70 Flags for 70 Years
There was a long, hard, think about what to do for my Papa's 70th birthday gift. He's my host father from a student exchange in Germany from over 12 years ago, I love him dearly, and we would be there for his party, 3 days after my host sister's wedding.
After much thought about the number 70, their love of garden parties, his love of sailing, and my love for the fabric banners/garlands/buntings that have cropped up over the web (see them all in a Flickr! group here), I landed on the idea of a banner with one flag for every year of his life. I made larger flags with initials of important people for special dates: the year he was born, the year he married his wife, and the years his children and grand-children were born.
The flags hung well in the garden and were very festive, and I sewed them with a water-and-outdoor-friendly cord in the spine, with extra length at both ends, with the idea that they might also be able to string them up on the sailboat. We watched them get tested through their first rain on the day of the party, and they survived quite well.
70 flags, smaller ones about 5" across the top, larger about 8" across the top Total length: about 32-34 feet
Fabric: Free! Mostly upholstery samples that were being thrown out of my office
-For the flags, I pinned two fabrics back-to-back and drew the outline of the flag on one side. I did a dense zig-zag of the outline (not quite a proper satin stitch), then cut out. None of the flags are the same on both sides.
-For initials, I sketched them on paper, cut out, applied double-fusible webbing to the fabric, traced the outline of the letter onto the paper backing of the webbing, cut the letter out, fused it to one piece of fabric with flag outline traced on it, then outlined with my not-quite-satin-stitch zig-zag.
-To put it all together, I laid everything out on the floor in rows to get the intials in the right places for the right years and get a reasonable distribution of colors/fabrics, then started sewing onto the spine. I stitched each flag onto half of a one inch piece of cotton webbing (woven strip of cloth like they make kid's belts with), then tucked a nylon cord into the center of the webbing, folded the webbing over, and stitched the cord and flags into a sandwich. The 1" webbing worked - I would have preferred a little wider, but I was working (and shopping) with a bit of a time crunch there at the end.