During the second have of the 19th century, patriotic fabric was printed. Some of it was for political campaigns and some was for the celebration of July 4th. People were given printed neckerchiefs and handkerchiefs at campaigns rallies to wear and use. These fabrics would make their way into quilts. I decided to add a patriotic block to the sampler quilt. In 1876 the country celebrated the 100th anniversary of the country. Philadelphia had an Exposition that summer and the country needed to start feeling good about themselves. After the suffering from the Civil War and the reconstruction the country was ready to celebrate. Fabrics with flags and lady liberty was manufactured by the yard and people bought it for table cloths. shirts, and costumes. The country had parades and fairs on July 4th. There were even quilts made to commemorate the event.
I didn’t have any reproduction fabric that was patriotic but I did look for a flag block. I found this block in an issue from April 2002 McCalls Quilting from a time that we were trying to come to terms with 911. The pattern was designed around a Moda flag fabric. So I partially redesigned the block to fit 12 1/2 inches square and to use some reproduction striped fabric I had.
To make this block you will need:
Four 2 1/2 inches square of navy blue star fabric.
Four 2 1/2 inches square of red striped fabric.
Four 4 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches rectangle of striped fabric.
Four 1 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches strips of red print fabric.
Four 2 inches by 4 1/2 inches strips of navy blue print fabric.
Four 1 1/2 inches by 7 inches strip of red print fabric.
Four 2 inches by 7 inches strip of navy blue print fabric.
Follow the pictures to construct the block.
I channeled my inner Eleanor Burns and sewed the 2 1/2 inches red strip to the blue star fabric being careful to line them up so the strip was the right direction for a flag. I chained pieced them together. Pressed open. Then the next strep is to chain piece the 4 1/2 inches of striped fabric to the bottom of the stars being careful to have them all going the correct direction.
Press open and sew the 4 1/2 inches red strip to the bottom and the 4 1/2 inches blue strip to the top .
Square the two sides that did not get a strip. Pay attention to the size of the flag making sure that it is 4 inches between the 2 strips. Make adjustments if needed before squaring up. You should square up to 4 1/2 inches wide. Don’t worry about the top and bottom at this time. You are going to add the final 2 strips to the block next.
I was using scraps and just had some narrow strips from the end of strip cutting fabric that was in my scrap container. I didn’t cut them because I was not sure how long my block was when I was cutting parts out. The original block the flag was already made and you fussy cut it out. Also the block was 15 1/2 inches in the McCall’s pattern. So at that point I was flying a little by the seat of my pants. I continued to channel my inner E. Burns and chained sewed the strips on being careful to sew them on the side that they should be.
I cut them a part and pressed them open.
Now I squared the whole block up to 6 1/2 inch square using a square up ruler. But before I trim I checked to make sure that my flag was a perfect 4 inch finished square. If adjustment were needed you should do them now. I lined it up so I only trimmed down the size on the red side. Leaving all the blue I could.
Arrange the block like this and sew together the same way you would a four square patch.