This patch isn’t new: folks who have read my second tutorial post may remember my using a patch with this design to demonstrate sewing a patch onto a bag. A year has passed since … one in which I kept forgetting to make a pattern.
I shouldn’t have, for this design does something new: combining two pride flags in one patch. As long as both flags have five horizontal stripes and share a same-coloured third/centre stripe, you can set a rhombus in the stripes of one flag against a background in the stripes of another. This small pattern is also easy to stitch up: no quarter stitches, lettering or zigzagging!
You’ll need familiarity with cross stitch (full crosses) to make raw-edged patches, along with a buttonhole/closed blanket stitch (or a neat over stitch) to make the closed-edged patch above. The first instalment of my patch tutorial series demonstrates cross and blanket/buttonhole stitch; it should be read by beginners as an introduction to materials and processes.
Notes on Pattern Structure
Full coloured blocks indicate a full cross stitch.
Solid outlines indicate backstitch along the edge joining cross stitch to buttonhole edge (entirely optional, not shown in photographs).
Space allowed for edging your patch is not provided in the pattern below. You’ll need to allow additional blocks for this when cutting your swatch, depending on how narrow or wide you like your edging.
My buttonhole-stitch borders are roughly 3 blocks wider than the section of cross stitch, so I cut my fabric into squares approximately 4-5 blocks wider and taller than required for safety.
This pattern fits a square 15 stitches wide and 15 stitches high. Assuming a three stitch/block border, as demonstrated in my photographed patches, you’ll want at least a 18 x 18 block swatch plus any excess.
Flag Choices and Considerations
While many five-stripe pride flags share a centre-stripe colour, this isn’t the only consideration needed when choosing your flags. For the rhombus to be readable as a rhombus or spinning-top shape, the first, second, fourth and fifth stripes of the background flag must contrast with (not be the same colour as) the equivalent stripes of the rhombus flag.
When sewing my aromantic and greysexual patch, I lightened the greysexual flag’s grey stripes so they’d stand out against the aromantic grey. (I should also have darkened the aromantic flag’s grey stripe.) This does help, but I still haven’t created enough contrast for the patch to be readable (especially from a distance/in poor lighting/by people unfamiliar with both flags).
My allo-aro and trans patch displays a trans-flag rhombus more readily differentiated from the allo-aro background:
Several common flags don’t play well together without modification:
The green first stripe on the greyromantic flag is almost identical to that of the aromantic and allo-aro flags, while the black last stripe of the aro flag is only slightly darker than that of the queerplatonic flag. The second pink stripes of the trans and nebularomantic flags are more dissimilar in tone but still blend together (especially from a distance).
If you must sew the aromantic and queerplatonic flags together, consider darkening or lightening at least one stripe. (Or both: darkening one, lightening the other.) You may also provide contrast via your floss with the background stripe sewn in stranded cotton and the rhombus stripe sewn in metallic polyester (like DMC’s Light Effects range). It will take some experimenting to find floss that evokes both flags while offering contrast enough for the first, second, fourth and fifth stripes of the rhombus to stand out from those of the background flag–and your patch still may not be comprehendible to all viewers.
The easiest option is to choose flags possessing natural contrast! The aromantic flag pairs well with some gay and lesbian flags, the trixensexual flag, the trans flag and a few alternate flags for aceflux, cupio, greyromantic, greysexual, lith/akoi, nebulasexual and oriented allo-aro folks.
Counting the Stripes
This patch is easier to sew if you understand the background flag as existing in two vertical halves divided by a centre rhombus.
I start with the background flag colours, sewing from the top left-hand corner and working left-to right, top-to-bottom. Sew your first line in your first stripe colour as outlined in tutorial one, counting seven half-stitches. Skip the eighth block and count out another seven half-stitches before returning back along the line to complete your stitches – seven on the right, a skipped eighth block, seven on the left.
You should have two horizontal lines of seven stitches with a blank block (space for one stitch) left between. On your second line, begin with six half-stitches, skip three blocks and count out another six half stitches before returning down the line – six stitches on the right, three skipped blocks, six stitches on the left.
Every time you go down a row in sewing the first and second stripes, you shorten each half of the row by a block on either side. You should end up with an upwards-pointing triangle with a peak one block wide and a base eleven blocks wide.
The third stripe comprises three unbroken rows of fifteen stitches each.
The fourth and fifth stripes follow the same pattern as the first and second save in reverse: you lengthen each half of the row by a block on either side. You should end up with a downwards-pointing triangle mirroring the first: two empty triangles divided by an unbroken centre stripe.
I write out my stitch count as follows, with “B” meaning “background”, “R” meaning “rhombus” and “C” meaning “centre”:
- Stripe One, Line One: 7B – 1R – 7B
- Stripe One, Line Two: 6B – 3R – 6B
- Stripe One, Line Three: 5B – 5R – 5B
- Stripe Two, Line Four: 4B – 7R – 4B
- Stripe Two, Line Five: 3B – 9R – 3B
- Stripe Two, Line Six: 2B – 11R – 2B
- Stripe Three, Line Seven: 15C
- Stripe Three, Line Eight: 15C
- Stripe Three, Line Nine: 15C
- Stripe Four, Line Ten: 2B – 11R – 2B
- Stripe Four, Line Eleven: 3B – 9R – 3B
- Stripe Four, Line Twelve: 4B – 7R – 4B
- Stripe Five, Line Thirteen: 5B – 5R – 5B
- Stripe Five, Line Fourteen: 6B – 3R – 6B
- Stripe Five, Line Fifteen: 7B – 1R – 7B
To complete, fill in the blank triangles with the first, second, fourth and fifth stripe colours from your rhombus flag!
(While the first stripe of the aromantic and abro flags are not identical, the greens are similar enough that this example also lacks contrast.)
Once sewn, finish the patch however you choose. I like a buttonhole edge, but you can use an over stitch, decorative blanket stitching or even leave it raw if you treat the aida (or sew on a non-unravelling medium like vinyl aida). See this post for more finishing suggestions!
The stitch count above looks daunting, but there isn’t much counting after you’ve sewn the first line: everything after is just a matter of widening or narrowing the blank space between the left and right sides of the background flag. If you’ve sewn a couple of the basic stripe patches, this pattern is a great next step.
I think I’ve now posted all my forgotten patterns … which means I can start on my ideas for new ones!