Flagophiles 1
All,  Life,  Year 1: The Beginning


Go Big Blue!
Happy Valentine's Day!!!

This post doesn’t involve fashion at all.  If you find this deeply disappointing, come back later.  This post does involve fabric (yards and yards of gold lame’, to be precise), and I think it’s worth a show-and-tell. 🙂

Flagophiles 2

I was chatting with my friend Irene, who is a band director for a local high school.  Her color guard team was about to enter a big competition.  For those of you who might not know what a color guard is, look below.

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Irene’s color guard team performs with the marching band, but also just as themselves in the off season.  Their routine was ready.  There was just one big problem.  Flags.  They didn’t have enough flags.  The flags they had weren’t big enough to work for their routine.  Like lots and lots of high schools, they couldn’t afford to buy new flags, which cost about $50 for the size they needed. ($50 x 16 flags = $800).

I was a band geek growing up (Yeah Euphoniums!!!  Can I get a what what?!?!), and we had terrific parent support.  The “band boosters” would help us in our fundraising, bake us stuff, and sew just about all of our color guard flags. They were a crafty and dedicated bunch.

“Why don’t you get your band boosters to make the flags?”  I asked.  Irene explained that a lot of the parents for these kids worked multiple jobs and didn’t have the time.  The other parents didn’t have the inclination.  They had no band boosters.  Irene was planning on having to sew the flags herself by hand.

I was shocked.  Nobody would help these kids get the flags they needed?  After they’ve worked so hard after school, every day, for hours?

Eff that.  Irene and I made a plan to get these flags made.  I’ve never met these kids, but dammit…we band geeks gotta stick together!  Solidarity, and whatnot, you know?

Irene came over, and we got to work.  We had 16 flags to make, and the kids needed them by Friday.  There was no time to waste.

First off, we tackled the flags that would just need a piece added on to make them larger.  I cut a piece of fabric from an old duvet cover, which we would use as the template.

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our template

I allowed an extra ‘1/2 inch all around for the seam allowance.

We cut several of these guys out from our bolt of gold fabric.

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The add-on!

First, I pinned the add ons to the original flags.

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attaching the add-on!

I ran the add-ons through my machine, attaching it to the main flags.  Then, I hemmed all the raw edges, tucking them under.

With the added-on flags done, we still had to make 7 completely new flags.

We traced one of the altered flags to make a template, allowing an extra 1/2 on the edges for the seam allowance, as well as an extra 4″ along the side where the pole would end up going.

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Basement Kitteh tries to help.
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Irene cuts the flags!
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I can haz opposable thumbs????

With Irene pinning, and me sewing, we managed to knock the 16 flags out after two long nights.  🙂  She was a huuuuge help, and a really good sport about Basement Kitteh constantly attacking her and getting in the way.  🙂  I’m so impressed and inspired by her dedication to her students and her school!  It’s great that awesome teachers like Irene are out there, really trying to help their kids.

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Finishing up those flags!

So…how did the flags turn out?  See for yourself!

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I re-carpeted my kitchen!

This isn’t even all of them…just what could fit in my kitchen! 🙂

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Hearting some flags!

So…what’s the point of this post?  The point is, help.  If you’re able to do something that not everyone can do (which is everyone), do that thing to help people.  It doesn’t matter if you even know who they are.  Don’t assume that someone else is going to step in (like I did at first).  Even if you’re busy, you can make time to do something pretty nifty…like make a bunch ‘o flags!



  • Jane

    A former boss of mine had a rule that the phase “Somebody should….” actually meant “I volunteer.” As in, if you see a mess and say “Somebody should clean that up,” you were in fact volunteering to take on the assignment. That has stuck with me for many years, so every time I think “Somebody should fix that…” Dang, I guess it means me. I should fix that.

    Good on you Refashionista.

  • Rosella Crawford

    Euphoniums!!!!!! WHAT WHAT! I was a total band geek and I plalyed the euphonium as well! Our band also had a gaggle of band moms available around the clock to sew and fix uniform parts and all manner of things!!! I remember one time we had a competition where the field was solid mud and our uniforms were white! They took them from us and cleaned (somehow magically) all the mud out! It was awesome! Glad you were able to help!

