· r e j i q u a r · w o r k s ·
the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn
Stars and Stripes
A patriotic twist

Though the Union Jack is perhaps my favorite flag evah,[1] the USA flag isn't too bad; unfortunately, the vomiting of flags, weeping eagles, etc after 9/11 pretty much totally soured an already uncomfortable relationship not helped by pledges of allegiance and screeching about flag disrespect, etc.

But then I started sending offspring off to Japan, which, perforce, meant I had to send omiyage—little hostess gifts, as it were—off to Japan. Since we'd already been on the receiving end of this exchange some 4x, I knew they'd want “American” just as we wanted “Japanese”. So, hurrah, I could do the red-white-and-blue thingie again. First time around, we just wrapped the beads in tulle with ribbon, with one or two fancier things wrapped in printed fabric. (Otoh, we made a cool handmade photograph album bound in maps of the city where the wizard, the child in question, and I were born; where we'd lived, etc. —This kid is more sewing than photographically/book oriented, which was reflected in the emphasis.)

Bottom side of ‘candy twist’ pattern, showing handmade button. cotton fabric, red cotton crochet cord, tassels from assorted old threads, glass button and bead made by the artist using frits and powders.[2]

I've made this pattern once before—about 5–6 years ago—but hoped, this time, to follow it a little more carefully. I was hugely helped in this endeavor by f2tY, who evidently “likes” ironing, or at least, doesn't find it nearly as tedious as I thought I would[3] Ze also carefully and accurately cut out the strips. Granted, having a full size ironing board and large table to work on didn't hurt, but there's no question the attention and care on zir side set the tone for what would be a far more successful interpretation of these patterns.

Bag closed. Because the cotton I use is stiffer than the silks preferred by the original designer (Kumiko Sudo) the opening doesn't completely close. Note that I had the red and white striped fabric—a ‘loan’ to this project from a friend who implied she'd like never to see it again, and which is perfect given the iconography—cut on the bias, which I think gives a little extra zip to the design.

It seems I often work this way: try something two–three times before "getting it"—the french beaded flowers, for example, took at least three tries, spaced by years, before I really got it. Restlessness (what the kids these days call, ‘Ooooh, shiny!’), switching media to help my health combined with frustration because I've gotten the easy 80% means I'm perpetually swapping out crafts.

Bag open, showing liberty lining. I used a mirror to bounce some light in there, but obviously, not enough.

I made this bag first, because I'd done it once before, and I figured it'd be no worse than the last time. But actually, I think it came out a little better (again, mostly because f2tY ironed and cut for me.) —Eventually, even I would figure out how to cut strips of fabric without the rotary cutter going all over the place, instead of along the ruler.

[1]And why is it such heinous orgs like Nazi Germany and 1950s racist south—who were the ones that actually adopted the admittedly cool looking ‘stars and bars’ flag as symbol of the Confederacy—get the good graphic design? It's not fair!

[2]Yes, there is a crack in the button, which I duly healed up, but evidence of its history still shows in the white flower petal. C'est la vie, it's handmade after all.

[3]Ironing can actually be soothing, if you're in the right frame of mind. But it's also the iconographic symbol of womanly oppression, not to mention the association with housemaids getting mangled—literally, the word comes the machine—back in the day.