All-American Decorating Ideas

Wave the flag to get some fresh air blowing through your decorating schemes. These seasonal ideas will make a big bang, with a small amount of effort.


+ enlarge image Give your sofa a seasonal lift.

Patriotic pillows march along a sofa slipcovered in flexible, durable white cotton canvas. The pillows are sewn from vintage mattress ticking fabric (any simple blue-and-white stripe fabric will do). They're trimmed in fun fringe and emblazoned with hand-tacked flags. You can use inexpensive store-bought flags from the hardware or grocery store for the project. If you're considering slipcovers, make sure the fabric is upholstery weight for sturdiness, and washable for low-maintenance. This white cotton duck fabric offers those traits, plus it provides a clean canvas for changing pillows with the season. For a final spirited touch, tuck a few flags into a casual bouquet of fresh flowers.

+ enlarge image More pillow ideas.

Trapunto is the sewing method used to create a raised, or quilted, design. Stitch a cutout onto a pillow cover, then insert tufts of stuffing to raise the image.

+ enlarge image Quilts can serve as decor when wall-mounted.

A few good accessories are all that's needed to get a room in a seasonal mood. For high impact wall art, consider hanging a new or vintage quilt by hook-and-loop fastening tape. Roll out a decorative area rug to play up your theme. Lampshades, folk art, and toss pillows can all get in the act if the colors blend. Be sure to layer textiles using pillows, rugs, and throws. Here, a wooden Uncle Sam stands against a World War II-era star quilt, which has names sewn onto the stars. Rotating old quilts seasonally has the added benefit of extending their wear. Layers of red-white-and-blue textiles build up to a star-spangled bedroom that offers fresh spirit even after the smoke of fireworks clears.

Project: Star Rug

Materials

+ enlarge image Cut wool strips into 2-inch squares, fold them and stitch onto pillow ticking to create this easy-care rug.
  • Erasable fabric marker
  • 1-1/4 yards of 45-inch-wide striped pillow-ticking fabric
  • 1 yard of fusible polyester fleece
  • 1-1/2 yards of 56-inch-wide white wool fabric or equivalent in scraps
  • 1-1/4 yards of 56-inch-wide red wool fabric or equivalent in scraps
  • Rotary cutter; cutting mat
  • White sewing thread
  • Liquid latex rug backing

Instructions:

+ enlarge image

1. Make the base. From ticking and fleece, cut 32-1/2 x 43-inch rectangles. Fuse fleece to wrong side of ticking. Clean-finish edges. Print star pattern and enlarge; cut out. With erasable fabric marker, draw pattern on ticking. Draw lines from star points to indicate blue/red color change.

2. Cut wool. Using rotary cutter, cut wool fabrics into 2-inch squares. Cut 752 white squares, 588 red squares, and 504 blue squares.

3. Attach wool to base. For first row, fold two opposite edges of each of about 40 blue squares to center and finger-press. Pin folded squares side by side with one short edge aligned to a ticking stripe 2-1/2 inches from edge; leave 1-1/2 inches on each end empty. Machine-stitch squares to ticking, sewing across center of each folded square. Finger-press stitched squares toward outside of rug. Fold a second row of blue squares and align with next ticking strip; stitch.

4. Continue adding rows, changing colors as indicated by star outline. Last row of stitching should be 1-1/2 inches from edge.

5. Finish. Turn seam allowance to wrong side, miter corners, and whipstitch in place. Paint back of rug with liquid latex rug backing.

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When families reunite to create memories for their children and grandchildren, a red, white, and blue flourish can add to the fun. Festively embellished with flags and firecrackers, this easy centerpiece is decked out with big, bold, red flowers plus a hint of blue and white.

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A combination of printed cotton fabrics and pillow ticking creates a flag-inspired table cover. Finish with easy iron-on stars.

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