Union Jack Block tutorial

At the start of June 2012, the Queen celebrates her Diamond Jubilee.  Coupled with the fact that we are also hosting the Olympics this year, Twenty Twelve is set to put Great Britain on the map!  We certainly all fell in love with the Royal Wedding last year.  The pageantry and pomp and circumstance was such a wonderful spectacle.  And, quite frankly, any occasion that enables me to hang out the bunting, eat Victoria Sponge, drink Pimms and enjoy afternoon tea, is one that I intend to fully embrace.

I am more of a visual learner and love all the wonderful free tutorials online.  I have learnt nearly everything about sewing from an online tutorial somehow or another.  So this is my chance to give something back to the wonderful sewing community in blogger blogland.

I couldn't find a free online block, so this is how I made my Union Jack block (without paper piecing)  in mostly pictures and a few words.

Materials Needed:-
  • 1x rectangle of fabric 10"x14" mine is Green with Blue spots;
  • 2x WOF (Width of Fabric) 42"x2" in different colours mine are 1x Pink and 1x Blue;
  • 1x WOF 42"x0.75" of plain White;
  • 1x WOF 42"x 1and5/8" of plain White;
  • 2x WOF 42"x1" of plain White; 
Use a 1/4 inch seam allowance throughout.

1. Sew the two unequal White strips, to the long side of whichever colour strip you want to use as your diagonal crosses.

 2. It will look like this once sewn and pressed open:-
 3.  Now cut that strip into quarters.
4.  Now sew two of the quarters back together along their short side but make sure that you have flipped one around.  Its important that you sew this strip together so that it ends up looking like the picture below.

***I had to unpick my flag on the first go because my thick strips ended up on the wrong sides, so beware!***

5.  Now take your piece of rectangular fabric and cut in in half on the diagonal.

6.  Now sew your strip into it with a 1/4" seam allowance, ensuring that the join in the strip ends up in the middle of the block.   ***Again make sure that your thick and thin white stripes are in the right places as its so easy to mix them up and then your flag will be wrong***

7.  Now measure this strip.  We will be trimming half of this measurement off of each piece after the next diagonal cut.

8.  Now cut the block in half on the other diagonal and trim 1and (just over)3/8" inch off of each side along the diagonal.
 9.  Sew the other strip into the middle.  ***Double check again that yours looks like the picture below with the thick and thin white stripes***

10.  Next cut the main block in half along the short side of the rectangle and this time trim either side of the cut by 1and1/8" (one and one eigth of an inch).

11. Then cut each part in half again this time along the long side and trim the middle of each side by 1and1/8" again.

You should end up with four rectangles that measure approximately 6 1/4" x 4 3/4" (Six and a quarter inches by Four and three quarter inches).  Each one as below.

12. Now take a 1" strip of White and sew it along the bottom of the top two rectangles and along the top of each of the bottom rectangles.  Trim the white strip to size as you go.

13. Then sew a 1" strip of White along the inside edge of each of the rectangles. Trim the white strip to size as you go.

14.  Now take the 2" coloured strip (mine is blue) and sew it to one inside rectangle side.  Cut it down to size.  Then join it to the other half.

15.  Repeat for the top.

16.  Nearly there!
Now sew one long strip of the 2" fabric across the whole length of the inside, first to the bottom and then to the top half.

17. You are finished!!!!!!!!!!
Hip hip hooray!

I hope you will enjoy this tutorial and make your very own Jubilee Union Jack block.  Please let me know if you do and maybe share a pick in my Flikr group too.  I would love to see how your's turns out.

Here's what my block turned into:-

Any questions or comments are welcomed.

Kind regards


  1. This is so clever of you! I've seen the Union Jack done so many different ways, and I LOVE yours! And I love your final result too. Genius! I'm obsessed with all things London, QE's diamond jubi', the Olympics… I could go on and on!

    Found you because we're next door neighbors on the Sew,Mama,Sew! giveaway page! Hi Neighbor!

  2. Fabulous Union Jack! I am definitely bookmarking your tutorial for future use!

  3. I want to make such a pillow for a long time. Your method is great and I can't wait to try it...Just have to choose fabric (the hardest isn't it ?). Thank you for this tutorial.

