flag:

 
Making different shapes into equal area size. Calculating equal area sizes for different shapes.
 
 
Here are the dimensions of some of the most popular proportions in 2m and 4m sizes. 
(Sample page from Sew Many Flags.)
 
 
Equal area sizes of some of the most common flag shapes.  
Kazakhstan flag detail



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There'll be more flagmaking tips here for you later on. Please visit again. 
These tips and many more are found in the Sew Many Flags book.

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