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Thread: Piecing with Flannel Questions

  1. #1
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    I have washed my red Cozy flannel from JoAnn's and it shrank four inches. Ok so far. I carefully ironed it making sure not to stretch it. I cut squares and made Friendship Star blocks that I squared as I went along. Again ok. Now that I want to stitch them together, they are no longer square. One side is either shorter or longer than the rest. So what happened? I was careful when I pressed, Not ironed them. I know flannel has give and stretches a bit.

    Now for my questions. Am I asking too much of the flannel by trying to piece it? Am I not doing something I should do? Or doing something I shouldn't? Maybe I should just forget trying to make pieced blocks out of flannel. I really do love flannel though and would like my baby quilts to have personality, not just plain blocks.

    Please help! :)

  2. #2
    Super Member chairjogger's Avatar
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    Flannel is tough.. I have no problem with the thick men's flannel shirt material that I take old shirts. I wounder if because these have been laundered often.

    I wonder if working with the baby flannel fabric is harder because of the thickness??

    I do have a quilted, but one large piece, baby blanket that made it through two children.. used quilt binding on this over 30 years ago.

    good luck.. flannel is hard to work with sometimes. :(

  3. #3
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    I am doing a quilt now that has flannel in it (it had the exact color and pattern I needed.)- a quilt for me! I starched the fabric after washing and hung it to dry. I am adding some starch when I press it. Then I am cutting. That should keep it from misbehaving.

    Remember to press (up and down) and not iron (sliding along).

    Don't know how to fix the ones you have already done but do not give up on flannel - starch is your friend! Use it before cutting your blocks.

  4. #4
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tropical
    I have washed my red Cozy flannel from JoAnn's and it shrank four inches. Ok so far. I carefully ironed it making sure not to stretch it. I cut squares and made Friendship Star blocks that I squared as I went along. Again ok. Now that I want to stitch them together, they are no longer square. One side is either shorter or longer than the rest. So what happened? I was careful when I pressed, Not ironed them. I know flannel has give and stretches a bit.

    Now for my questions. Am I asking too much of the flannel by trying to piece it? Am I not doing something I should do? Or doing something I shouldn't? Maybe I should just forget trying to make pieced blocks out of flannel. I really do love flannel though and would like my baby quilts to have personality, not just plain blocks.

    Please help! :)
    STARCH STARCH STARCH. And press, don't iron. In other words, don't slide the soleplate of the iron on the blocks; this will cause stretching. When I use flannel for quilting I use a minimal number of pieces and try not to have biases.

  5. #5
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
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    Starch is the answer...
    try again
    DO NOT GIVE UP....this can be done

  6. #6
    Senior Member MIJul's Avatar
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    I've found the best results for working with flannel is to use squares and rectangles. When you eliminate the bias that comes from using triangles, you get better blocks and less distortion.

  7. #7
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I heavily starch flannel before cutting. Heavy starch stabilizes the fabric so it doesn't stretch or distort with handling.

    Chances are good that you can get your squares back into "true" with spray starch and an iron. Sharon Schamber has some great videos on how to do this on Youtube. Here are links to how she does this (not necessarily in order):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-3RIWhBvcA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6aplw_tVZc
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIjZqABo2NY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQkF02vpVuw

  8. #8
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    Thank you Sewmary, gran of 6 and Deborahlees for your very quick responses. I'm afraid though that Starch is Not My friend. I have COPD including Severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivities which cause negative reactions to anything aerosol or with any kind of odor. I have tried the homemade type using cornstarch and got lots of flaking without much stiffness.

    I think I will use MIJul's suggestion of using squares and rectangles and stick with cotton for my star blocks.
    All of you have a great day.:)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by chairjogger
    Flannel is tough.. I have no problem with the thick men's flannel shirt material that I take old shirts. I wounder if because these have been laundered often.

    I wonder if working with the baby flannel fabric is harder because of the thickness??

    I do have a quilted, but one large piece, baby blanket that made it through two children.. used quilt binding on this over 30 years ago.

    good luck.. flannel is hard to work with sometimes. :(
    Thank you, I hadn't thought of using those. My DH doesn't wear them since we moved to Florida. Maybe I can try a thrift shop. :)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99
    I heavily starch flannel before cutting. Heavy starch stabilizes the fabric so it doesn't stretch or distort with handling.

    Chances are good that you can get your squares back into "true" with spray starch and an iron. Sharon Schamber has some great videos on how to do this on Youtube. Here are links to how she does this (not necessarily in order):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-3RIWhBvcA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6aplw_tVZc
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIjZqABo2NY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQkF02vpVuw
    Thank you Prism99. I have watched those videos before and forgotten all about them. I love her tutorials. I'll give them another look this afternoon. Unfortunately though I can not use starch for health reasons. :)

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