American Flag Quilt Tutorial

July 1 means it’s time for a heavy does of patriotism here in the US as we get ready to celebrate Independence Day this weekend (aka the 4th of July). I’ve always been a sucker for Americana – lots of stars and stripes, red, white, and blue,  not to mention hot dogs on the grill and a side of watermelon.  

The words of Erma Bombeck pretty much sum it up best for me:

“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” 

Every summer I pull out a flag quilt that I made about 10 years ago. I shared it on my blog AGES (like 7 years ago?) but I still get questions and comments on it – even asking for a pattern. It’s such a simple quilt to make – just patchwork squares – that I decided I should finally share the dimensions and layout in a quick tutorial

American Flag Quilt Tutorial

This quilt measures 39″ x 51″ and is made of 4″ x 4″ finished  (4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ unfinished) squares and a little bit of yardage for borders and binding. I personally think the scrappier the better when it comes to this quilt.

Fabric requirements:

  • 25 blue 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ squares (at least 3 different 1/8 yard cuts)
  • 45 red 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ squares (at least 5 different 1/8 yard cuts)
  • 38 white 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ squares (at least 5 different 1/8 yard cuts)
  • 5 strips 2″ x 42″ (width of fabric) for borders (3/8 yard)
  • 5 strips 2 1/2″ x 42″ (width of fabric) for binding (3/8 yard)
  •  1 1/2 yard backing

Once your squares are cut out you are going to lay out your quilt in rows. You can either have the flag go in the traditional horizontal layout or, like mine, in the vertical layout. Either way, you want to have your blue/star field in the top left corner. Click here for the printable the Flag Quilt layout diagram.

Then it’s just simple patchwork-squares quilt assembly, sewing the squares into rows and then sewing the rows together. If you’d like more details, click here for a simple squares patchwork quilt tutorial.

When adding the borders, sew the border to the two short sides of the quilt first – this way you won’t have to piece them. Then sew the remaining border strips together end to end to add side borders. There is an additional tutorial for adding borders here.

If you are using unwashed fabric, your backing yardage should be just wide enough for this quilt. (If your backing yardage is pre-shrunk you may need additional yardage.) Quilting and binding tutorials here.

American Flag Quilt

And that’s it! A really simple, American Flag quilt. Of course, if you’d like to make a bigger size, just increase the size of the patchwork squares. You might need a calculator and some graph paper, but the basic dimensions are 9 squares x 12 squares – just multiply those numbers by the size of your finished squares to change the size of the quilt. (Remember to cut squares 1/2” bigger than the desired finished square size to leave room for the seam allowance.) You could also add wider and/or more borders to make the quilt size bigger.

I’m such a sucker for Red, White, and Blue quilts in any design. I’ve started a pin board for my own (and your!) inspiration if you want to see more:

Follow Amy Smart’s board Red White and Blue quilts on Pinterest.

And here are links to other fun 4th of July projects and tutorials and party ideas for your patriotic needs:

Follow Amy Smart’s board Patriotic on Pinterest

And now, I plan to pig-out as patriotically as possible this week. 😉

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  • Reply
    Kelly Cline
    July 1, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Simple and quick! Just what I need, thanks!

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      July 1, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      You’re welcome. Simple and quick is my favorite. 🙂

  • Reply
    July 1, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Oh I do love that flag!! I will have to make one for both of my children to hang up for each year. I do postage stamp quilts–so 2.5″ squares would be my choice…..great stars fabric !! hugs, Julierose

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      July 1, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      Oh, it would look so fun in the little squares!

  • Reply
    Donna Murdock
    July 1, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    This flag looks so much easier than the one I just bought an expensive pattern for. I could use this one for Christmas presents! Thank you so much. I didn’t even begin to dare to think of quilting seven years ago when I was so deeply buried in No Child Left Behind in my former teaching career. No I’m happily retired. Still very busy but doing lots of happy things without much stress!

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      July 1, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      Good for you! I’m so glad. 🙂

  • Reply
    July 1, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    I love anything to do with the American flag. Love this quilt. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply
    July 1, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    That’s a great, easy quilt! I could do it with my kids probably. I don’t want to be a stickler but the stars are supposed to be on the upper right when the flag hangs vertically, and upper left when it is horizontal. Correct?

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      July 1, 2015 at 10:30 pm

      Good question so I Googled it. 😉 Here is what I found: “When hung over a street or on a wall without a flag pole or staff, hang the US flag vertically with the union to the north or east. Over a sidewalk, the union should be farthest from the building. The US flag may be displayed vertically or horizontally. The union (stars) should be at the top to the observer’s left.”

    • Reply
      July 3, 2015 at 9:00 am

      Flag’s right. Observer’s left. She has it correct but great thought!

  • Reply
    Gwen Humphries
    July 1, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    Great flag quilt.

  • Reply
    July 1, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    I do like your flag quilt .
    I looked up which way the flag would be displayed and gosh for our flag there are a whole lot of rules. It’s interesting also that a flag quilt is seen from one side only, but a flag is viewed from both sides.
    Anyway I like your quilt and I love our country so have a truely happy 4 of July weekend everyone

  • Reply
    July 2, 2015 at 12:26 am

    Amy, do you know if Quilts of Valor allows quilt designs that look like the American flag?

