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...from January, 2004...
official proportions
Reproduction, Official proportions
25 January 1839 to present time
Finished Size:
36" x 54" (see TEXAS FLAG CODE at bottom of this article)
Polyester, cotton, cotton bunting, Nylon
Finished panel sizes: Blue panel - 36" x 18"; White and Red panel - 18" x 36"
Header: Cotton duck or canvas, 1½" to 2" wide
Cut fabric to the following sizes: Blue - 38" x 21"; White and Red - 20" x 39"
Star: 12 7/8" across the points (13" is OK)
Notes: The flag of the State of Texas is the longest running pattern in the United States. Even the US flag
cannot technically claim a longer run, since the number of stars and their arrangement has changed many
times since 1777. To date the 48 star US flag enjoys the longest run as our national symbol, 47 years (1912
to 1959). The 50 star US flag will surpass it in 2007, after the 4th of July. But the current State of Texas
flag started life as the flag of the Republic of Texas (superseding a couple of other designs) in January of
1839, prior to the admission of Texas as a state. The device is said to have incorporated the "Bonnie Blue"
or "Lone Star" flag with the white and red "stripes" of the US flag. It is one of the most pleasing designs of
any flag, simple and effective, and immediately recognizable.
The Texas flag makes a good beginner's flag because the construction is simple. For the first time flag
maker Nylon is a recommended fabric, especially if the flag is to be flown outside a lot.
Before you begin here are a few notes and tips.
1. Have plenty of straight pins at hand. They will be needed to hold hems and seams in position while
you are sewing. The instructions below do not always say to "pin down the seam" because it is
extremely obvious when it is necessary to do so.
2. Adjust the tension on your sewing machine for Nylon (or the fabric you'll be using). Try a test line
of stitching before you begin. If you need to make adjustments it's easier to do it on scrap than try
and fix your flag
3. Use the proper needle for your sewing machine and make sure it's sharp. A package of sewing
machine needles is cheap. A "stretch" needle is used for sewing Nylon, and a universal needle for
attaching a canvas or duck header (hoist). If you are making this flag with material other than Nylon
use a type of needle recommended by your sewing machine maker
4. Have a pair of good, sharp scissors for cutting fabric, and a pair of trimming or buttonhole scissors
for trimming close to seams. If you don't have trimming or buttonhole scissors then use a pair of dull
scissors to trim excess fabric away from seams; which in this project is around the star. If you only
have one pair of scissors then be particularly careful when trimming so as not to cut the threads. It
won't be the end of the world if you do, but if you don't cut any threads on seams then you won't have
to fix the mistake.
5. Before you start note the time. When you finish note the time. The difference between the two times
is how long it took you to make the flag, minus any breaks you took. Multiply the time by what you
realistically think you are worth per hour (NOT by what someone else thinks you are worth). Add in
the cost of materials. The final number is what your flag is worth.
6. During construction, if you get tired, quit and come back to it later.
7. When your flag is finished show it to everyone you know - and enjoy watching it fly!
Construction: Begin by cutting the red and white panels to 20" x 39". This will leave an allowance for ½"
seams between the panels and along the long edges, and a 1" fly hem. Before sewing the panels together
decide whether you want to match thread color with fabric color. If this is a first
time project a single natural color thread may work best. If you don't mind
changing spools and bobbins then match the thread to the fabric color. Place the
red panel over the white panel.
Mark a line 1" from the one of the
long edges and sew the panels
together. Cut away ½" of the
RED seam (don't cut the white
fabric at the same time! - note the
example drawings at the left).
(note: drawings are not to scale)
At this point unfold the red and white panels, laying them down so that
the seam is up. This is important for two reasons: 1) it is important to
flatten out the two pieces of fabric along the seam line so that the final
stitching will be straight, and 2) if you don't unfold the two panels you'll
end up with a dangling seam.
Fold the larger white seam over the
smaller red.
Then press
the seam flat
against the
red panel.
This will
leave a ½"
flat fell
seam. Pin
the seam down so that it doesn't
The seam will be the BACK of the flag, leaving the front smooth. Now stitch the seam into place along the
edge of the seam. This can be done 1) directly on the seam itself (called bobbin stitching), or 2) turn the
panels over to the front and stitch through to the edge of the seam in the back (called top stitching). Top
stitching is stitching in the "blind" because you can't see the edge of the seam. Some flag makers will hand
sew a basting stitch along the edge of the seam to identify the edge from the front. A basting stitch is a very
broad running stitch usually made by hand, then pulled out after the seam has been made. Others will mark
the distance to the edge of the seam with a ruler and marking a fine line with an erasable fabric pencil. If
you don't feel comfortable top stitching use the bobbin stitch method. One usually can't tell the difference,
especially if the sewing machine tension settings are correct and each individual stitch is of uniform length.
Attach the white and red panels to the blue panel using
the same technique as above. Be sure to start with the
white and red panels lying flat with the FRONT side
up. Lay the blue panel over top the white and red
panels, and align the left sides. Looking down on the
assembly the blue panel will face you with what is its
BACK side (once the blue panel is folded away to make
the seam). Stitch the blue panel into position with a row
of stitching 1" from the edge of the flag. Then unfold
the blue panel and lay the flag face down. Press along
the stitching line to help flatten the fabric. Cut ½" of
the BLUE seam, leaving the white/red seam longer.
