Friday, October 12, 2012

Flamingo Flag

How do you get home to the right trailer when camping in a sea of silver?
How do you give someone directions so that they can stop by for a visit?

Home Sweet Pickled Flamingo
With a flag, of course.

Do you have a flag?

 It's not too difficult to make one. The hardest part can be finding or making an image that identifies the trailer as yours.

Our flamingo logo formed itself about a year ago, as the confluence of the retro feel we seemed to be getting with our progressive remodeling. The top hat hearkens back to an earlier, classier era of travel, the martini glass represents the relaxation that the Tin Pickle brings and the flamingo because...

...well, flamingos and Airstreams just go together, like campy and trailer camping.

Making it fly well and show from both sides took a bit of planning and some tricks of execution. Bear with me below for some tricks I learned along the way.

I wanted it lightweight, sun resistant, strong and a little glitzy. I also wanted the sun to shine through the flamingo without being blocked by the background fabric. My tools were a 30 year old Kenmore sewing machine, some smallish, sharp, pointy scissors, and wonder under. I also used a CNC laser to cut out the shapes, but this is truly not a necessity. How and when to cut away the background material makes the difference.

For my fabric, I chose polyester lining. Polyester is sun resistant, so I wouldn't feel concerned about leaving the flag flying all weekend for various gatherings. Polyester lining also is fairly strong and tear resistant. It comes in bright colors and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

Step 1
I fused the wonder under to one side of enough pink polyester for one flamingo, enough black poly/cotton (a remnant) for two hats, and enough silver lamé for two martini glasses.

Step 2
I cut out the shapes and penciled on any lines for overstitching detail in the center of the shape. Make sure that any shapes that are going to be on both sides are mirror images of each other so that they'll match up back to back.

Step 3
I fused the main shape (the flamingo) the the fabric ONLY at the edges. I pinned the flamingo in several places in the center to hold it in place and then, with the iron on the proper temperature, touched the edge of the iron to the edge of the flamingo, fusing only the outer 1/8" of the shape. I did not fuse the "hand" holding the martini glass. I then fused on the entire hat and the entire martini glass to one side, since they didn't need the light shining through. I was careful to position the flamingo's hand so that it sat on top of the martini glass stem.

Step 4
I cut away the field (blue, in my case) from the inside of the shape. Notice that I only did this on the head, neck and body. This made the legs look different from the "feathered" parts of the flamingo. It was also easier. Be careful to trip a fairly even distance in from the edge, since the shadow of the remaining field color will show when the flag is backlit.

Step 5
I fused the other side of the flamingo fabric to the backside of the first flamingo. The unfused wonder under on the backside of the first flamingo was exposed when the blue was cut away It is nearly impossible to line up two shapes and a hole and to stitch them together without major distortion and gaps. This step solves all those problems. The second flamingo shape gets cut out AFTER it is sewn onto the flag. I fused the body and made sure I positioned the pink fabric to cover where the legs were going to go as well. It took a bit of fiddling to fuse the second martini glass on the back side and then lay the still uncut pink fabric over it, pinned to be ready for the next step. The second martini side had to go on before the pink was outlined, since it needs to be under the pink. (By the time I had done this bit and fixed some oopses, I was ready for a martini myself, but I needed a steady hand for the rest of the job.)

Step 6
Sew the perimeter of the shape, going through all three layers, using a closely set zig zag stitch. I pinned the second layer of pink around the legs to hold the layers in place and then went around the outside of the whole piece, martini glass and all. Then stitch the inner details if any. This, for me, included stitching around the hand on the martini glass.

Step 7
Repeat: "No one will see this close up; no one will see this close up." Then, taking great care not to nick the background cloth, cut the backside fabric away, around the outside of the stitching fabric. If the stitching missed its mark a little bit now and then, the wonder under will hold the appliques shapes in place.

Step 8
Add any shapes that needed to go on top of any previous shapes. In my case, this was the second side of the hat. You'll note that this means that the hat perimeter gets stitched twice. This is another reason for using the sturdier cotton/poly for the hat material.

Step 9
Hem the edges (double fold under and overstitch) and sew something really sturdy (I had just enough sunbrella bias tape left over from the awning) down the pole side of the flag. I put a grommet at the top and bottom corners of the pole side of the flag.

Step 10
Attach the flag to the pole. We're still trying to figure out the optimum way to do this. In the meantime, a couple of zip ties do the job well enough.

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