04 July 2011

American Flag Wall Hanging Tutorial

Happy 4th of July, everyone!
To those of you in the States, I hope you have a great Independence Day!  For those of you elsewhere, have a great Monday!

So, remember the wall hanging idea I told you about last week?  I got it done!  With one week between getting the idea to needing to have the project completed, I am really proud of myself for being able to finish.  And here it is:


Okay, so here's the tutorial like I promised.

You need:
Red, white, and blue fabric scraps--several different prints for each  (you can check out the pictures of my fabric options for inspiration)
batting--at least as large as the finished top (22 x 14 inches)
backing fabric--23.5 x 15.5 inches
and the usual sewing supplies

Start by cutting your fabric into 2.5 x 2.5 inch squares.  You will need 12 blues, 36 reds, and 29 whites.  Remember to use a variety of fabrics for each color.

In order to get my wall hanging done within the time frame, I took my bag of fabric scraps and my scissors and cut my squares out while playing with Boo.  I measured one square, then used it as a template for the others.  But doing it this way, my squares turned out a little...unsquare.  This made stitching them together--and matching seams--a little more difficult.  A rotary cutter would give better results, but takes time dedicated to cutting, rather than slipped in where possible.  So, whatever you choose.  Both methods work.

Now lay out your squares so you can arrange them in a nice pattern.

Notice how I'm using very different fabrics, but they blend together nicely.  I have creams and clean whites, dark reds and bright reds, navy blues and--well, no light blues--just dark and medium value.

Sew the squares together!  I recommend the continuous thread method.  All that means is you sew as much as you can without cutting the thread--when one pair of squares are sewn together, send the next pair through,  This is more efficient with your time and thread than stopping and cutting in between each seam.

Iron the seams in alternating directions; this helps the corners fit together nicely when you sew it all together.

Once you have all your squares sewn into their rows, sew the rows together.  (Now you can see why I had you iron the seams in alternating directions.  Iron again.  (This time the direction isn't really important.)

Take a minute to stand back and admire your finished quilt top...wall hanging top...whatever.

Next, center the ...wall hanging top...on the batting and backing.  Cut the batting to match the top.  Pin in place.  This is called sandwiching a quilt.

(Yes, I pieced my backing.  I couldn't see cutting a large chunk out of my usable-for-other-projects blue fabric when I had several large scraps.  It's the back; no one will know except for you, so don't tell!)

Now you can quilt your wall hanging however you'd like.  I was planning to machine quilt the words "E pluribus unum/out of many, one," but my machine had other ideas.  She didn't want me to put the feed dogs down (kind of important for that quilting design), and she won the argument.  So instead, I outline quilted down the stripes and around the blue section.  I also quilted a star in the blue.  I used monofilament thread, so the quilting would be subtle.  If I did it again, I would use a more visible thread; I like how the quilting turned out, but it's a shame that you have to be only six inches away to really see it.

(Yeah, it's hard to see the quilting.  But it's there, I promise.)

Next step:  Binding.  I usually cut separate strips for the binding, but I wanted to try folding the backing over for binding this time.  Here's what I did:

From here, I did a decorative stitch around the entire thing.

As you can see, there's a little flap at the corner.  You could leave this as is, hand-sew it down, or tuck the flap back into itself and then sew that down--a faux mitered corner.

Now your wall hanging is complete! ...Except for anything needed to hang it.  I confess, I'm not sure what to do about that.  So I guess for now it's a table runner...

How do you hang your wall hangings?


  1. Oh that is so cute! And I may have to steal your idea.

  2. That turned out really cute.

    You could do two different things to hand up your wall hanging. One you could put sleeves at the top of the wall hanging and put a dowel through them and hand it up that way or you would put clothes pins or some kind of clip like that on a board and hang the board up and then hand up the wall hanging like that.
    Either one should work pretty well if you wanted to make wall hangings for lot of different things.
    Hope that helps.

  3. That looks like a fun project. You explained it well too. I like your pictures too, especially the one for explaining how to iron the little squares.


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