How to Make a Union Jack Pillow Cushion

Hey, its Vanessa, the Crafty Gemini and I post weekly crafting and cooking videos here on my YouTube channel. Today I’m back with week number three of Invade London. I’m a part of a team, We Should Hang Out Sometime that’s headed by Josh Sundquist another YouTuber, and you all can check out all the other members of my team and their Olympic and London and British-related videos. I’ll link to them in the video description box below, and I’ll also include a grid at the end of this video for you to jump on over and see what kind of fun videos that they are shooting that have to do with the 2012 Olympics. And what I’m going to teach you how to make is a British flag pillow, or what they call the Union Jack. Let’s start with the supplies that we’ll need, and we’ll jump right into making our Union Jack pillow.

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So the navy blue piece here that we’re starting with is going to be the front of our pillow okay, and then we’re going to layer on the whites and the reds. The back of it is going to be white, or you can choose to do any colour you want, that would work fine as well. So the first thing you need to do is we’re going to work on the front-panel piece which is the piece that houses the full flag, right. I have a printout here of the flag just to keep myself reminded, so the first thing we need to do is grab our 8-inch and 9-inch white strips, so this is going to go here, and this one is going to go right here. But in order for us to match these up exactly down the middle it’s helpful to fold your background piece in quarters okay, and you could just crease it lightly with your nails like that, I am going to open it up turn it the other way, do the same thing. Now I have a cross right down there, and I know where to lay down my centre pieces, you want to make sure that you’re lining up the centre line here with the centre of your strip, if you don’t want to eyeball it you can go ahead and do the same thing to your strips as well and then just line up that crease line on the one that you did on your background piece.

Either way we’re going to line these up in the centre there, going to grab some pins, and here I’m going to pin vertically, because I’m going to zig zag stitch this down the sides, and I don’t want my pins to be in the way. I’m just going to put them right down the centre so I know that my sewing won’t disturb them. Now the way I do it, is that I take this to my sewing machine and every time I add a strip, I go, and I sew it down, one at a time. So I’m going to take a white thread okay, because you want it to blend into the background that you are stitching down, which is this white strip here, zig zag stitch down both of the long sides. You can pick any zig zag stitch that you want. Nothing fancy, I mean it could be anything, the only thing you want is that as its zagging right going zig zag, zig zag that its landing on the edge of your fabric piece like this here.

Now the next one we’re going to grab is the white one right, the longer one, the nine-inch strip, and we’re going to do the same thing, and we’re going to zig zag stitch down both long sides again, now we get our really longer white strips, and I have designed these to be longer than the piece that we have so that you don’t have to worry about the corners because all we’ll do is turn it over and then trim it flush with our rectangle shape. You just want the tip of this to be riding down as close as you can get it to the centre of your strip, and that will be close enough there. Again pin it in place and zig zag stitch down both of the long sides.

When you’re done stitching that one down, just take off your pins, turn it over is the easiest way so that you can see exactly where the edges are and just trim away the excess. Okay, and that’s going to give you that perfect point that we need on those ends. Repeat the same thing on the other side as well and then we’ll start moving into the red strips. Okay, so here is the basis of our flag, now we’re going to grab our red strips, and we’re going to go back again like we did with the initial cross that we did in the centre, with the 8-inch and 9-inch long pieces, you can see how this is going to end up going right there.

So to do this, you don’t have to fold anything in half, just eyeball it, so make sure that the red strip is going on the center, enough so that you have a little of the white sticking out on each side, so I’ll do this one first, and you can notice that since we’re sewing each one of these on individually, it’s going to start getting really bulky in the centre, so when you’re stitching down this side, just take your time and stitch nice and slow, this is also the time to bring out the red thread okay, we did the white for the white so it blends in and now we need to switch to red thread. I’m going through the same motions, next strip down the centre.

