The tailor shop is rather a small shop on an area of about two square meters, just enough for Ms. Hanh to set up a sewing machine table. It's so cramped, but for nearly 40 years now, she has always had a job to do, which means she has an income to feed her children.
Recalling her early days with the profession, she said she could sew all kinds of clothes, but her favorite was sewing flags. For Ms. Hanh, sewing flags is not only a livelihood but also a passion for the profession. Flag sewing does not bring a high income to Ms. Hanh; but work becomes busy before major holidays, such as the August Revolution, National Day on September 2, opening of the new school year, or the national traditional Tet, etc.
With her skillful workmanship, Ms. Hanh is trusted by many people, especially agencies and organizations from everywhere who come to her to order. In addition, every day she sews about 20 small flags for stalls in Dong Ba market; the wage for each flag is 2,000 VND. There are days when she works a lot and earns 50,000 VND per day. On the day of making large-sized flags, the income is better at about 100,000 VND per day.
According to Ms. Hanh, sewing the national flag is not difficult but has to go through many stages, from choosing fabric to measuring, cutting, inserting stars, and sewing.
There are not many workers in the sewing room who specialize in sewing the national flags like Ms. Hanh because each step requires the flag maker to be skillful and meticulous in every move, so that the finished flag is not only accurate in terms of standards but also sharp, durable, and beautiful. If you do not calculate correctly, the flag will be destroyed. It must be truly passionate to stick with the profession.
The most important step in flag sewing is fabric selection. Depending on the needs of customers, she can choose fabrics ranging from affordable to high-quality. In order for the flag to fly beautifully without wrinkles or creases, the material must be durable, have good resistance to severe weather, and help the flag's color remain for a long time. She usually uses 3 main types of fabric: matte, non-glossy, and nylon.
“The flag is made in many sizes, depending on the needs of the customer, but they all adhere to the principle that the width is equal to 2/3 of the length, the 5-pointed yellow star in the middle, one point of the star has an axis perpendicular to the long edge of the flag and points straight up at the top of the hanging pole. The national flag must be sewn with 2 strong threads to ensure durability. Not only accurate standards but also sharp and durable. The flag, when hoisted, is the symbol of the country, showing solemnity and pride," said Ms. Hanh passionately.
Ms. Hanh is also responsible for sewing flags at Ky Dai Hue
Not only has she sewn the national flags, but Ms. Hanh has also spent 15 years sewing flags hung at Ky Dai Hue. The flag at Ky Dai is 12 m long, 8 m wide, and the yellow star is up to 4 m high, for a total of over 130 m2 of fabric. To not let the flag become discolored, each year she undertakes to sew up to 12 flags to hang at Ky Dai.
She must work hard for 2 days and nights to sew such a large flag. Every time she sews a flag, she has to borrow the hall to stretch the fabric and then use her hands to apply it properly. The most difficult part of sewing flags to hang in Ky Dai is cutting and sewing a star into the flag. If the star is off-center with the flag, it will be very ugly and will not show the meaning of the national flag. She did not want to ask for help; she took the steps herself to make sure everything was on the right track.
Flag sewing is not as profitable as sewing clothes, but Ms. Hanh always feels indescribable joy when the flags she sews are hung in the most solemn places in the family, at Ky Dai Hue, follow the fishermen to reach out to sea, or fly on the streets on major holidays in the country. Each flag symbolizes the sacred soul of the nation. Ms. Hanh also passed the craft on to her daughter when she saw that her daughter had the skills, care, and hard work that a flag tailor needs.