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Classic Garden Flag

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Add a stitch of glamour to your garden with this classic garden flag tutorial. Simply choose a durable fabric and your favorite design to construct this lovely project. Our step-by-step instructions make it easy to make garden flags for every season and in every color you can imagine!


Project Needs & Notes:

- 1 yard of main fabric
- 1/2 yard of contrasting fabric for finished edge
- Cut away stabilizer
- Temporary spray adhesive (such as Gunold KK100)
- Pins
- Embroidery thread
- Cotton thread
- Air erase pen or temporary marking tool
- Masking tape or painter's tape
- Scissors
- Quilting ruler
- Iron
- Pressing cloth

Designs featured in this tutorial include:
M30529, Sweet Roses Watering Can

Designs Used

For this garden flag we used the largest size of Sweet Roses Watering Can (m30529). This design is measured at 7.28" tall and 6.88" wide. When picking a design for this project, choose something square in shape where the height is almost the same as the width. Any square design 8" x 8" or smaller is a great fit for this garden flag.

To begin, cut a piece of the main fabric (the design will be embroidered on this fabric piece) and cutaway stabilizer so that they are both larger than the embroidery hoop. The outer dimensions of hoop we used are 10" X 14".

For best results, make sure the fabric is at least 2" larger than the hoop in both height and width. We cut our fabric and stabilizer to 16"x16".

Spray the cutaway stabilizer with temporary adhesive. Then, smooth the stabilizer onto the wrong side of the main fabric piece.

Next, use a dry erase pen and a quilting ruler to draw a square in the center of the fabric. This square should measure 10 1/2" x 10 1/2" and will be the center of your garden flag. Drawing this square before embroidering the design allows the design to be centered more easily.

To find the center point of the square, measure and mark the center point on all four sides. These marks will be 5 1/4" from each corner. Then, draw a line connecting the top and bottom center points. Repeat to draw a line between the left and right center points. The center of your embroidery area is where the drawn lines intersect.

If desired, you can print out a template using embroidery software to ensure that your design fits well within the square.  If you do not have embroidery software, Wilcom TrueSizer is a free program to use.   

A center mark will print on your template, making it a great tool for placing the design and finding the true center of your project.

Hoop the fabric and stabilizer together tightly. Make sure to line up the drawn center points with the four marks on the hoop. Lining these up will ensure that the design embroiders perfectly centered within the square and prevents it from sewing out crooked.

Load the embroidery file onto the machine and secure the hoop in place. Then, move the needle directly over the marked center point on the fabric. Follow the color change sheet and embroider the design.

Once the embroidery has finished sewing, unhoop the design. Cut both the fabric and stabilizer down to the drawn 10 1/2" x 10 1/2" square. Do not trim the stabilizer down any more than this. Leaving the stabilizer the same size as the fabric will help with stability.

Follow the manufacturer's directions to remove the air erase pen markings. With the marker we used, we simply dabbed water over the marks until they disappeared.

Iron any wrinkles out of the fabric. Some stabilizers shrink or pucker when steamed and ironed. For best results, turn off the steam and use a pressing cloth.

It is now time to cut out the border pieces. First, cut a strip of fabric that is 17" long and 1 1/2" wide. A quilter's ruler and rotary blade work well for this. If preferred, you can draw this strip of fabric with a marking tool and cut it out with a scissor.

Repeat to cut out an additional three border pieces. You should have four pieces in total. They should all be the same size and will be much longer than the embroidered square. This extra length allows you to sew diagonal corners.

Take one of the border pieces and center it along the top edge of the embroidered square with right sides together. While this piece does not need to be perfectly centered, make sure that the extra length of the border hangs over both sides evenly. Once placed, pin the embroidered fabric and the border piece together along the top edge of the main fabric piece.

Sew the first border piece to the main fabric with a 1/4" seam allowance along the pinned edge. Sew only from one side of the square to the other, and do not sew past the two edges of the fabric square. This will leave the extra length of the border piece un-sewn at each end.

Fold the first border up so that it is out of the way and repeat the previous step for the next border piece. Again, make sure to only sew from one edge of the square to the other and do not sew any two borders together. In the end, the borders should meet nicely at the corners, but the extra border length should be two free tails.

Follow the previous steps until all four border pieces are sewn onto all four sides the main fabric square.

With the iron and a pressing cloth, press all four seams inward toward the embroidered design. 

To make the first corner, fold the square in half diagonally with right sides together. Your project should be folded like a triangle with two opposite corners meeting.

At either of the side points, (not the top point with opposite corners meeting), line up the tails of the two border pieces.

Place the quilting ruler along the folded edge and use an air erase pen to draw a diagonal line across the overlapped border pieces. You only need to draw this line on the top border piece.

Pin the two border tails together along the drawn line to ensure the fabric doesn't shift. 

Then, sew along the drawn line.

Trim away the excess fabric tails, leaving about a 1/4" of fabric.

Use an iron and pressing cloth to press open the seams.

Repeat the previous steps to make the next corner at the opposite side point (not the top point).

After the first two corners are made, open up the square and refold it into a triangle going the opposite direction. Match up the two unfinished corners along the fold. The two finished corners will be the top point.

Repeat the steps to mark, sew, trim, and press the remaining two corners. Follow packaging directions to remove any visible air erase markings.

To make the hangers, cut a rectangle that is 3 1/2" wide and 3" long.

Repeat the previous step to cut a total of three rectangles that are 3 1/2" wide and 3" long.

Fold the first rectangle in half, matching up the two edges that are 3 1/2" long. Make sure that right sides are together and pin along the matched edge.

Sew along the pinned edge with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Using a pressing cloth and iron, press open the seam.

Next, turn the hanger right side out.

Keep the seam in the center back and press the hanger flat once more.

Repeat the previous steps to sew and press the other two hangers.

To make the hangers into a loop, fold one in half, matching up the raw, open ends. Make sure the seam is on the inside of the hanger.

Match up the raw edges with the top edge of the garden flag. Position it so it is 1/2" in from the left corner. Then, pin the hanger in place along the raw edge.

Repeat the previous steps to fold, place, and pin the second hanger on the right side. This time the hanger will be 1/2" in from the right corner.

Next, repeat to fold, place, and pin the final hanger. The final hanger needs to be centered along the top edge, between the first two hangers.

Baste the hangers to the front piece with 1/8" seam allowance and remove the pins.

Next, cut out the back piece. This piece will be 13" X 13."

With right sides together, lay the front piece on top of the back piece. Match up all four sides.

Pin the front and back pieces together around all four sides. Leave a 6" gap between pins along the bottom edge. This will become the opening to turn the flag right side out.

Sew around all edges of the flag with 1/4" seam allowance. Make sure to leave the 6" opening at the bottom for turning.

At this point, make sure the 6" opening is left along the bottom edge and that it is large enough to turn the flag right side out.

Trim the excess fabric from the corners. This will help prevent puckering once turned and allow the corners to press nicely.

Turn the flag right side out through the bottom opening.

Press the flag until all edges are nice and crisp. For best results, turn the raw edges of the opening in 1/4" and press them as well.

Once folded in 1/4", hand sew the raw edges of the opening to complete the closure. Use thread that matches the border fabric for best results.