  • Kymberley

    THANK YOU for doing this project! As a former colorguard member, whose flags were all made by the band moms, I cannot tell you how happy this post makes me! Band Geeks, unite!

  • Susan Hucker

    Recently found your blog and am reading back to front. Love it! Thank goodness for band boosters! At our high school the band uniforms were damaged by water and mice during the 2008 flood that took out the drycleaner (and a good part of the city) that stored the uniforms over summer. Money was raised and new uniforms purchased. This school year, a band mom refashioned an old uniform into a tote bag. Voila! Fundraiser that uses up what remains of the old uniforms. Attention to detail is incredible. Each bag is lined using the trousers and so have a back pocket as the interior pocket for the tote. The front of the bag features the front of the uniform coat working in the epaulets and school initials. The back of the uses the center back of the coat with the contrasting piping emphasizing the tailoring. Awesome Band Mommies and Daddies and Generous Friends!! (wish I could paste photos into the comments…)

  • Madison

    I was in the colorgaurd at my elementary school, and still depating if I am going to be in the colorgaurd when I get to highschool or actually play an instrument (claranet) for the champion (I am NOT making this up) Homestad high school band.

  • Karen

    I teach colorguard for several local band programs and have made their flags as well so I’m very acquainted with the refashioning of flags at the last minute for no money. GREAT JOB!!!

  • Martina

    Hi! I just started looking at your blog a week ago and I made it all the way back to year one! YAY! But, um, this is the first post I’ve ever commented on and I just wanted to say thank you. I participate in my schools band program, and the band parents are super helpful to us and I just couldn’t imagine not having the support. So thank you for supporting a band program! I think I speak for all band kids when I say every little bit helps, and your support is widely appreciated in a time where music programs are being threatened. But anyway, you do a great job on all your refashions and I can’t even believe what skills you have! IT’S SO GOOD! 😀

    -Your fellow band kid.

  • FlagGirl

    o.o That’s my colorguard. It was the year before I joined. (Not the one you made the flags for, but the one labeled “Flagophiles.”

  • mathgeek00

    I’ve just found your blog today… and I love everything you make. But this post I really have to comment on 🙂 I am not only a former colorguard member (3 years in high school, 3 years in college), but also a former colorguard instructor (5+ years) and had to make my own flags enough to know what an amazing thing this is that you did for your friend. You are a great person!

    Thanks for doing that… from someone who could have used someone like you back then 😉

  • Ms. Attitude

    Yay for flags! I was a band geek a (and flagophile) as well. We had awesome support from our band boosters, but we even got custom made flags too. I love that you did this to help out.

  • TishSch

    I just recently found your blog from the Refashion Co-op site, and I have to tell you that I’m so impressed by your action to help your friend and to help the marching band. My son was in marching band in his high school, too (he just graduated last year, so it’s all still a recent loving memory for me) and there were very few of us involved parents as boosters. It was frustrating to try and get enough people to help. Marching band kids are the best…they work so hard, practice long hours, and always always give it their all. I’ve always felt like they deserved as much of our help as we could give them, but not all parents felt that way, unfortunately. 🙁 But, extra kudos to you for helping them, kids you’ve never even met. I’m standing and applauding you now!

    Oh, and I love your refashions too! 🙂

  • toojilly

    Thanks for all the really nice, incredibly sweet comments! 🙂 I was happy to do it. Sometimes “helping” seems like an easier idea to grasp than “volunteering”. It’s amazing what wonderful things can happen when we just pitch in every now and again! 🙂

  • Herbie

    What! What! for the baritone horn (that’s what my band called it). And way what what for helping these young people. Great show, lass, great show.

  • Terri Komer

    I can’t explain why I feel so proud of you, I don’t know you or raise you but still. I’m so very proud of you. You did a great job! You must feel a sense of accomplishment and happiness. Yeah Jilly!

  • Wendy in Portland

    You are the best!! It is so great that you reached out to help the band. Activities like this are very important to the development of today’s kids, and it is very frustrating to see the struggles that are present in all schools to find money to support them. Hurray for you and Irene!

  • Jeramy

    Jillian…I must say how much I love you for doing this. As a guard instructor myself I know first hand what your friend faced. You are so wonderful for doing this for those kids. Thank you from the community of guard instructors for being a friend to the art and helping out so much!

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