Call Me Betsy

Call me Betsy…as in Betsy Ross.  Not really.  I buy flags.  I don’t sew them…I definitely don’t sew them by hand!!  I do repair them though.  I repair them often.

One of mine and Kramer’s biggest pet peeves was when flags got frayed and the owners didn’t replace them.  I get it….flags are expensive.

When we lived at the farm friends gave us a flag pole.  We had wanted one but hadn’t bought one knowing keeping a well maintained flag was an expense.  It was gifted to us so we made a commitment that we’d work hard to always have a well maintained flag.

Shortly after that, my dad passed away.  In his house were several flags.  He would make donations to a charity and they would send him a flag.  Well I immediately offered to take the flags.  I knew I’d use them along the way so why not take them as my “inheritance”.

At the time I also quit doing childcare and started working on my website Making Learning Fun on a full time basis.  Kramer always teased me,  “Saying if we can’t afford a flag you’re going to have to go back to work with a regular paycheck.”    Well I had Dad’s flags and I quickly learned to repair flags to make them last longer.  I didn’t want to “get a regular paycheck job”.

I did end up going back to childcare…not because we couldn’t afford the flags but because I wanted to buy a house.  When we bought the house I needed a regular paycheck.  That hasn’t stopped me from repairing flags.

If you look close you can see our flag was fraying.


Here it is close up.  To most it would look like it’s time for a new flag.  Not me!


For me it’s time to flip over the hem and sew it back down…like this….It is such an easy fix.  The part that takes the longest is changing the thread color!!

I flip it over at the hem making sure all of the frayed edges are hidden in the hem.  Then I sew across the hem about three times.

It’s often not pretty when you look closely at it.  BUT it is very functional and no one sees the new stitching from the road.


I can often do this twice.  It saves a lot of money on flags.  AND it’s MUCH more respectful than a frayed flag.

Here it is…If you rehem the flags more than twice the flag proportions start to get noticed.


On a side note… Don’t you love how my son designed my planters.  I hide toys under them.  That way they can’t be seen from the road.  I love them.  Also it saves money on potting soil.

I hunt the thrift stores for flags….Typically May is a good time when they are starting to put things out for Memorial Day.  One wouldn’t think they are there but they are.  Everytime I see one, I buy it.  It doesn’t matter if I already have two brand new flags at home waiting for the currently hanging one to fray.  I still buy them.

My Dad died in 2007.  I’ve NEVER bought a brand new flag.  I’ve been gifted them but never bought one.  Between my Dad’s flags I inherited, repairing, The 2 gifted flags and getting thrift store flags, I’ve never needed to.  It really helps that one time at the thrift store I found 5 all in one crack.  This one was $5 but typically I can get them for $3.

I’m a true patriot.  I being an American and proudly fly an unfrayed flag…but I still am a thrifty gal.

I’m not as talented as Betsy Ross but I am pretty crafty.

18 thoughts on “Call Me Betsy

  1. Donna Pheneger

    I have to admit – that’s pretty cool – repairing flags. We usually give them to our local Legion when it gets too bad. Good for you for playing “Betsy”. I’ll have to remember that repairing them is a part of flag etiquette.
    http://www.usflag.org/flagetiquette.html

  2. Charlene

    I have found that going over the stitching on a new flag before hanging it out gives it a longer life. You are so right, flags are expensive.

  3. Ruth

    I love the two tiered planter boxes with a hiding place in the back!! That is so useful! Thank you for the ideas on how to hem flags.

  4. Toni Wood

    I have turned over a “new” hem several times on flags. I wonder how it would look to sew a piece of clear plastic around the end of the flag to strength the hem? Maybe 2″ piece folded in half.

  5. MARY DAVIS

    I am also a flag mender. It is so sad to see a tattered flag. You have inspired me to offer to mend flags when I see them.

  6. Stearns Carol

    My husband works at the local funeral home and they have my upholsterer repair their very large flags. It works. Shopped at the Salvation Army yesterday and bought 3 cross stitch kits for $12. I think they raised their prices but hey, these were large kits with lots of thread. They were also selling floss for 50c a skein. I though that was too much but maybe not. And I didn’t really need it.

  7. Jean

    Good going…Betsy!! :) And that’s cool, Mary! That is so spirited! Our flags have never needed mending. They do get faded and need “retired”. We will not buy an American flag made in China; as that is just our little quirk.
    -Jean ❤

  8. Kim LeMere

    I have repaired many flags with such a trick, its a money saver for sure. I have even repaired a few for others. I need to watch my second hand shops for flags, great idea.

  9. Carla

    Your post brought to mind a small flag I bought for my youngest son. It’s a sailing related flag, still red, white, and blue with stripes. Cotton and quite old. I want to frame it. We have another old cotton flag that hangs inside on the weird wall above our stairs. And if course we have our families folded military flags. The same son wants an outdoor flag, but I just know I’m the kind of person who would want to take it up and down and not let it get rained on, and it would have to be American made. So, I told him not right now. I’m patriotic, but I’m also realistic, it would stress me out.

  10. Karen P

    I’ve repaired flags too. My SIL rescued one from where he works and asked me if I could repair it (It was a big one). It took some work, but it passed “muster”. When they get too bad we give them to the American Legion to dispose of properly.

  11. Betty Davis

    Your guidance on flags helps. Thanks. Am wondering if you could tell me the type of printer you ordered after your old one brought you to tears. Mine has just died in front of my eyes and need to find another. Remembered your post and again need your wisdom.

  12. Kay

    Carla, you are correct. Unless it is lit, you must take it down at sunset. Getting wet is not an issue.

  13. Maureen

    My husband just removed our porch railings, so your flower boxes have inspired me.
    I do light my flag at night, but it flies rain or shine. My dad was a WWIi soldier in France and he fought in the rain, so I fly it in his honor. There are numerous places online to purchase USA made flags.

  14. Susie Q

    I am in the process of getting a new flag. Why? because some squirrel spent the winter eating the blue fabric of my old flag. I got a flag with embroidered stars – love it – but it is a 4 by 6 ft flag…. find a pole to fly this flag is turning into a BIG challenge.

  15. Susan the Farm Quilter

    My dad has two flags that we put up – one for my daughter in the Air Force and one for my daughter in the Army. They were getting tattered…the stitching between the red and white stripes came out, so I sewed them and they look as good as new. As a quilter, mending isn’t my favorite thing to do, but it is nice to have the skills to do it when necessary.

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