Handmade Boy Scout Patrol Flag

In the Boy Scouts of America, each patrol needs it’s own name and flag. My current scouts agreed on the name Snow Leopard Patrol and weren’t very interested in designing a flag to suit the name.

Which left all creative power in my hands. . . mwahahaha! (That’s an evil sewing genius laugh, in case you couldn’t tell.)

Let’s start with images and legal basics.

When looking for an image online, you are legally constrained by copyright. Most images are copyrighted and you can’t replicate them, even in another medium, without obtaining permission from the copyright owner. Obtaining permission isn’t always difficult, but there are expenses that individuals and studios need to recoup, so obtaining permission isn’t guaranteed. Free clip art isn’t always copyright-free, so check carefully.

I found this little gem at  which clearly stated, “This nice snow leopard clip art is free to use on your personal or commercial projects. This clip art is perfect for use on your school projects, animal projects, magazines, reference books, websites, etc. This clip art belongs to the public domain so use it freely on any project that you desire without restrictions.” Bingo!0322181648a

How to re-produce an image on fabric:

You can print your public domain image in reverse or tape your printing up to the window backwards, but you want your fusible product to be traced in reverse, or mirror-image.

I used paper-backed fusible web (WonderUnder) to trace the image with pencil. An external window makes a great lightbox for this purpose. I taped the image and my paper-backed fusible paper (paper side up) to the window. Rough cut around your tracings; do not cut them out precisely until they’ve been fused to your fabric.

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Iron the fusible web to the wrong side of your fabric, following manufactures directions for heat and time. Now cut out precisely along your tracing lines and pull paper backing off. Iron the image to the background fabric, right sides of both showing.

For this flag, I layered multiple fabrics to create more depth and texture. I traced the entire back out in one piece, then the cheek and jawline piece. Next came the grey nose and I topped off with near-black pieces. I chose 100% cotton batiks and tone-on-tone fabrics to give a natural appearance to my snow leopard. I skipped a few spots so I could finish before these scouts move onto the next patrol!

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I finished the edges with a zip-zag stitch on my machine with about a .25 left-right allowance and a .1 stitch length. I lengthened these measurements when I finished the rock-like landscape. You can see the difference in the stitch appearance. Always practice on scrap fabric to determine the left-right allowance and stitch lengths you prefer before applying them to your finished product.

I’ll install 3 silver grommets along the left side for hanging. Fabric loops would work as well, but I prefer the clean look of grommets. They’re commonly found at the top of shower curtains and not hard to apply.

I’d love to post pictures of patrol flags you’ve made or seen. Send them my way and they’ll be added to the collection!

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