Garden Flags

Garden Flags

Decorative flags look great in the garden on windy days, and they are easy and cheap to make. Rita Hill made long flags or pennants about 3m long x 50cm wide using bright cotton fabric and poles made from bamboo or other suitable materials.

You’ll need

  • 2 poles, each 4.5m long
  • 3 metres of fabric, 115cm wide
  • iron
  • sewing machine
  • scissors
  • pins

Making the flags

  1. Find the centre line on the fabric by ironing a crease through the middle. Cut along the crease to make 2 long rectangles. (This step relates to fabric 115cm wide. If you choose wider fabric your flags will be wider unless you cut them at about 57.5cm widths)
  2. Begin making the first flag by turning up the bottom edge of the fabric (that is along the 57.5cm width) to form a narrow hem about 1-2cm. This will stop the bottom edge from fraying and must be done before the casing is made.
  3. Fold in the selvage to make a casing for the flagpole to slide through. The casing should be of sufficient width to ensure the pole can easily be pushed through without the fabric catching at its widest point. Measure the pole at its widest point and add another 1cm or so for stitching. The easiest way to prepare the casing is by folding, ironing and pinning it into position for sewing later. Rita recommends making a little template (the width of the casing and about 15cm long from light card) to help keep your casing straight. Do small sections at a time and pin as you go.
  4. The next step is to find the diagonal of the flag. An easy way to do this is to lay the flag out on a carpeted area. Pin it to the carpet at three corners, then pin the tip including a 2cm seam allowance. Fold it over and, with a preheated iron, set your crease and then cut.
  5. Using a sewing machine, sew the casing and the seam along the diagonal edge. Finish the top edge with a hem. This will close the top of the casing so the flag can’t slide down. 

Further information

Garden flags are not easily available and can cost up to $50. To make your ownyou can simply cut a sturdy bamboo pole from a garden clump. Alternatively bamboo poles and sometimes Rangoon poles (which are much taller) can be purchased from cane and bamboo suppliers and some garden centres. They are available in varying thickness. Expect to pay about $7 for a pole 18-21mm thick and 2.5m tall. Bamboo poles can also be ordered from a website: The fabric can be polyester/cotton which costs $3 per metre.