  4. Well done! I made a union jack last week and I wish I had found your tutorial. Mine turned out fine, but I like your process : )

  5. Hi. Just a quick question - do you include the 1/4 inch seam allowance in the dimensions you have given for the pieces of fabric, or do I need to add 1/4 inch to the dimensions you give when I am cutting out?


    1. Hello there - seam allowances are included.
      Hoping that this reply reaches you in time.
      Let me know how you get on.
      Kind regards

  6. PS sorry to be 'anonymous', I couldn't get my iPad to accept my details!

  7. Thanks ever so much. I'm just about to make my first cut, pink, green and blue floral union jack here we come!

  8. Thank you so much for the tutorial. I just finished 2 Union Jack blocks. Now I am on to make 2 American flags, then put them together for a wall hanging to give to a visiting Great British guardsman. Received your site from Quilters Board.

  9. Thanks for your easy peasy tutorial. I used to think that Union Flag accessories were a bit naff but this year of wonderful celebrations has changed my mind - suddenly it's great to be British (and this will look great on my red sofa)!
    I've bookmarked your page and look forward to coming back for more lovely ideas.
    Thanks for sharing. You're very generous. Kind regards.

    1. I am so happy to read your comment Flo.
      I totally agree. I think I was turned off of Union Jack's around the time of Geri Halliwell's Spice Girl dress in the 90s, but this year I have fallen in love with it.
      I would love to see yours - please add a photo to the Flikr group if you can.
      Thanks v much

  10. So after visting Randi's blog I noticed your comment and I came for a visit. Nice tutorial, I am a bit of a history nut and after reading your blog with the Queens Jubilee and your tutorial of the Union Jack I was wondering about the cause of the thick and thin strips and why they are placed the way that they are? Thank you.

    1. Hello Tina
      Thank you so much for your reply.

      This is the best explanation I have found for the reason :-

      The UK flag consists of three elements: the cross of St. George (red on white) for England, the cross of St. Andrew (white diagonal on blue) for Scotland, and the so-called cross of St. Patrick (red diagonal on white) for Ireland. The original Union Jack/Union Flag adopted in 1606 was symmetrical: the red cross of St. George outlined in white overlaid on top of a St. Andrew's flag, which was blue with a white X.

      In 1801, an Act of Union which made Ireland a co-equal member of the United Kingdom made it necessary to add a symbol for Ireland to the flag, but without obliterating any of the existing symbols. If the St. Patrick's cross had been centered on the diagonal stripes, then St. Andrew's cross would have been relegated to an inferior position, basically serving only as a border for St. Patrick's. But Scotland was the senior of the two kingdoms, so this was unsatisfactory. The solution was to divide the diagonal stripes diagonally, so that the red St. Patrick's cross would take up only half of each stripe, and so that half devoted to St. Andrew would take the place of honor. Thus, in the two hoist quarters, the white St. Andrew's cross occupies the upper position, and in the two fly quarters, the red St. Patrick's cross occupies the upper position.

      There is a right way up for the Union Jack, but it is not flown upside down as a signal of a ship in distress. That is only done with ensigns, in which the Union emblem occupies only the upper hoist quarter of the flag. When a British (or American) ensign is flown "union down," it is obviously distinguishable from one flown in the normal fashion. An upside-down Union Jack is not sufficiently different from a right side-up Union Jack to be useful as a signal of anything except that the person hoisting it wasn't paying attention.

      taken from http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/gb.html

      Kind regards

  11. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading your whole post! I came to you in search of a pieced Union Jack quilt pattern for some dear English friends..but feel as though I have made a new friend! Thank you so much Liz!

  12. Thanks so much for your tutorial. I really like your method, and appreciate that it's "right".

  13. Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial. I have been paper piecing Union Jacks and not happy with the process - so glad I came across your method. Going to try it today. I'm English, living in the US and it makes me happy to see the interest in our flag and that you took the time to post the reason for the thick and thin white stripes!

  14. Love that you did a pieced flag. Thanks for the step by step pictures... What size is it. I'm looking for a Union Jack that is 12 x 14". See it has to fit in a quilt that I'm making for a friend who is British.

  15. I've been looking everywhere for a pattern I could use to make a twin size quilt. Could this be used to do that?


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