Category Archives: Union Jack quilt

Union Jack Block #4 and #5

Flag block #5Flag block #4





Five blocks done and each one of them is WRONG – the horizontal red stripe is too wide – a half an inch too wide! My original instructions said 7.5 cm and it should have been 6 – I have corrected the original post. How the heck that happened and how I didn’t catch is sooner is beyond me. Now where did I put the seam ripper?

Union Jack block #3

Flag block #3

Not crazy about this one – the prints are all a bit too busy. I would have preferred the white to be more white – less pattern. I have almost no white background fabric to choose from so I had to go with what is in my stash. Doesn’t matter – I am sure it will fit in with the rest.

How I paper piece the Union Jack block

Union Jack graphic

Yesterday Julie commented on my block #2 and asked if I made my own paper piecing pattern for the Union Jack blocks I am working on. The few that I found on the internet were not accurate and my English husband thought if I was going to make a Union Jack quilt with 15 blocks they should look like a real Union Jack. So I downloaded what looked like an accurate flag and made my own pattern.

Unit A (top left hand side of the flag) shown blow:

Flag unit A

4 units patterns

I print the 4 (A, B, C and D) red, white and blue striped units on 8.5″ x 11″ sheets of newsprint. Then on a light box I draw the sewing lines on the back – it just takes a minute – the pattern is so simple just a few straight lines. I cut the white frame strips and the red strips separately and add them to the 4 units. I have those measurements in centimeters because the inches were crazy.

Cut 4 white fabric: 3 cm x 9 cm. Cut 4 white fabric: 3 cm x 22 cm. Cut 2 red fabric: 6 cm x 10.5 cm. Cut one red fabric: 7.5 cm x 47.5 cm. I made file folder templates and I trace around them (on the back of the fabric) with a permanent fine tipped Sharpie marker. These measurements include the 1/4″ seam allowance.


 The way I am going about it is not the way most people do it. I have very little fabric (I only buy 1/4 yards and fat quarters or less) so I cannot cut the large random chunks of fabric most people use in paper piecing to make sure that the spot is covered with enough seam allowance. And I do not have access to a quilt shop so I cannot run out and buy more fabric. I have developed a way to conserve fabric and ensure that the spot is always covered – not too much and not to little – just right :-) I have used this method in the past for other paper piecing projects and it works for me.


I print the pattern on regular bond paper and cut it out and stick it to to old file folders. I use a glue stick – least messy way. Then I cut out the pattern leaving 1/2″ around all sides. I chop off the long points as you can see by the photo above.


Each one is labeled clearly with the pattern number and fabric color and the notation “cut on the wrong side of the fabric – this side down!” I am easily distracted and have marked and cut too many pieces of my precious fabric the wrong way. AND… I even have fabric placement guide photos – so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel with every unit of every block. See examples below:

Unit A piece #2


Unit A piece #3



Unit A piece #4


Unit A piece #5

Do I have OCD? Ya think? I just don’t do “random” and so many paper piecing instructions say something like: “place a scrap of fabric – in general bigger is better.” I must – CONTROL my scrap sizes – bigger is not better!

See these very good instructions for Foundation Paper Piecing from

Scroll down to the bottom of the second and last page and there on Method #3 is the way I do it!!

Union Jack quilt block #2

Flag block #2

Still paper piecing. Since the strips are an odd size – nothing resembling any of the marks on my rulers – I’d  have to use templates – so I might as well just paper piece. I am getting better at it :-)

Union Jack quilt block #1

Union Jack quilt block

It measures 18″ x 10″. I downloaded a flag and enlarged it in Photoshop and made my own paper piecing pattern for the 4 striped units. I’d forgotten how much I despise paper piecing so I am going to try to do the next one with templates. I’ll let you know how that goes :-)

I plan on three across and five down so I have 14 more to make.  All with red, white and blues – but all of the prints are different. I will use a white background print as sashing.

There are some Union Jack patterns online – but the design of the flag is usually not accurate. It is such an iconic image – it reads “Union Jack” with just some thick and thin Xs – any color and any shape.  My husband is English and it HAD to be accurate.