Friday, 30 December 2011

Sewing flannel

Hands up who has never sewn flannel before?
I have always admired flannel, felt that soft, warm cotton and
dreamed of making myself a flannel quilt.
A little while (ahem.. two years) ago, I bought a flannel 'confetti' quilt kit at the Festival of Quilts, on the Seattle Quilt Company stand.
The kit has been sitting in my cupboard ever since, looked at, admired and put away again.
I had two problems:
1. I had never sewn flannel before and didn't want to make a mess of it!
2. I never had the time.
Ok, number two is a lame excuse,
so I have taken advantage of this holiday time to make a start on the quilt.
I have searched the internet for tips on sewing flannel,
some of these are very useful and then others are very contradictory.
So far I have found that my fabric does not fray very much and I have opted to use a conventional 1/4" seam allowance (This is totally going against the majority of the advice out there that says to use a bigger seam allowance)
And starch? do I really need starch?
Well, not so far anyway!
anybody got any tips for me?


  1. I just finished an adorable, in my humble opinion, baby quilt all done in flannels. I had used flannel for backing before but not a top. My mom does a lot of work with flannel so I asked her advice. She said just treat it like you would any cotton fabric. The fabric I used was from several different lines/manufactures, some was soft on both sides and some had a defined right side. I used a 1/4 in. seam on all of my seams. I had no trouble with fraying and I did not use starch. So, what I guess I'm trying to say is, my mom was right, just treat it like any other cotton fabric. Good luck!

  2. Love working with flannels. I think the contradictory advice is actually outdated advice. When quilting flannels premiered in the 90's, they shredded SO easily and needed the extra allowance and body. Today's flannels are so much better made they don't need this extra precaution. I've even noticed that shrinkage is no longer an issue - 1st gen flannels were notorious. Have fun with your flannels!

  3. My daughter and I have made several baby flannel blankets and have treated them just like any other cotton fabric without any problems. They wash up so cozy and cuddly!

  4. Hmm, I used it in the pieced back for my ATS QAL, and the only thing I noticed was it could be a tad stretchier than quilting cottons, but nothing hugely noticeable, and I used a 1/4" seam allowance no bother. Of course this was my first quilt, so I only had the front to compare it to, and that had been a bit of a b*gger with the background fabric I'd chosen, I think the flannel was actually easier!

  5. Flannel is a great fabric for pajamas, baby quilts and lots of other projects. Since it is 100% cotton, it can be treated as any other cottons. However, as will all fabrics, quality has everything to do with fraying, etc.

    I am still checking my porches for my Go! Baby delivery. So excited that I have even bought a couple of dies.
    Beckie in Brentwood, TN

  6. Lovely soft colours to match the soft texture. I'm with Steph, treat it like normal cotton and use a good quality thread. Jxo

  7. Never noticed a problem with flannel. Just sew it and if you encounter a problem, come back to us and tell us. Maybe a case of 'too much information' frightening you without cause.

    Just enjoy.

  8. I've sewn on it several times and love it for lots of things. I use a quarter inch seam but I always, always wash and dry it first. I think it shrinks more than my normal cottons so if washed once before sewing that compensates. blessings, marlene

  9. I never really thought anything about it when I started sewing flannel, just treated it like any other cotton. However, I did discover that if you are sewing a pattern where a lot of seams intersect, a walking foot is a wonderful tool. Now I use a walking foot whenever I sew with it. I'm referring to the nice meaty quilter's flannel & not that flimsy flannel they sell at JoAnns.