Fold over twice toward the blue panel. Then stitch the
seam into position. The reason we fold into the blue
fabric is to avoid sewing over top two seams, as would
happen if we had cut the white/red panels and folded the
blue over twice.
Lay the flag FACE DOWN
and smooth it out. Turn
each of the long edges over
½" TWICE. Remember, the
flag is lying face down, so
turn the fabric toward you,
not underneath (since that is
the front of the flag). Sew
along the edge of the seam
and along the long edge of
the flag, as close to the edge
as possible.
Turn the fly end of the
flag over 1" TWICE.
Stitch into position. Use
three or four rows of
equally spaced stitching to
make sure the fly end is
reinforced. If you use
three rows of stitching the
rows will be at the seam
edge, down the exact
middle of the seam (½"
in), and at the fly edge of
the flag. Four rows of
stitching is a little harder
to space evenly (it is NOT
¼" apart), but 3/8" should be close enough.
Although the star could be
put on the blue panel at this
point it is better to wait until
the header (or hoist) has
been attached. Once the
header is in place aligning
the star becomes much
easier. Measure 18" from
the panel seam and draw a
straight line (shown by the
solid line in the diagram)
with a fabric pencil. Then
draw a second line ½" inch
from the first (shown by the
dashed line in the diagram).
The first line is important
because it will mark the interior edge of the header. The second line is an alignment marker.
The blue panel was originally cut
to allow 2" for the header. That is
more than enough. If you decide
to make the hoist 1 3/4" you'll
have to cut a little off the blue
panel. However, for the sake of
this article, we will plan for a 2"
hoist. Another consideration is in
terms of cutting the canvas or
cotton duck. This is thick
material, and when it is folded it
will take up some room. Therefore we will allow 1/8" for folds (over and above the measurement of the
fabric itself. Therefore for a 2" hoist the calculation goes as follows: ½" (front turned seam) + 1/8" (front
seam turn) + 2" (front part of header) + ¼" (for turning the header around the blue panel) + 2" (back part of
header) + 1/8" (back seam turn) + ½" (for back seam): Total header width of 5½". The length of the header
is 36" + 3/4" (for top seam tuck) + 3/4" (for bottom seam tuck) = 37½". The diagram above is an edge view
of the hoist, exaggerated to show the details.
Lay out the header so that the
left long edge aligns with the
18½" line. Draw a line ½" in
on the header (the pink line,
18" from the panel seam line
on the diagram). Sew a line of
stitching along this line, as
shown by the pink dashed line
in the diagram. Make sure you
change the sewing machine
needle from the Nylon needle
to the universal needle
appropriate for canvas. You
will also have to adjust your
bobbin tension and pressure
foot tension for the thicker
material. Consult your
machine's User's Manual for
the proper settings. You are
sewing through several thicknesses of fabric, so go slow and follow the line as accurately as possible.
Notice that the header is ¾" longer on each end than the width of
the flag. Turn these ¾" flaps in on themselves. Then fold the
entire header around the end of the blue panel, turn the edge in ½",
and align the folded edge on the line of stitching showing on the
Sew four rows of stitching on
the hoist. The hoist is where
all the wind loading must be
supported, and where the flag
will physically attach to a pole
or staff. It therefore needs to be firmly reinforced. You can now attach the solid brass grommets. 7/16"
brass grommets are recommended . You can buy a kit of these grommets, along with the mounting tool, for
a modest cost. The position of the grommets is not critical, but they should be placed in the middle of the
hoist (width-wise), and about 1" from the edge of the hoist to the center of the grommet.
Cut a 13" star (as measured
across the points) from the
white Nylon and position it in
the middle of the blue panel.
Pin the star into position. Cut
a large square of white Nylon,
approximately 18" x 18", and
pin it behind the star on the
back of the blue panel. Make
sure the square covers the
star. Remove the universal
needle and replace it with the
stretch needle. Zigzag stitch
around the star. This will not
only attach the front star to the
flag, but it will create an exact
duplicate star on the back of the flag.
CAREFULLY cut away the
excess fabric around the
stitching lines on the back of
the flag. The idea is to remove
excess white Nylon and not to
cut into the star or the blue
panel. Use trimming scissors
or buttonhole scissors if
possible because they are
made for close work such as
Upon completion of trimming
the back star your Texas flag
will be complete.
Texas Government Code section 3100.002:
(a) The state flag is a rectangle that:
(1) has a width to length ratio of two to three; and
(2) contains:
(A) one blue vertical stripe that has a width equal to one-third the length
of the flag;
(B) two equal horizontal stripes, the upper stripe white, the lower stripe
red, each having
a length equal to two-thirds the length of the flag; and
(C) one white, regular five-pointed star:
(i) located in the center of the blue stripe;
(ii) oriented so that one point faces upward; and
(iii) sized so that the diameter of a circle passing through the five
points of the star is equal to three-fourths the width of the blue stripe.
(b) The red and blue of the state flag are:
(1) the same colors used in the United States flag; and
(2) defined as numbers 193 (red) and 281 (dark blue) of the Pantone Matching
(c) The red, white, and blue of the state flag represent, respectively, bravery, purity,
and loyalty.