Medieval banners: Gonfalon and vexillum – Red Dragon Flagmakers

Medieval banners: Gonfalon and vexillum

Every one unique

I just wanted to say we’ve received the banners and they’re beautiful. Thank you very much for working on such a tight time scale for us and producing them so nicely, it’s much appreciated.  I look forward to working with you again in the future.

A Vexillum is a flag-like object suspended from a horizontal crossbar; the Ancient Roman army used it as its military standard and a Gonfalon (from the early Italian confalone) is a type of heraldic flag or banner, often pointed, swallow-tailed, or with several streamers, and suspended from a crossbar in an identical manner to the ancient Roman vexillum.

The common derivative for gonfalon and vexillum is a 'medieval banner'.

Stitched gonfalons

Gonfalons come in all shapes and sizes AND all possible variations of fabrics.  We recommend mixing it up design wise and using matt and shiny taffetas, satin silks, linens, drill cotton, velvets and everything needed to make a sumptuous impression. 

Here is a fully stitched, appliqued and lined gonfalon made for the grand entrance hall of a UK public school.

Bredon School gonfalon banner by Red Dragon Flagmakers

Bredon School gonfalon banner by Red Dragon Flagmakers

Bredon School gonfalon by Red Dragon Flagmakers

Here we show two custom swallow tail gonfalons we made for St Patrick's Cathedral in New York. Fully stitched, double facing (bagged) with appliqued taffeta detail and gold bullion braid and tassel detail. 

Gonfalon at St Patrick's Cathedral, New York October 2021 by Red Dragon Flagmakers


The example gonfalon below was fully stitched, lined and finished with tab tops and a hidden sleeve to hold the fabric straight and eliminate curling.

Fully stitched gonfalon by Red Dragon Flagmakers

And here are some other examples of mixed media gonfalon banners completed recently in our workshop.
Gonfalon banner by Red Dragon Flagmakers
Nightingale gonfalon by red dragon flagmakers

Printed gonfalons

And not forgetting the fully printed gonfalon option.  This image shows a lined gonfalon, fully printed with detail to red cotton drill, finished with tab tops and a weighted tip.

Printed cotton gonfalon by red dragon flagmakers

Here is another example of a printed gonfalon with tab topbs, lined and edged with bullion piping (apologies for the creases!):

Cotton drill printed gonfalon with bullion piping, lined by Red Dragon Flagmakers

School banners, Vexillum Gonfalon for Ysgol Dewi Sant, St David's, Pembrokeshire

Ysgol Dewi Sant Pembrokshire with their school banner, vexillum and gonfalon

The Head Teacher of Ysgol Dewi Sant in St David's Pembrokeshire commissioned us to realise the creation of school and house banners for the beginning of the academic year September 2018. 

Ysgol dewi sant vexillum gonfalon school banner by Red Dragon Flagmakers

Each banner measured 5x3ft and constructed in portrait style in the shape of a shield, fully interlined and backed with tab tops to hang the banner from the custom made pole and stand, and fully weighted to ensure the correct drape of fabric.

Ysgol dewi sant vexillum gonfalon school banner by Red Dragon Flagmakers

These vexillae were made using MOD spec woven polyester - this fabric is dense in colour and lightweight.  It is unlikely to fade over time and is fully machine washable without colour run. 

Ysgol dewi sant vexillum gonfalon school banner by Red Dragon Flagmakers

We manually trace all the detail to fabric then carefully applique the detail before trimming and finishing each piece by hand - this is the traditional way to make flags - from projecting the image to scale on a wall, tracing it to paper, then on a lightbox to fabric, then pinning the fabric sandwich (and in the case of the School coat of arms 17 layers of fabric), applique sewing, trimming back - repeated until the image is revealed with no margin for error.

Thank you so much for helping to make our special day extra special. The banners looked awesome in the Cathedral yesterday. David Haynes, Head Teacher, Ysgol Dewi Sant

 School banner, vexillum and gonfalon by red dragon flagmakers

 Ready to send us your flag design and description? Awesome.  Click HERE

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