So now comes the fun part, this is when we have to actually do some arranging of these little strips. You take your thinner ones on one end. I’m just going to cut it at an angle, doesn’t have to be exactly anything, but you just want it to have a diagonal tip like this, and then if we look at the flag closely we see that this one right on the white strip, the thinner strip is closer to the bottom, so there’s more white space towards the top, and if you look at the one directly in front of me, it’s the opposite, so the little strip is closer to the top triangle and the wider white part is here, so this is what you want to make sure that you’re arranging these little strips in the correct orientation. I’m doing the top left quadrant. I need my point coming down, flat like this, okay, and what I’m lining this up with is the edge of this white right here, which is what you see here, this little white strip its flush with that edge and then what I do it, I don’t cut the strips into smaller pieces yet. I’ll lay it on top and then when I see how much I’m going to need for my piece, I’ll cut it flush to the top so that I know that I’m using enough, and I don’t have any waste.

So we’re going to pin this in place, and then for the next side just lay it like that so that the bulk of white is here and the bulk of white is going down towards this side. Again just trim it flush with the top and pin that one into place. You just have to stitch each of these down, and you’ll be done with the front panel, with the red thread still in your machine you need to zig zag stitch these down so I would recommend you start on one edge. Zig zag stitch down, pivot on the corner, come across the short end. Pivot again and then come down across. All right, so the hard part is done, remove all your pins, give everything a nice good press, so I’m laying my flag out in the correct orientation, how it would be facing up, and I’m going to take my backing piece, I’m going to layer these on top, pretty sides to pretty sides, and the reason I’m making sure that the flag is the way its supposed to look is because I want to note where the bottom is going to be, and you can see here I’ve made a mark, and this is where I’m going to leave it open, so I can turn the whole thing inside out.

Wherever you begin and end you want to back stitch to secure those stitches, then you’ll stitch all the way around, pivoting on the corners okay, when you come back around, back stitch again, and then we can turn the whole thing in after we clip our corners. So first I want to pin this into place, and then I’ll take it to my sewing machine once I’m done pinning. And for the seam allowance, it’s really up to you, but since you don’t want this to shrink too much since it is a little pillow already, you want to just use maybe a quarter of an inch all the way around. So I use red thread so you can see it, I’ve stitched all the way around, and I left this unstitched, okay.

Now what we need to do is clip these corners and what that means is that you want to cut perpendicular to the point to remove that excess bulk there so when we turn it up, we can get nice crisp points. What I also like to do is trim away a little bit off the edges just to narrow out that corner seam a little bit more, I’m going to repeat this to all four corners, make sure that you’re not cutting into your stitching line. Now that we’ve done that we can reach in here and turn the whole thing inside out. I like to put my thumb into the corner, pinch it with my pointer to the fabric here and then just turn it all up right there and then roll it out in case I need to get any excess fabric out as well.

Now it’s going to look a little wrinkly but that’s nothing an iron can’t fix, just line up the seams where you want them to be right down the center there and just give it a nice press. When it comes to this opening here you’re going to want to turn in the edges, and I just creep my iron in there just to set that and then here on the front panel because it’s a little bit bulkier you will have to help it, so just turn it in and I’ll give them a good press right where they’re going be stitched shut, okay, so there it is.

Now we carefully just open it up here, and we’re going to begin stuffing it. So I have some polyester filling in here and what I like to do is start off in the corners, so I’ll just put a little bit in there and push it in with my fingers till I reach the corners, just to fill those up first. Okay and so we’re going to fill this to whatever your desired stiffness is and now what I’m going to do is hand stitch this closed. If you don’t know how to hand stitch with a basic whip stitch, you can go ahead and click on my tutorial right here for some hand sewing basics, and once you’re done with that your pillow is done.

And there’s your Union Jack pillow, I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, if you did hit it with a thumbs up, consider making it for yourself or for a friend and remember to subscribe to my channel so you won’t miss out on any of my new video tutorials or giveaways. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you guys next time.

Image: BigStock

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