Dear Jim and others,
I have been making flags for many years now, and you are on the money with your answers.
I also use a stencil on my stars,its the easiest way to get them started. Having said that, Remember that these ladies were also excellant quilters and understanding basic quilting techniques allows us to better grasp their assembly and sewing "tricks".
I read a couple of quilting articles and now turn out a more accurate replica flag.
Remember they were quilters first and flagmakers later.