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Union Jack

© 2012 by hs

With this Union Jack I can display my love for everything British—whenever I feel like doing so.

Originally, I planned it as a purse, but now it appears to be almost too small. I don’t know yet what to make of it.

The four quarters around the middle cross were done in paper piecing. I like paper piecing except for the huge amount of discard fabric. Since all pieces are pre-cut in their rough shape, you end up with much more waste fabric than when cutting the pieces to their real measurements.

Nevertheless, small patchwork designs are much more accurate when they are paper pieced. And as the white strips of the flag are very thin indeed (less than 1/4 inch) I went for paper piecing them.

© 2012 by hs

At first, I sew on the printed lines of the paper without thread. The perforation allows me to see the lines now on both sides of the paper, and it helps tearing the paper away after sewing.

I place the first piece of fabric (here: green) on the paper, right side up, making sure that there is enough fabric overlapping the lines as a seam allowance. Then I place the second fabric (here: white) on the first, right side down. I make sure that the white fabric—after sewing and ironing—will cover the part for which it is destined.

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© 2012 by hs

Before sewing, however, I hold the fabric-fabric-paper-sandwich up to the light so that I can see through all three layers and check if all the pieces are in place.

I turn the sandwich paper up, and sew on the printed line.

At the beginning and end, I backstitch two stitches to secure the seam. This will help to avoid ripping the seams when removing the paper later.

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© 2012 by hs

After sewing, I cut the seam allowance to 1/4 inch. To make sure that I do not cut the paper, I fold it back. Then I fold it in place again and press the fabric open, right sides up.

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© 2012 by hs

I continue with a third piece of fabric (here: grey).

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© 2012 by hs

Then, on the other side of the green fabric, again a white strip, and then grey again.

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© 2012 by hs

After everything is sewed, and pressed, I trim the excess fabric from around my paper template.

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© 2012 by hs

Lastly, I carefully tear away the paper, starting with the large pieces and working my way to the tiny and narrow ones.

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© 2012 by hs

As soon as the paper is off, you cannot make out at all that this block was paper pieced, whether you look at the back, or the front.

The rest of the flag, I did in “normal” piecing method: white strips on two sides each, and finally the green cross in the middle.

As you can see, I did not make a true British flag, neither in colour, nor in width-to-height ratio. My Union Jack is squarish because “it’s hip to be square”.

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God save the Queen!

© 2012 by hs

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