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
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.
- 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.
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:
And here are links to other fun 4th of July projects and tutorials and party ideas for your patriotic needs:
And now, I plan to pig-out as patriotically as possible this week. 😉