Sidmouth Festival of Flags

The Sidmouth Festival of Flags will collectively tell a story about our place.  

Community groups and schools in Sidmouth are taking part in this public art project. Through creating and displaying newly designed banners, we are collaboratively making Sidmouth the artwork and inspiring the community to get creative.

Over 40 local groups have signed up, designs are in, fabric is being measured, cut and distributed - the making has started.  Don't forget you can drop in to our make workshops at Sidmouth Craft Hub and use the sewing machines, with sewers on hand to support...

Tuesday 18th June @ Sidmouth Craft Hub – 11am to 1pm

Tuesday 18th June @ Sidmouth Craft Hub – 3.30pm to 5.30pm

Saturday 22nd June @ Sidmouth Craft Hub – 10am to 12pm

Wednesday 3rd July @ Sidmouth Craft Hub – 11am to 1pm

Friday 5th July @ Sidmouth Craft Hub – 2pm to 4pm

A Celebration of the Community of Sidmouth

There are many examples of flag festival projects in different towns and cities, each with its own identity to create a sense of belonging to something joyful, celebratory and creative for shared benefits.


We are aiming to make 40-50 flags for display, to be displayed annually with new flags added each year. There is a design brief and a supported process to make sure together we create a wonderful community exhibition that can be re-used for future years.


A community public art exhibition with a shared aim to connect and show the array of groups in Sidmouth, to generate civic pride and belonging and to make the town even more attractive for those who live and visit.


The project is led by Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub and Sidmouth School of Art – on hand to make the process straightforward and easy to access to enable everyone to get involved.

A team of textiles artists, designers and sewers are on hand to support your group to create a design that is a positive representation and to support the making process.


The flags or community banners will be displayed through the town through the summer season – July 15th to first week of September 2024.


Sidmouth Town Centre – flags or community banners will be hung on the catenary wires overhead as the Christmas lights are, we are grateful to Sidmouth Town Council for their support and permission for this to happen.

All Sidmouth community groups, clubs, festivals and events are invited to take part.

Meet the lead artist...

Sheena Heueston

Textile Artist

Sheena has a degree in Textiles and worked as a Costume, Designer and Wardrobe mistress for over 30 years, at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.  Sheena, who moved to Sidmouth in March 24 to live with her sister, was also an educational guide for the National Trust and brings her charm and experience as a people person with both management and retail expertise.

Design Brief Criteria:

  • Designs highlight what your group/organisation does (identity and belonging)
  • Designs are unique and new (i.e. not existing flag designs or logos)
  • Designs are positive and celebratory (civic pride and sense of place)

Hints and Tips

  • Simple designs work best and will have the most impact and will be easy to view
  • Use images, shapes, colours and symbols rather than text
  • Consider the colours in your design that communicate what your group represents
  • Choose a simple colour palette – 2, 3 or 4 colours that work well together
  • Use light and dark colours to create contrast against each other


  • Rip stop nylon is the weather resistant material we will provide in a variety of colours
  • Your flag can be one colour with design shapes/symbols cut out, pinned and machine or hand stitched on (applique) or created from a variety of colours stitched together
  • Each flag will be 800mm wide x 1200mm long (portrait rectangles)
  • Each flag will need a double stitched border - this will provide strength and a place for the eyelets to be attached by the project team
  • The project team will add fixings to your flag for consistency and to hang well


  • Designs which are offensive or political will not be acceptable as would not be in line with the project aims or design brief
  • The curation and placement of the banners when exhibited will be the role of the project lead to optimise colour balance and range of designs

Below is an all you need to know step by step process 


Step 1 Confirm your participation, providing the name of your group and a named key contact, phone number and email address. 

Step 2 Discuss design ideas with your group, start sketching your design, choose a colour palette, try to include as many views as possible and then trust the process to a small group.

Step 3 Attend one of our 6 free design support workshops – the first will be at Sea Fest and thereafter at Sidmouth Craft Hub at 38 Mill Street, Sidmouth, EX10 8DF - see below for dates and times

Step 4 Submit your design no later than 14th June via email.

Step 5 Make and Create your flag

We will liaise by email to deliver your fabric to you

  • Start making your flag if you are happy to realise your design and have access to your own sewing machine
  • Or attend one of our 6 free Make Workshops - see below for times and dates
  • Or ask us to realise your design for your group

Step 6 Flags need to be finished and given to the project lead by Friday 5th July

Step 7 Project lead and team will attach fixings to all flags and curate the order to maximise the collection of flags.

Step 8 All flags will be photographed for a digital exhibition on the Sidmouth School of Art website

Step 9 Flags will be hung with the aid of a cherry picker and 11th and 12th July

Step 10 Sidmouth Festival of Flags launches Monday 15th July supported by a digital campaign to promote the event.

