A Flag for Friday

Probably four or five years ago I started a project and, after an enthusiastic start, I put it to one side, got involved with other things and that was that.  It was, however, still peeking at me in an accusatory fashion from underneath other things on the shelves of my cutting table so, in an effort to finish what I started I pulled it all out again.

I hadn’t done much – just the ‘brown’ triangles.

The project is a Moda bake shop ‘recipe’ by Lynne Goldsworthy (available here for free) and I liked the slightly raggedy look of the finished flag and the colours she used but, at that time, I’d never done much (if any) foundation paper piecing.  Now I have so it was a bit of a shock to remember that this is not at all like that apart from the fact that paper is involved.   In this method you cut up the fabric into squares using pinking shears (or cutter) and lay them on sheets of newspaper making sure they are overlapped by at least 1/4 inch.  In fact, the easiest way is to use charm packs which already have pinked edges.

Like so.

Then, you stitch down the pieces an 1/8 inch away from each pinked edge – which is why I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue with this project at first because it just seemed wrong to me.  However, this method is what gives it the shabby look that I had liked initially.

Zoom in for close up of top stitching along pinked edges

You separate the colours into brown, red and cream and lay each colour on sheets of newspaper which you cut to a set size then sew them down with a small stitch so, in effect, you are making a new fabric which is sort of what you do in all patchwork but this is different in that the seams are showing on top.  It feels a bit weird.    It is also a bit of a pain because, unless you use a multitude of pins, it does try to shift around under the sewing machine.  Then you remove the newspaper and cut the new ‘fabric’ into triangles for the brown fabric and different sized bands for the red and cream.

With me so far?

At this stage I was still dubious but, once I started joining it together I became more enthusiastic and am actually quite chuffed with the resulting top.

Oops! Forgot to clear those bedside tables off this time.

**** If you are not interested in more of ‘the process’ scroll down to the next set of ***** lest you be unnecessarily bored to tears.

I did find certain problems with the instructions so I did a bit of research to find out if anybody else had the same issues but couldn’t find anything so maybe it’s just me.  However, in case it helps, this is what I found.

When I joined the first quadrant together I assumed the joining seams would be 1/4 inch which is usual in patchwork.  Unfortunately, I assumed wrongly and it came out too small – luckily I checked before I joined the other three.  It seems that everything is 1/8 inch but I couldn’t find that instruction anywhere.  The top stitched seams are 1/8 inch, yes, but as they are not ‘normal’ seams I didn’t think it would follow that the joining seams would also be that small.  The instructions have you press the ‘normal’ seams open but I didn’t bother as that is a difficult thing to do with such a small seam allowance so I pressed to one side – a maverick, that’s me.  Also, because I had to undo the seams of the first quadrant and mess with edges cut on the bias after removal from the foundation paper, it started to go out of shape so I had to be careful lining it up with the other quadrants.

The instructions have you cut ten 2 inch bands from the cream ‘fabric’ you have made but, as you can see from the photo above, you actually need twelve.  Luckily I had enough cream squares left to cobble together another couple of bands.   The instructions also tell you to use 1 inch bands for this stage but she actually means 2 inch ones as there only four 1 inch bands in the design used for the narrow strips of the flag and, anyway, it is obvious from the photo that they should be the wider strips.  The pattern is free but, even so, I’m surprised it doesn’t appear to have been corrected since it was published as I’m sure I can’t be the only one – or can I??

Anyway, enough of the technical stuff.


Still with me?

This is actually supposed to be a wall hanging but I’m not sure Mr. T wants another one (yet) and I’m not so patriotic that I’m going to hang a Union Jack in a prominent position on the wall – even if it is a stylised, scruffy version.  So, I’m thinking I’ll use it as a throw over the back of a sofa or chair or bench or something.