    This would be great for a QOV if I enlarged the squares to a larger size to make it 60×80 inches.

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      July 2, 2015 at 11:14 am

      So interesting you asked! Quilts of Valor just reposted my tutorial on Instagram and said, “Yes, you can make flag quilts.”

      So there you go!

      • Reply
        July 2, 2015 at 11:40 am

        That’s great! I have a red, white, blue stash and have more on the way because Connecting Threads has their line 50% off this week!

  • Reply
    July 2, 2015 at 5:45 am

    I have to admit some red, white, and blue fabrics snuck into my stash this year. Unfortunately, I didn’t get anything made wth them this year in time, but next year I have a chance 🙂 I must admit that I am just generally finding that color scheme quite attractive. I can’t wait to look at your Pinterest boards. Thank you very much for this quilt pattern. It’s just perfect. And I think I may try to make some cute place mats along the same lines. I love the quote you found from Erma Bombek. Her writing is just so great and funny! I wish that’s how the fourth was around me, but unfortunately, it really hasn’t been. I think I’m going to have to try to help make it that way.
    I finally got away from the heat in Texas, or so I thought until the recent heat wave, but the drunks and the not drunks with explosives are worse where I moved. I truly feel like I have a feel for what it was like to be in the trenches during World War I. It was unbelievable at our new house last July.. Of course, our dogs were terrified. They would have been at half that noise. I have to say I was kind of wanting to hide behind the sofa! It was terrible…and long! Ok, sorry, we just need to find a place where we and the dogs can go that isn’t quite such an assault of gunpowder. It’s just sad to me that the heat and the noise have ruined it for me so far. And I would so love to have a Norman Rockwell kind of Fourth. I don’t know what made me spill all this out here. How depressing I am. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Fourth of July! And I hope I figure out a way that I can too!

    • Reply
      Rosemary Bolton
      July 2, 2015 at 7:02 am

      Beth, I hope you can make yourself a Norman Rockwell 4th of July.
      I live in Virginia, and Fireworks are legal here. Many here set off their own FW but hubbs and I do not like it right in the neighborhood. Some people are rather dangerous. So far after 20 years here, we have never had anyone’s house on fire, thank goodness.
      I suggest you pull out everything that makes you happy and enjoy that.
      Plan an outing with your Norman Rockwell kind of friends and have a picnic

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      July 2, 2015 at 11:15 am

      Oh yikes! That sounds scary! I hope you can find a nice quiet place to get away to, to celebrate your 4th!

  • Reply
    July 2, 2015 at 6:28 am

    So charming! I can see why it’s been a favorite.

  • Reply
    Rosemary Bolton
    July 2, 2015 at 7:07 am

    I love this flag quilt. I just won a pile of patriotic fabric (One Nation, by PB Tex) at last month’s quilt club at G Street Fabrics (in Chantilly, Va) Now I have a great idea to use it.
    I am going to follow your pinterest page, Amy.
    Have a fun 4th. I always eat stuff I never usually eat, like hot dogs, and lots of cake and brownies.
    Our country is still great. It is just getting over populated by nutty people making weird life decisions and expecting the tax paying “makers” pay for them 😀

  • Reply
    July 2, 2015 at 7:44 am

    Hey Amy,

    thanks for the nice tutorial!

    Could you help me of something? I am from Finland and I was wondering where can I buy fat quarters if I want to increase my fabric pile and want to have one fq of this and one fq of that collection. So that I don´t need to buy bundles but I can decide what I want one by one. Is there any online shops that sell individual fat quarters?



  • Reply
    July 2, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    LOVE this- can’t wait to have it, use it, and display PROUDLY!! thanks AMY- you made my day!!

  • Reply
    July 2, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Links to this are popping up everywhere! This quilt is what introduced me to you, way back in the day when I ordered the kit from you.

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      July 2, 2015 at 8:33 pm

      That’s right! We have quite the history. And crazy how this has gone viral! (But you were in the know way back when ;))

  • Reply
    carol pearce
    July 2, 2015 at 4:54 pm


  • Reply
    lissa rogers
    July 2, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this! It is just darling!

  • Reply
    July 2, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    I really like the flag a lot. I love Americana and simple square patchwork. Very nice! Happy Independence Day! 🙂

  • Reply
    July 3, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this pattern.

  • Reply
    July 7, 2015 at 11:05 am

    thanks for share 🙂 i like flag number 3 from left

  • Reply
    July 11, 2015 at 10:31 am


  • Reply
    July 11, 2015 at 10:32 am


    MY E-MAIL ADDRESS IS carilyn.miller@aol.com

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      July 13, 2015 at 7:30 am

      Do you mean the pattern or the finished quilt? The pattern is free on this post. I’m afraid I don’t sell finished quilts. If you’re looking to order a custom quilt, I could recommend someone who could make it. Just let me know!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    June 17, 2016 at 6:53 am

    I was born on flag day in the US. I am definitely making your quilt. Thanks for sharing the pattern. You are a talented quilter. The quilt you made for your friend is beautiful. A wonderful keepsake.

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