Mariner’s Alphabet Pattern

Mariners Alphabetaa and trim Feb 7 2013Make a mariner happy with a quilted banner showing the International Maritime Signal Flag alphabet.  A guide to the meaning of the flags is included for printing on the back of your quilt.  Foundation piecing patterns for blocks are provided.  Finished size is  26” x 62”.

The link below will take you to my store at where the pattern can be purchased:

Pattern Spot dot com


The system of international maritime signal flags is one system of flag signals representing individual letters of the alphabet in signals to or from ships. It is part of the International Code of Signals.

There are various ways the flags can be used as signals:

  • Each flag spells an alphabetic message, letter by letter.
  • Individual flags have specific and standard meanings; for example, a vessel supporting a diver will raise the “A flag” indicating their inability to move from their current location because they have a diver underwater.
  • One or more flags may form a code word whose meaning can be looked up in a code book

The International Code of Signals was preceded by a variety of naval and private signal systems. What is now the International Code of Signals was drafted in 1855 by the British Board of Trade. It was revised by the Board of Trade in 1887, and was modified at an International Conference in Washington, D.C. in 1989.

The flags, their letters, and some of the most common meanings are shown on a table included in this pattern that can be printed on fabric and attached to the back of your banner.

Mariners Alphabetaa and trim Feb 7 2013

Mariner’s Alphabet banner

Fabric Requirements

1/3 yard        each of solid bright blue, solid bright red, solid white, solid bright yellow

1/4 yard        solid black

1/2 yard        Light blue nautical print for sashing (or substitute any light blue fabric)

1 yard           medium blue or navy nautical print for borders and binding (or substitute any medium or navy blue fabric)

1 yard                        backing fabric

28 by 64 inch batting




23 thoughts on “Mariner’s Alphabet Pattern

    1. Shirley at Mystery Bay Quilt Design Post author

      Denise, you should be able to link directly through the Pattern page here on the blog. Just look for the “Patternspot” logo button and click on it. That will take you directly to my Patternspot page where you can purchase and download the pattern. Let me know if it doesn’t work for you.

    1. Shirley at Mystery Bay Quilt Design Post author

      I’m sorry, Sandra. I used to have my patterns on, but they went out of business – and as far as I know, they still are although I see references to them online.

      Then I had my patterns on Craftsy until Craftsy decided to take off all designers with just a few patterns. I am not sure where the information about the patterns being at patternspot exists now; I would appreciate knowing where you saw it so I can delete it. I thought I had deleted it completely from my blog….

      Anyway, now you can get the pattern directly from me and pay for it through PayPal. If you want it, I can have PayPal send you an invoice. Once it is paid for, I email the pattern files directly to you. The whole process can be done in an hour or less.

      Sorry for the bother! Shirley

      1. Tania M Newton

        I would love to purchase the patterns for these squares also. Is it a downloadable .pdf. My email is and I can pay you via paypal. thank you Tania newton

  1. Sarah Gershon

    I would very much like to purchase this pattern from you. I have a PayPal account. Would you be willing to send me the pattern?

  2. pat milam

    Sandra, can you recommend anyone that can deliver the final product and or embroider a person’s name using mariner alphabet on shirts? PRETTY !!

    1. Shirley at Mystery Bay Quilt Design Post author

      It happens I have several of them made up in slightly different versions that I no longer need. If you are interested, I can send you photos and prices. As an experiment I designed the whole quilt as a fabric panel and had a couple of copies made by Spoonflower, then turned them into quilts. Turns out I really prefer the ” from scratch ” versions since the colors are richer, so I could sell you the fabric panel ones for about $50 each plus shipping. Also had a panel made up that makes four placemats and I made those up also in case you like that idea! The original quilts made from the pattern would be more like $200 since there are both more materials and more labor involved.

      I did a search on under “Nautical Flags” and found they have several fabric designs for sale there that might work for your purposes, so be sure to check that out.

      Most any quilter who is comfortable with paper piecing could easily make the quilt from my pattern, but I doubt they would be willing to do it for less than $200 unless they are related to you or a very good friend!

      I really like the idea of embroidering a name on a shirt in the Mariner’s Alphabet. I haven’t done that and am not very skilled at machine embroidery. If you could locate the Mariner’s Alphabet (may also be called Nautical Flags, or International signal flags, or similar) as existing embroidery designs (I believe they are out there, based on a very quick Google search), then most any machine embroiderer could put them on a shirt for you.

      So you have lots of options. Let me know if you want to see photos of the quilts I have available. Thanks for your interest, Shirley Sandoz

    1. Shirley at Mystery Bay Quilt Design Post author

      I will be happy to help if you can be more specific. Do you have prior experience with foundation paper piecing? The “A” and “B” blocks could be done with conventional piecing techniques if needed, but the pattern instructions are intended for paper piecing only, since some of the other blocks would be very difficult by any other method.


      1. Jim Garrity

        My quilting partner of 60 years is not familiar with paper piecing. She is having difficulty with the 1/4 inch seams on the nautical letters A and B. Specifically, sewing the small white triangle onto the other piece. The angle does not want to lie flat and the flag is not square . The other nautical letters are relatively easy.

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