The fabric I used is the same as the one in the original instructions and is a Moda fabric by French General and called ‘Falalalala’.  The text in the fabric range is taken from a French song of the same name which is sung to the same tune as ‘Deck the Halls’ but with different words so there’s a bit of entente cordiale going on here – as is fitting for a Brit living in France.  You can’t say I don’t give you useless information in my posts or even fodder for pub quizzes.  Of course, this range is hard to find now as I’d abandoned the project for so long but I wanted to back it with something pretty as it won’t be hidden on the wall but visible as the reverse side of a throw.  I found a couple of the designs still available in a shop in the U.K. – more in the U.S. of course but the shipping was silly talk – and I went for the cream one with poinsettias.  A rash choice for a house full of animals you might think but, hey, I’ve already got visible pinked edges in possible danger of fraying so I’m obviously throwing caution to the wind with this project.

Mr. Tialys will be arriving home from the U.K.  in a couple of hours with the cream fabric – and some of the plain greyish brown for the binding – I didn’t want the binding to be a feature as it’s supposed to be a flag after all – so I should be able to get it together this weekend.  I’m a little worried as the instructions say you need 2.5 yards of backing fabric and I worked out I’ll only need 1.6m – mixing my metrics with my imperials is never a good thing – so I might have to add a strip of some of the fabric I have left over, we’ll see but maths was never my strong point.  I will be quilting in the ditch only as I think there’s enough visible stitching going on already.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to show you the finished throw artfully draped over the back of a sofa and adorned with a cat or two (who will be chucked off straight after the photo is taken IG style)  early next week.

What do you think?  Have you ever had doubts about a project you started some time ago?  Did you abandon it or complete it and, if you completed it, were you glad or sorry that you bothered?

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  1. #1 by craftycreeky on February 23, 2018 - 14:34

    Well done you for sticking with it second time round, those instructions sound well complicated! I think the result is amazing, it will make a fabulous throw.

    • #2 by tialys on February 23, 2018 - 19:19

      It’s actually not too complicated but due to, what I think were oversights and errors in the instructions, more complicated than it needed to be. I’m glad I persevered with it too 🙂

  2. #3 by KerryCan on February 23, 2018 - 15:00

    You’ve really persevered here–with all the wacky instructions and wacky techniques–but it’s ended up looking really cool! I’m not sure I could live with the pinked, raw edges but I can see how it would contribute to the finished look. And your marriage of British and French details amused me no end!

    • #4 by tialys on February 23, 2018 - 19:22

      It certainly made a change! I’m a little worried how long those edges will last if not used as a wall hanging but, if it starts to fray I’ll find some wall space somewhere for it – the hallway might do.

  3. #5 by PendleStitches on February 23, 2018 - 16:58

    That’s well worth the effort. It’s totally glorious. If I didn’t have a list as long as my arm I’d certainly be adding this to it. Beautiful.

    • #6 by tialys on February 23, 2018 - 19:25

      Thank you! I know it’s not a style that would appeal to everybody but I like it and, in the end, it was fun to make.

  4. #7 by nanacathy2 on February 23, 2018 - 17:16

    The one abandoned the longest was a rag doll which I am glad I finsihed. You can hang this ourside with the slogan Hurrah for Brexxit! Or maybe not! I think it is rather nice!

    • #8 by tialys on February 23, 2018 - 19:27

      Thank you Cathy – I’ll probably leave off any mention of Brexit – I’m bound to upset somebody or other 😉

  5. #9 by claire93 on February 23, 2018 - 17:18

    you lost me early on with all the technical stuff, but it looks fab!

    • #10 by tialys on February 23, 2018 - 19:31

      I don’t know about you but I find reading about complicated processes, which I’m not actually working on myself, very confusing. Sometimes there’s a bit too much detail for me although I know some people – Kate for instance – loves writing and reading about the process involved in making something.

  6. #11 by CurlsnSkirls on February 23, 2018 - 17:22

    I think you’ve done marvellously well recreating from, um, shall we say ‘slightly irregular’ directions? Hopefully the weekend will go well and you’ll have something to enjoy for a long time to come!
    Now. you’ve asked… “Have you ever had doubts about a project you started some time ago?” CONSTANTLY! Seems I’m lately turning up all sorts of things begin & put away for another day and promptly forgotten. Generally, after the shock has worn off from finishing it years later, I’m pleased and satisfied to have completed it.
    And… “Did you abandon it or complete it and, if you completed it, were you glad or sorry that you bothered?” See above. I rarely bin toss, unless packing to move and absolutely positively KNOW it won’t be of use, and it’s being a right blister to pack. Then I toss and try not to stress over the waste. Charity shops over here rarely accept such things, even unused perfectly good fabric.

