How Big Should My Flag Silks Be?

| October 6, 2011 | 2 Comments
One question that comes up almost immediately in the flag design process is determining how big the silk should be, and therefore how much fabric you need for each flag.  This is especially a concern for non-traditional sized poles, or if there are very large variances in the size of the members, to the point where you may be using two different sized poles.  If you want it to look proportional, you can’t simply slide a silk made for a six-foot pole onto a five and a half foot pole.  Conversely, if you want to use a giant 10-foot pole, you’re going to want sufficient silk on that pole to grab those visual GE points you’re hoping for.Luckily, there is a general formula that can be used to help determine the size flag you need for any size pole.  Of course, as a designer, you can go bigger or smaller, depending on the effect that you want.  However, the following formula will give you a framework within which to start.Here is the formula (and you thought you’d never use that algebra you learned in the 8th grade):

Length (i.e., down) = .5(length of pole)
Width (i.e., across) = 1.5(Length above)So, for a 6 ft pole… .5(72) = 36″ and 1.5(36) = 54″
so the silk is 36″x54″For a 10 ft pole, .5(120) = 60″ and 1.5(60) = 90″
so the silk is 60″x90″

This formula will work well for any size pole (except swing flags, which you generally want to take up the whole pole except for a few inches for their hands).  Happy flag making!

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Category: "DIY", Design, Equipment, Floors & Props

About the Author (Author Profile)

Chelley Thelen is the guard director at Pansophia Academy in Coldwater, Michigan. She marched for 13 seasons, including the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps from Dubuque, IA and Interplay Winterguard from Grand Rapids, MI. She has taught at all levels (elementary, middle school, high school and college) and all seasons (drum corps, winter guard and marching band), as well as having worked as a clinician and consultant. The upcoming winter 2010 season marks her 15th season as an instructor and designer. In addition to her performance, instruction and choreography experience, Chelley is a skilled seamstress who designs and sews most of the uniforms and silks for the guards she teaches. Besides color guard work, she is self-employed as a freelance writer and graphic designer. Chelley graduated from Grand Valley State University and currently resides in Michigan with her husband, daughters and shih tzu.

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  1. Teaching Younger Guards : colorguardeducator.com | October 15, 2011
  1. alivia says:

    What size silk for a 5 foot pole?

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