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Thread: Kind of annoyed with flannel

  1. #1
    Super Member willferg's Avatar
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    Kind of annoyed with flannel

    So I made two baby blankets and kept them both to 40" squares, planning to use flannel for backing. I bought some that coordinated nicely at Joanns. Now, I assumed the fabric was 42" wide -- maybe wider, but certainly not narrower.

    I washed it, prepared for a little shrinkage...and now it's barely 40" and less than in spots. I can't use it for either blanket.

    I don't think it shrunk by two inches; I think it was probably only about 41" at best before washing. Plus, the selvedge is a good half inch, and even bigger where the name runs up into the design. What a bummer. If I'd known, I would have bought fleece.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Why not just get 1/2 yard (or what is needed) of the same (or coordinating) and run a strip around all four sides to make it wider? That would be better than not using it at all.

  3. #3
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    Yes, I guess we will have to start carrying a tape measure around to check the fabric because it keeps getting smaller and smaller. I wouldn't mind so much if you were made aware of it before cutting. Nothing I hate worse then getting ready to put together a quilt and finding out you are a little short. The large selvages are a pain in the butt!!!

  4. #4
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Sorry this happened to you!
    As already suggested, perhaps do a seamed backing. Another way, would be to join all your scraps together for a scrappy backing.


    I guess it's just something to add to the "buyer beware" things to remember when shopping.

    I was reading something yesterday that for flannelette, it usually shrinks at least 5%, and often times more! So if your fabric had been 42" to start, that'd be 2.1" shrinkage. PLUS that flanelette may continue to shrink with future washings, until the shrinkage is finished.

    The thread count in flannelette is much lower than higher quality cottons, thus why the shrinkage.

    I tend to wash flannelette (and all fabrics) as soon as they come into my home in hot water, drying in a hot dryer, to deal with the shrinkage straight up. I usually do this several times when it's flanelette, measuring it each time until the shrinkage stops ... and then I wash it another time to ensure it is. Another thing I was taught a few years ago, that when drying flannelette add some towels to the dryer. For some reason, the battering of the towels as the flannelette dries, helps encourage the shrinkage.
    Last edited by QuiltE; 07-28-2012 at 01:12 PM.
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  5. #5
    Super Member joyce888's Avatar
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    I've had the same problem with JoAnns flannel. Some has been as much as 2" of store name/selvage. I think we all need to start complaining at the store and on the web about this issue. As many have found out shrinkage is one thing but 2" or more of selvage waste is unexceptable. I'm going to the website right now and complain!
    Joyce

  6. #6
    Super Member patchsamkim's Avatar
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    Flannels do shrink more than regular cottons. In the past, you could usually count on fabrics being 42-44" of usable width of fabric. It seems now that it is more like 40-42. Not sure of the reason why that is, but it can mean calculation of fabrics need to be increased.

  7. #7
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    I'm sounding like a stuck record - but not all fabrics have ALWAYS been 44-45 inches wide.

    It is up to the buyer to check the end of the bolt to see what it says and not 'assume' anything anymore.

  8. #8
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    JoAnne's flannels are notorious for shrinkage more than some of the higher quality flannels. But all flannels shrink much more than regular quilting cotton. I agree with yngldy, just buy some more and piece a border around the backing flannel.

  9. #9
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
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    fabrics vary in width from about 39" up to 45" for lots of quilting fabrics- it is always a good idea to look at the end of the bolt- it not only tells you how much the fabric costs but also tells you the width, the fiber content, the thread count, and washing instructions-
    flannels shrink more than regular cottons because they are a looser weave- it is always a good idea to purchase extra to make up for shrinkage - seems like you could pick up a bit more & piece your backing- flannel really makes wonderful baby quilts.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  10. #10
    Super Member QuiltnLady1's Avatar
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    I have made over 100 receiving blankets from flannel -- I have found there is no standard for width or shrinkage. I hate the 1-1.5" labels on the selvages -- I don't consider that part of the fabric width (and have you noticed the labels are usually wrapped inside).

    I don't count on the width of the flannel until it has been washed -- I have had it shrink as much as 4" -- sometimes in both directions. It has not stopped me from using flannel, just made me buy enough for my project (I do refuse to buy the flannel with the wide labels, however).

    What frustrates me is paying LQS prices and getting a lot of shinkage -- I had one LQS piece that shrank 4" both ways, but another piece of the same brand did not shrink at all. Washing and dryer drying has saved me all kinds of problem with the finished quilts -- better to have the uncut fabric shrink than to have the final quilt wonky becayse I failed to wash everything first.
    QuiltnLady1

    When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

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