American Flag Pillow for Z’s Grandpa

I decided to make an American flag pillow for Z’s grandpa.  Z and his grandfather share a deep love of military and American history; they watch military TV shows and documentaries together, and Z’s father and his grandfather took him to see the USS Intrepid and submarines and other museums when he was growing up.  Z has many happy memories of such experiences with his grandfather.  (I’ll call him Mr. J for the purposes of this post – that’s shorter.)  I thought Mr. J would appreciate a nice flag pillow, something patriotic and something comfortable for propping up his legs or putting behind his back.  (Mr. J is almost 95 and he’s in excellent shape for his age, but he still has some aches and pains.)

I found this website with the dimensions for an American flag.  (I thought all flags had to have those dimensions, but then I read that those dimensions are only for offiical/military flags and otherwise the dimensions can be more like 3/5 or 5/8, and I don’t think it matters for a pillow, but I wanted it to be the right dimensions.)  I used the dimensions to calculate how wide and how long to make the stripes and the blue section.  I had bought a 14″ by 28″ pillow form, so I decided to aim for a 13″ flag with a border.  That made the math easy – each stripe was 1″ wide (so I cut them 1.5″ wide).  If the stripes were 1″ wide, then they needed to be 24 or 25″ long.  I pulled out all my red and white fabrics and cut the stripes from them.

The measurements for the blue section needed to be approximately 7″ by 10″, not counting seam allowance.  I chose this print featuring the American eagle and the flag.  I had wanted to use the print for Z’s quilt last year and misplaced it, so I was excited to find it again.  (I think I found it right after I finished Z’s quilt last year.)

So here’s the completed flag:

Then, I needed to make the border for the flag.  I had bought two military fabrics, one a US Army print with tanks on it on a black background, and one a US Air Force print with planes on it on a sky blue background.  I don’t think I bought them for this specifically, but I do think I had bought them with the idea that I might use them for something for Z or Mr. J.  I showed them to Z and asked him which to use, and he said the Air Force fabric.

It was an excellent choice, because the sky blue color is really pretty and it offsets the colors in the flag nicely.  The sky blue is appropriate for a flag, too.  I used the rest of the fabric to make the back of the pillow.  I sewed it closed with matching sky blue thread because that’s easier than making flaps, and I figured Mr. J wouldn’t need to take it off the pillow anyway.

Here’s the finished flag pillow:

I am so pleased with how it came out.  I was going to save it for Christmas – I’m being very proactive with making Christmas presents this year – but Z said to just give it to him now; he might as well enjoy it.  We visited Z’s family this weekend (which was so lovely) and I brought it for him.  Mr. J was completely delighted.  He said it’s the perfect side to rest his book on while he’s reading.

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