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I want to sew together a flag and I was wondering what type of fabric would be best to use. I'm looking for something opaque, thin, non-stretchy, and available in various colors. I initially thought cotton or fleece would be good, but cotton is too stretchy and fleece is too thick.

  • Do you intend to keep this outside? What design are you considering? That might influence your answers. – Matt Jul 6 '16 at 3:04
  • @Matt The flag will just be indoors. The design is similar to Thailand's flag. – Ryan Jul 6 '16 at 3:08
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    Also, how big - something you might hang next to a door, color guard style, something else? The appropriate fabric weight to be "thin" might depend on that. – user812786 Aug 2 '16 at 17:07
  • @whrrgarbl the size should be about 3'x5' – Ryan Aug 6 '16 at 15:26
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Most commercial flags are made out of nylon. It's lightweight, durable, and dyes well. Specifically, the flags on many sites are made from DuPont SolarMax™, which is supposed to be nicely color safe in the sun. For inside use, you should probably be fine with a ripstop style nylon.

This heavyweight DuPont SolarMax™ nylon is the most popular and versatile flag fabric available. Nylon's combination of strength and brilliant display, along with its quick drying ability, make it suitable for a wide range of applications. Great in rainy areas, its light weight and close weave enable it to fly in the slightest of breeze, giving the fullest visual effect. Nearly every flag we sell is available in nylon material.

Other options include various types of polyester, which is unlikely to stretch the way the cotton you've been using has,rayon (which is a cellulosic fiber like cotton, but does not have the strength of cotton), and the right type of cotton, which is apparently a "2x2-ply mercerized cotton", which is specially prepared in such a way that it absorbs more dyes, is more lustrous, and stronger, so it is less likely to stretch or deform.

  • Don't forget silk. For use in flags, it has many of the properties of nylon. – Martha Jul 6 '16 at 15:18
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    Silk is also much more expensive and significantly more difficult to buy. The average craft/fabric store will stock nylon, polyester and cotton. Most do not stock silk. – Catija Jul 6 '16 at 16:34
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    If they do stock silk, it's often in a more limited range of colors. – Erica Jul 7 '16 at 10:04
  • @Martha Silk is very sensitive to sunlight and can degrade easily and quickly. I suggest using polyester or nylon thread for items exposed to the sun and weather. Silk is a natural protein fiber (as is wool) with properties very different from synthetics like polyester and nylon. Some polyesters and nylons are manufacturered to look like silk, but they do not have the same properties. Even silk used on curtains and upholstery inside, if exposed to sunlight, will degrade. – user1798 Mar 20 '17 at 17:16
  • @abbie Are you responding to Martha? I don't have anything about silk in my answer. – Catija Mar 21 '17 at 22:22
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I suggest looking at the lining fabrics in a fabric store. These fabrics are usually in a section all together, and grouped by color. They are most often 100% polyester which is very strong, and for this purpose, light-weight (lining fabrics are an extra layer of fabric inside a clothing item, like a dress or a suit, to add strength or protect from stretching or to prevent see-through). Lining fabrics come in a broad range of colors from pastels to vivid brights. They are woven fabrics (vs. knits) so they don't stretch. They are usually very colorfast, and dry quickly if they get wet. They may be thinner than what you are looking for, but they will flap nicely in a breeze.

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