I am working with a local home schooling co-op on a project to give their 11-year-old students a taste of sewing. To go along with their US History learning, the teacher has a day about the flag, it’s beginning, Betsy Ross, etc. She asked for some kind of a flag project, so I designed this Colonial Flag Pillow which makes use of a red T-Shirt as its base, felt, and hand AND machine sewing. I am sharing this project here on my blog for you to use in your own home schooling or scouts, or any type of appropriate setting to get children ‘into’ sewing. It is offered to you for FREE, so please, keep it FREE as you utilize it. If requested, I would be happy to send you the directions in PDF format. Just email me at: email@example.com
COLONIAL FLAG PILLOW
Londa’s Sunroom Sewing Studio
This project has been designed to introduce students as young as age 6 to the joys of sewing, both by hand and by machine. Three of the white stripes are sewn with a Running Stitch by hand, and three stripes are sewn by stitching with a Zig Zag stitch on the sewing machine. It is assumed that there will be close supervision by knowledgeable adults, with no more than 4 children per adult. This project can certainly be made either entirely by hand, or by machine, as situation, time and equipment availability allows.
Red T-Shirt – Large Adult
Royal Blue Felt – 1 rectangle as found at Jo-Ann’s – yields 2 ‘Fields’ 5” x 5.25”
White Felt – 6 stripes cut 15” x .75” – buy 1/4 yard of white felt yardage
White Stars – 1/2” tip-to-tip, or white star buttons (absolutely no wider than.75”)
Perle Cotton Hand Sewing Thread:
Red – two 60” pieces
Blue – one 60” piece
White – three 60” pieces
White Machine Thread for top and bobbin
Fiberfill Stuffing – approx 7oz/pillow
Lined notebook paper – 1/2 sheet per student
Size 18 Chenille Needle
Pins – glass head
Scissors or Snips
Magnet or Pin Cushion
Dark Frixion Marker – enough for half of the students in a class to have one
Rotary Cutter, Mat, and Ruler
Sewing Gauge – enough for half of the students in a class to have one
Prepare a ‘Kit’ for each student that includes the following:
A 30” x 9.75” piece of red T-Shirt cut from the body of a T-Shirt, cut above and not including the hem. The side ‘fold’ or ‘seam’ of the shirt will be the left side edge of the flag.
Cut a Blue Field of Felt 5” x 5.25”. The 5” side is the top and bottom of the Field.
Cut thePerle Cotton Thread to sizes as listed in Supplies, and put in a small bag.
Cut six white felt stripes with a rotary cutter and ruler to 15” x 3/4”.
Use a dark Frixion Marker to mark dots down the center of the stripes to be sewn by hand (three stripes in design as shown), approximately .75” apart.
Pin these stripes, alternating with the other 3 stripes as shown to the single layer of Red T-Shirt as shown in the picture to the right, above. Numbering from the top: Stripes 2, 4, and 6 are the hand sewn stripes. Stripes 1, 3, and 5 are the machine sewn stripes. Depending on available class time, students could learn how to measure and pin by leaving a few of the stripes UN-pinned.
MATH LESSON: If you want to design and create a Flag Pillow, looking at the picture, solve for the following questions:
1. If you want to create a Flag Pillow that finishes to 15” wide, how wide should the red T-Shirt Fabric be cut if it will fold in half at the left side, and raw edges are the ‘finish’ for the top, right side, and bottom of the flag? The top of the Blue Field will measure 5” wide.
2. If the right side of the blue field measures 5.25”, how wide should the stripes be designed to be?
3. Given the answer to question #2 above, how tall will the red T-Shirt need to be cut?
To reduce the time needed for the professional teacher time, the stars were cut using a Star hole punch on poster board glued to the Blue Field by the teacher, or at a prior class with students before our actual Sewing Class. Star alternative: see if it the punch might work on felt – or find someone with one of the new amazing cutting craft machines (Cameo, Brother, or Cricut). Buttons? To actually sew on 13 buttons would definitely ‘turn off’ students to sewing, in my experienced opinion – and finding that many white small star buttons would be a challenge.
Have students trim back the uppermost 3 White Stripes from behind the Blue Field as shown in the picture below. Remember, the 5” side is the top and bottom of the Blue Field. The White Stripes can extend about 1/2” under the Blue Field. The picture shows the Blue Field laid over to the right, but it’s edge is still laying where the right-most edge will be.
Group I will work to accomplish:
At Machine #1With an UNTHREADED machine, ‘practice driving’ the machine set to a large zigzag stitch (4.0 stitch length and the widest stitch width possible), centering on the line on on a piece of lined notebook paper. After practicing, move onto Machine #2
At Machine #2 – stitch the White Stripes onto the red T-Shirt (the SINGLE LAYER) , removing pins as they get to them.
Using the Frixion Marker (marks disappear with heat from the iron at the end) mark stitching dots around the left, bottom and right hand sides of the Blue Field. These dots should be 1/4” from the edge, and spaced approximately 1/2” apart. These dots are GUIDES only for stitching.
Group II will work to accomplish:
Using the white thread, learn to thread the needle. Pull ends even. Tie a knot in the end opposite the needle. Quilter’s Knot is GREAT! Learn how at my You-Tube Video
this one is also GOOD – and is the same needle. It actually shows it better:
2. ‘Hide’ the knot on the wrong side of the right end of the stripe, on the wrong side of the red T-Shirt. See picture below at left.
3. Work the Running Stitch, sticking the needle in and out at the dots. Keep the work flat on the table. See picture above at right. Pull the needle out at the top and the threads flat.
4. End with a Lock Stitch at the end of each stripe, or whenever you run out of thread.
As it works out, or pulling the class back together, proceed to learn the Whip Stitch as the Blue Field is attached to the single layer ‘Flag’ into position. This will also repeat the needle threading, tying a knot, lock stitching skills.
The WHIP STITCH
Work the Whip Stitch by ALWAYS inserting the needle from the BOTTOM of the work (on this project, meaning up between the red T-Shirt and the Blue Field, picking up some of the red T-Shirt on the needle), and coming UP at the dot. This will cause the thread to ‘loop’ around the blue felt cut edge as shown.
Work the stitch at the left, bottom and right side of the Blue Field. The top side will be attached when the exterior border Running Stitch is worked along the outer top, right, and bottom edges.
STITCH THE EXTERIOR EDGES
1. Pin the exterior bottom, right and top sides of the pillow using pins placed perpendicular (is this a new vocabulary word?) on the edges as shown in the picture below.
2. Using the Running Stitch and Red thread, hide the knot in-between the layers as you begin, then work the Running Stitch in the same manner as you did on the White Stripes. Lock Stitch, Knot, etc. when you run out of thread. STOP when you get to the right hand edge of the Blue Field. This will be hole into which you will ‘stuff’ the pillow. If there is still enough thread on the needle to finish, just let the threaded needle ‘dangle’ while stuffing.
STUFF THE PILLOW
Tearing the fiberfill into small pieces to avoid a ‘lumpy pillow’, stuff the pillow through the Blue Field top opening. Pin the opening shut.
Continue stitching closed with the running stitch. Hide the last lock stitch between the layers of the red T-shirt fabric.
Lightly press the pillow and the Frixion marked dots will disappear.
Copyright 2017. Londa J. Rohlfing Londa’s Creative Sewing
FINISHED FLAG PILLOW
ORIGINAL GRAPHIC FROM WHICH PILLOW WAS DESIGNED