March Madness Pennants



A friend of mine once likened being a Jayhawk fan in March to “rolling around in a vat of gold while being told how beautiful and smart you are.”  I think she meant it to be hyperbole, but it's not far off.

Outside of Lawrence, only the residents of a select few other college towns get it.  Inside Lawrence, it's like a second Christmas without the downsides of family drama and air travel.

There are treats and parties and decorations.  Peace and goodwill are extended...well, if not to all, at least towards everyone wearing red and blue.  Even the weird stranger who sits down at your table without asking becomes a friend when it's time to sing the “Rock Chalk” chant. 

But the littlest Jayhawks are perhaps the cutest of all.

I still remember the Kid, barely a year old, marching proudly through South Park when the 'Hawks made it to the Final Four in 2012.  I'd sewn a big KU flag and hastily attached it to a yard stick, and he waved that flag with a vigor that would compete with the most colorful drum major of any college band.

Nostalgic for that memory, this year I decided to make some smaller KU pennants to hand out to the Kid's little friends.  

Of course, I made them in Jayhawk-style, but you could easily customize them for your own team.  I also made them no-sew (by using hem tape), but that was mostly because my sewing machine is broken--you could certainly stitch them if you wanted.

But whatever you change, don't alter this part:  I let the Kid splatter paint the fabric before I cut out the shapes.  For serious.  Do it.  It was fun!

Here's the full how-to.

Jayhawk Pennant Flags  (Makes 8 flags easily, but probably more if you cut carefully)


  • 2 blue “fat quarters” of fabric
  • ¼ yard of Jayhawk print fabric
  • red fabric paint
  • iron-on hem tape
  • 8 dowel rods cut to about 12 inches each, or some other type of handle (leftover wooden chopsticks would work beautifully, too)


Working over newspaper or an old tablecloth, spread out the fat quarters and let your child go to town with the red paint.  Meanwhile, carefully cut out several Jayhawk shapes from the Jayhawk print fabric.

When the fat quarters are dry, fold them in half lengthwise with the painted side facing out.  With the fold as the short side of the triangle, cut through both layers of fabric to make a pennant shape.  When you unfold it, it should look sort of like a flying bat.

You should be able to easily get 4 flags out of each fat quarter, and you can probably get more if you cut carefully or make your flags a little smaller.

Once your pennants are cut out, it's time to attach them to the dowel rods.

With the painted side of the fabric facing down this time, place the dowel rod in the center of the flag, and cut two pieces of hem tape to stretch diagonally down the sides of the triangle to the right of the dowel rod.  

Then, following the instructions on the hem tape, use your iron to fuse the left side on top of the right side, sandwiching the dowel rod in the middle.  If your flag is slipping up and down on the dowel rod, a dab of glue or a little more hem tape will help keep it from coming off the end.

To finish the pennants, use small pieces of hem tape to attach the Jayhawk shapes to the front of the flag and prepare to wave the Jayhawks to victory.

Rock Chalk, friends!