Tumbler Flag

This flag was made based on a flag I saw in 2011 on Sarah's blog (Sarah Did It). It was from a kit from Calico Gals that I couldn't seem to find available anywhere anymore. So using the photos from Sarah's blog and the Calico Gal's blog, I decided to try my own version. I wanted a smaller one and thought that the Primitive Gatherings Tiny Tumbler template would do the trick. I have had many questions about this quilt, so I decided to post this tutorial. Since I had no pattern, I am not saying this is the only, or even the best, way to do things. This is just how I did it. Hope it helps.
First off, I cut my pieces with the Primitive Gatherings Tiny Tumbler. The fabrics came from my R/W/B scrap basket. The pieces need to be almost 2" to accommodate the approximate 1 3/4" template.
I used 42 red tumblers, 32 white/cream tumblers, and 17 blue tumblers. Using a variety of shades within the colors will give more of a feeling of "waving". I laid them out (I used a design board) in flag formation.
The rows are sewn together vertically, like this. I used 1/4" seams.
If you have never worked with the tumbler shape before, you will want to be aware of how to put them together. 
DON'T match up the corners, like this.
 You want to have the 1/4" seam allowance peeking out from under the tumbler on top. This gives you the straight edges on top and bottom of each row after you open up the tumblers and press them. As I sewed the tumblers together I  pressed the seams to the lighter fabric. I don't know why I did that. I would recommend pressing them to the darker fabric. As I sewed the rows together I pressed those seams open.
After making each of the rows I sewed the rows together to create the flimsy. 
At this point I layered it up. I opted to finish with the "inside-out" method, rather than binding. So I placed my flimsy top and my backing with right sides together. I used flannel for my batting, as I didn't want bulky batting in my seams. The flannel goes on the bottom of the pile.
Using my walking foot, I stitched in 1/4" around the edge of the flimsy, leaving about one half of the middle of one short end unstitched.
This is what it looked like when I finished and flipped it over. You can see the opening on the left hand side, below. My opening was a little tight, so I would leave it a little more open than what you see.
Using the edge of the top as my guide, I trimmed away the excess backing and flannel

Now I trimmed the points off of the ridges...
...and the corners. I was trying to cut down on bulk when I would turn it right-side out, but was careful not to clip too close to the stitches. 
Where there were indentations in the sides I would clip out a little wedge, again, to reduce bulk. I tried to keep the scissors a few threads from the seams.
Now I turned the whole thing right-side out.
Using a round ended paper-embossing tool, I pushed out the corners and ridges. Then I hand-stitched the open end closed. I machine quilted it at this point. I did stars and loops in navy thread in the blue section. Using matching threads I stitched wavy, crossing lines through the stripes. 
I added the loops to the back afterward because I decided I wanted to hang it. You could include them when you are doing the seam if you choose.
This little quilt finished at 8 1/4" x 12 1/4". That is less than half the size of the original on Calico Gals.
If there are any questions that I haven't addressed here, please let me know and I will try to answer, if I know the answer. : )


  1. This is really great, Janet - thanks so much for taking the time to post this. Love it!

  2. I love the idea of sewing it and turning it right side out. I think this looks great without a binding on it.

  3. perfect Mom.
    I was thinking that since it's taking me forever to get around to finishing mine I would have to ask you for help again, but now I don't have to :)
    Thanks so much!

  4. Great tutorial Janet! I'm going to have to try that and soon... I just love it! I especially love your choice of fabrics, mixing them up and using 2 blue star fabrics for the stars. Your frame is perfect for it too :*)

  5. Sew glad to see your tutorial. I sold my flag last week to a friend of my Mother's and now I'll know how to make another :)

  6. Great tutorial. I think the "birthing" method of finishing makes so much sense on this quilt. And, I'm waiting for my template to arrive. I will be making on of these soon. Thanks for posting about this blog on Small Quilt Talk.

  7. A very easy way to put backing on a project like this (or a placemat also) is to use two separate pieces of backing, each half the size of your piece plus 1/2 inch seam allowance. Sew that 1/2 inch seam part way on either edge, leaving the middle open (enough to turn right side out. You will have a seam down the middle of the piece. Wrong sides togther, sew all the way around the piece and turn thru the opening in the middle of the backing. Then you only have to blind sew up that opening where it won't show and you don't have that awkward stitching area along the edge. Can you see what I mean?

  8. io amo molto questo blocco, seguendo un tutorial ho creato la sagoma e ora sto facendo un runner per il mio tavolo.
    Il tuo lavoro è davvero delizioso e le immagini molto esplicative.

  9. So . . . I was thinking I would like to do a little tumbler flag for my mini stand for Flag Day (June 14), and when I did a google search, guess whose link showed up first??! LOL! Which is funny, because I was thinking about you this morning (well, actually, I think about you every morning or whenever I get in the shower, because I use your soaps, and that's my prayer prompt for you and your family), anyway, *this* morning I was prompted not just to pray, but to give you a shout and see how you all were doing and how your girls were, and wasn't the Lord nice to give me a reminder by sending me directly to your blog??! Whew! How are you, my sweet friend??!! :)

  10. A tumbler flag is on my bucket list. I'm inspired even more seeing yours ... and will definitely have to use your backing method.


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