    • #12 by tialys on February 23, 2018 - 19:50

      Thanks Del. I generally complete fabric projects, eventually, but it’s the knitting and crochet ones that do for me. I’m being quite good lately with not starting too many woolly projects at once but things could easily get out of hand again so I have to remain vigilant.

      • #13 by CurlsnSkirls on February 24, 2018 - 00:17

        Afraid I can be equally bad at both – no favourites. But good on you for being vigilant!

  7. #14 by Kim on February 23, 2018 - 19:28

    I like that a lot!
    With regards to your question …… there’s a certain birthday quilt still lurking which I would quite like to forget completely but that’s not an option 😭

    • #15 by tialys on February 23, 2018 - 19:51

      Ah yes! Which birthday was that? Luckily he has one every year 😉

  8. #16 by Oh Sew Tempting on February 24, 2018 - 00:19

    It certainly sounded like a very complicated method but you’ve got a great throw now so it was well worth getting it finished. I’ve got several things in bags under my table too and I can’t even remember what some of them are now. Shame!

    • #17 by tialys on February 25, 2018 - 11:31

      I think most of us are the same!! It’s the equivalent in foodie terms of our eyes being bigger than our bellies 🙂

  9. #18 by katechiconi on February 24, 2018 - 00:33

    I love the finished thing, I love the fabric, but I don’t much like the sound of how you achieve it! Fingers crossed you’ve got enough backing fabric. I do love all the French General offerings, both the patterns and the colours, even brown (which as you know is not one of my favourites), but it’s hard to get here. I have an abandoned project in the cupboard which looks at me mournfully every tie I open the door, but it’s a question of horribly stretched bias edges so I usually close the door hastily, despite the lovely fabric and and an uneasy feeling that I could rescue it if only I’d try….

    • #19 by tialys on February 25, 2018 - 11:30

      I love French General too – the muted colours and ‘chicness’ (made up word probably) really appeal to me and when they use text it’s usually in French which is just a bit different. By chance, the fabric I ordered was the end of bolt so she put it all in for me and there is about 1.8m (instead of the 1.5m I ordered) so I should have plenty. Hopefully I’ve ordered enough of the plain for the binding but, if not, I have enough offcuts to lengthen it a bit. Horribly stretched bias edges were definitely a problem here when I had to undo the seams in that first quadrant and then redo them but I think I might have got away with it – we’ll see when I try to put the binding on!!

  10. #20 by Lynda on February 24, 2018 - 06:01

    This is beautiful, complicated, but beautiful.

    • #21 by tialys on February 25, 2018 - 11:26

      Thank you – I’m hoping to get it finished in the next couple of days.

  11. #22 by Jo on February 24, 2018 - 13:44

    It’s fabulous and a lesson for all of us who have unfinished projects lurking on shelves.

    • #23 by tialys on February 25, 2018 - 11:26

      Thanks Jo – I’m a bit wary of searching any further at the moment as I know there’ll be more.

  12. #24 by Dartmoor Yarns on February 24, 2018 - 21:05

    Hmmm, well, far too technical for me, but I’m sure it will look fabulous on the settee artfully arrayed with cats. Have I ever regretted starting a project? How long you got?

    • #25 by tialys on February 25, 2018 - 11:24

      I have more yarn UFOs than fabric UFOs although most of the yarn UFOs could still be called ‘balls of wool taking up space in cupboards and bags’ :/

  13. #27 by Born To Organize on March 14, 2018 - 23:06

    I’m glad you went back to this project and saw it through. Alternatively, I suggest to my organizing clients that they let the whole thing go. No sense having something staring at you making you feel inadequate or frustrated or unhappy. I like the shabby look, but I think I would need a video to follow these kinds of directions. That always trips me up. It’s just the way my brain works I suppose.

    I have a small, counted cross stitch that I pull out once in a while, then never get back to it. It has more to do with my vision than anything else. I had a kit of four, small enough to make into greeting cards. I finished three back in the late eighties!!! and mailed them off to friends. The remaining one is half finished, and I’m trying to Just. Get. Started. Stay tuned.

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