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Thread: Using flannel for a quilt...do I or do I not?

  1. #1
    Junior Member Juztme's Avatar
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    Using flannel for a quilt...do I or do I not?

    I saw some really cute flannel that I'd like to use to make a baby quilt. I am supposing I need to wash before cutting, but what other things do I need to watch out for? How do I keep the fabric stable? Lots and lots of starch?? Or do I just use the flannel for the backing?

    Boy am I glad you all are around so I can ask questions!

  2. #2
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    Last flannel quilt I made, I washed and dried the flannel twice to get it to shrink as much as possible. Took it out of the dryer on first buzz, shook it out and folded it - did not wrinkle. If you have a serger, I recommend serging the edges first before washing.
    I did not starch the flannel and I did not iron it. It was easy to cut, but I only cut one layer at a time. Also, when I was sewing it, the flannel did not shift, it was like it was hugging itself, if that makes sense. You have to be careful and not stretch it.

    My son absolutely loves his quilt. When I gave it to him he kept saying "it's so soft!"

    I would not use an intricate design - you don't want to stretch it and I honestly would never starch flannel - it would soak too much into it.

  3. #3
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    Oh, btw, I also used flannel for the backing and also inside of it instead of batting so it was actually 3 layers of flannel - nice an warm without too much bulk.

  4. #4
    Super Member earthwalker's Avatar
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    Yes, wash it a couple of times...be brutal...hot water, dryer the works. If it's going to misbehave, best find out before quilting with it. I do iron and starch (heavily), but am careful not to stretch it around. Flannel is well worth the trouble....lovely, soft and comforting.

  5. #5
    Junior Member Juztme's Avatar
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    I like the idea of the flannel on the inside. That would really make it!

  6. #6
    Junior Member Juztme's Avatar
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    I forgot... How much does it schrink? Should I buy 1/4 yard more?

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    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Washing and drying a couple of times is good. I starch flannel heavily before cutting because it really helps with accuracy; starching stabilizes it so it moves around less, stretches less, etc. It's a good idea to use 1/2-inch seams because flannel tends to fray, but it's not absolutely necessary. It's also a good idea to choose simpler patterns with bigger pieces; however, starching heavily does allow you to use more intricate piecing patterns with accuracy.

    It's actually quite possible to make a flannel quilt without prewashing. I took a class with Harriet Hargrave where she passed around a flannel quilt she had made without prewashing to prove to her customers that it could be done. She measured the quilt before washing and again after washing, and there was minimal shrinkage. Her point is that moderate quilting binds the layers of the quilt together, making the batting the determining factor in shrinkage. In other words, fabric that is closely quilted cannot shrink more than the batting. This was certainly true for her quilt, which was lovely and now mis-shapen at all. Flannel fabrics washed on their own will shrink a ***lot***; I know this from experience! However, if you are willing to machine quilt at least moderately (I'd say something smaller than a large meander -- medium meander or smaller), you can actually skip the prewashing step for flannel.

  8. #8
    Super Member Pat625's Avatar
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    I use flannel a lot especially for baby and kids quilts..Sometimes it is just used for backing, adn sometimes for front and back..All have held up well and the kids love them

  9. #9
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Just want to add that sewing flannel creates a *lot* of lint! Be prepared to clean your machine at least twice as often as you normally would.

  10. #10
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlienQuilter View Post
    Last flannel quilt I made, I washed and dried the flannel twice to get it to shrink as much as possible. Took it out of the dryer on first buzz, shook it out and folded it - did not wrinkle. If you have a serger, I recommend serging the edges first before washing.
    I did not starch the flannel and I did not iron it. It was easy to cut, but I only cut one layer at a time. Also, when I was sewing it, the flannel did not shift, it was like it was hugging itself, if that makes sense. You have to be careful and not stretch it.

    My son absolutely loves his quilt. When I gave it to him he kept saying "it's so soft!"

    I would not use an intricate design - you don't want to stretch it and I honestly would never starch flannel - it would soak too much into it.
    This is what I do. I never have starched. My flannel quilts come out fine.

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