Color guard volunteers give hundreds of hours to sew flags
BY KIM ARCHER World Staff Writer
Saturday, September 22, 2012
9/22/12 at 7:48 AM
JENKS - They may not be as legendary as Betsy Ross, but scores of women across the area are busy sewing flags for their daughters who dance and twirl flags for their high school color guard units.
"You don't think of what goes on behind the scenes to put together a show," said Robyn Brown, whose daughters, Kelly, a senior, and Becky, a sophomore, are members of the Jenks color guard.
With 25 guard members who each need three flags every season, it's fair to say the seamstresses are a bit busy.
"We spend hours and hours and hours on end sewing," Brown said.
It takes six hours to make just one 56-by-48-inch silk flag. To make the process more efficient, Brown said, the flag crew has set up an assembly line where they sew one piece to another piece, then do the same for the next flag and the next.
"It's a real complete process," she said.
Sewing is set up six days a week, three hours at a time. But not all 10 to 12 parents are there every night, Brown said.
"The girls love it," she said. "This is going on all around the area. I know Union makes their flags and (also) Owasso, Sapulpa and Berryhill."
It isn't always just the mothers who help, either. Some of the fathers have helped in the past, Brown said.
There are two color guard seasons each school year - the fall color guard that performs at football games and marches with the band, and the winter guard that enters competitions from January to March. Each season calls for fresh flags to go with new visual performances.
Add it up, and the flag makers sew about 150 flags every school year, including two 6 1/2-by-4 1/2-foot special ones, Brown said.
Their efforts pay off in the form of savings.
An average custom-made flag can cost $60 to $100 - which adds up to $4,500 to $7,500 per season - compared with the $800 worth of silk the flag crews buy to make the flags themselves, Brown said.
Their labor is a gift.
"We all like to sew," she said. "And we all like doing things for our kids. That's why we do it. It's all for the kids."
Original Print Headline: They're sew dedicated
Kim Archer 918-581-8315
Robyn Brown (center) and Ann Wayland (right) cut material around patterns as they sew flags for the Jenks High School marching band's color guard unit at the Robert L. Sharp Health & Fitness Center at Jenks High School. A group of parents meets on weeknights to sew 75 custom flags that will be used in fall marching band performances by members of the color guard. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World
Becky Brown (center), a sophomore at Jenks High School, and her older sister Kelly Brown (right), a senior, practice with other members of the color guard in a gym at Jenks High School. Each custom-made silk flag used by the 25 members of the color guard can take six hours to make, and members use three different flags each season. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World
Ann Wayland works on a flag for the Jenks High School marching band's color guard at Jenks High School. With the labor donated by parents, flag crews save from $3,700 to $6,700 per season by not having to buy custom-made flags. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World