Free Flag Design Drop-in Workshops
Saturday 18th May @ The Ham, Sidmouth Sea Fest (Creativity on the Coast Marquee) 11.30am to 4pm
Friday 31st May @ Sidmouth Craft Hub - 2pm to 4pm
Monday 3rd June @ Sidmouth Craft Hub – 2pm to 4pm
Saturday 8th June @ Sidmouth Craft Hub – 11am to 1pm
Tuesday 11th June @ Sidmouth Craft Hub – 2pm to 4pm
Thursday 13th June @ Sidmouth Craft Hub – 10am to 12 noon
Free Flag Making Drop-in Workshops
Saturday 15th June @ Sidmouth Craft Hub – 2pm to 4pm
Tuesday 18th June @ Sidmouth Craft Hub – 11am to 1pm
Tuesday 18th June @ Sidmouth Craft Hub – 3.30pm to 5.30pm
Saturday 22nd June @ Sidmouth Craft Hub – 10am to 12pm
Wednesday 3rd July @ Sidmouth Craft Hub – 11am to 1pm
Friday 5th July @ Sidmouth Craft Hub – 2pm to 4pm


Additional guidance following frequently asked questions during the initial design workshops is below and will help your group to create the best outcome.  Please read through before you start to make your flag and feel free to ask if you have any other questions.

Final Flag Measurements

Please note the size of the final flag will be 800mm wide and 1200mm heigh. This will include a 25mm hem i.e. 25mm folded over twice to create a 25mm hem all around the portrait fabric drop.  This means the total unhemmed size is 900mm x 1300mm.  This will strengthen the area where we will put the fixing eyelet. If you are using a whole piece of rip stop to back your flag it will be 800m x 1200mm total - the edges can be inserted into the hem area and sewn in as you are hemming the flag i.e. the backing does not need its own hem.

Please add the 25mm hem to the edges of your banner OR if you prefer we will hem the banner for you once submitted.

Working with Ripstop Nylon

The rip stop nylon fabric requires a careful approach to avoid puckering follow these instructions to achieve the best result:

  • only use nylon/polyester thread (available at Sidmouth Craft Hub or online e.g. Moon Thread)
  • use a 70/10 needle (anything larger will cause holes) or simply a small and very sharp needle
  • use sharp scissors or a rotary cutter to cur your shapes
  • use the gridlines on the fabric to help sew straight lines where needed
  • keep the tension loose on the sewing machine
  • do not pin the fabric together this will make holes in it - use decorators or masking tape (available in any hardware store/art craft shop) to hold shapes or the hem area in place

You can use Hi-Tack Fabric glue sparingly on the fabric to keep shapes in place before you sew them on if masking tape is not suitable for example to hold smaller details in place – they do all need to be sewn to ensure the flags last and can be reused.

There are two options for the back of your flag:

  • cut the shapes of your design out and sew the design together to show the design on both sides or
  • choose a colour that coordinates/contrasts with the colour palette of your design and sew it on as a backing – you will need to let us know if this is the option you choose – and let us know the colour so we can provide a 800mm x 1200mm piece of fabric for this.

When we curate the exhibition – we will be looking at range of colours and mix of two-sided designs and those with block colour backing to ensure the exhibition works well.

Additional Design Guidance

Please do not use any words on your banner – groups/organisation names are not necessary – use visual images to represent what your group stands for or its purpose or what is important about it.

TOP TIP: brainstorm with your members to gather a list of words about what the group is for or does, what its main reason for existence is, what it delivers for people – then funnel down to prioritise what is the most important – try to identify 3 to 5 things or words that convey what your group is about. Choose images that communicate what you have prioritised.  

When designing please consider...

  • less is more in flag design
  • you do not need to cover everything – this will help to make sure your flag is an artwork
  • that collectively this will ensure we produce as a community, a coherent exhibition
  • avoiding group titles will be less sewing work
  • your design will be easily viewable above the roadway from a distance
  • this will make sure each design has the most impact visually

We know that it is important for each group to ultimately be identifiable – we have that covered! Every group will have its name and an email and web address added to the Sidmouth School of Art website – you will be able to add this link to the project page to your website.

We will also produce a postcard with all of the designs on one side and a grid reference on the back to show which flag is by which group.

Resisting using text is important – as it helps to enable a visual first exhibition, avoid the flags looking like conference banners, sparks curiosity and interest and inspires creativity - yours and the viewers!

Draft Designs to Making Your Flag

Once you have attended a design workshop or been in contact by email to discuss your ideas – you will give us a list of the colours you require and we will liaise by email to deliver your fabric to you or for pick up at one of the make workshops.

A reminder to please email your full colour draft design no later than 14th June to

This will help us to review and provide any further feedback before you start to make your flag. We also need them to help us to design the exhibition.

Flags need to be finished and given to the project lead by Friday 5th July.

Sidmouth Craft Hub

We are delighted to be working with Sidmouth Craft Hub whose venue we will be using for 11 of our 12 free drop-in workshops. This fully equipped venue with sewing machines will help our design and make support workshop process.