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Thread: flannel quilt - very, very newbie

  1. #1
    Super Member JanTx's Avatar
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    I have finished a quilt top for my 2-year-old grandson. It's made of flannel - solid 6 inch squares alternating with 4 piece rails. All flannel. THat I did not prewash because I had not read enough on here before I made it.

    So here's where I need help. I'm not going to put batting - just a flannel backing. Then I had planned to machine quilt it diagonally through the blocks - does that make any sense? Should I prewash the backing material and the quilt top before I put them together? Would that help?

    It will have a small border. It's toddler bed size - exactly the size of the top of a twin bed. When he's a bit older they plan to get him a bunk bed and I thought I could add a wide border then to make the same quilt large enough.

    HELP!!!

  2. #2
    AbbyQuilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanTx
    I have finished a quilt top for my 2-year-old grandson. It's made of flannel - solid 6 inch squares alternating with 4 piece rails. All flannel. THat I did not prewash because I had not read enough on here before I made it.

    So here's where I need help. I'm not going to put batting - just a flannel backing. Then I had planned to machine quilt it diagonally through the blocks - does that make any sense? Should I prewash the backing material and the quilt top before I put them together? Would that help?

    It will have a small border. It's toddler bed size - exactly the size of the top of a twin bed. When he's a bit older they plan to get him a bunk bed and I thought I could add a wide border then to make the same quilt large enough.

    HELP!!!
    Flannel shrinks a lot. I am worried that if you wash the top now that it will shrink weird. But if you dont I know it will shrink weird.

    Someone else that has been through that may be able to chime in on the best way to handle that.

    About the batting.
    I would put something in it. I made a flannel quilt for my dog and didn't use any batting just 2 prices of flannel together and it is really thin like a flannel sheet.
    If I was to do it over I would at least put a 3rd layer of flannel in the middle..


    Also Welcome to the boards you will find lots of help here!!!!

  3. #3
    Super Member JanTx's Avatar
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    I wondered about the batting - our quilt shop lady didn't recommend it - we live in South Texas and I think that was her only reason. Just another piece of flannel in there was what I thought about - but then you have another shrinkage issue!

    Thanks - I'm glad someone else is still up.

    Perhaps make a sample block - measure it - then wash it and see how bad it is?

  4. #4
    Super Member Kitsapquilter's Avatar
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    Flannel does shrink alot. If you want to wash it you need to at least zig-zag the seams before washing it to keep them from fraying. Then maybe just baste a piece of muslin or old sheet on the back of it before you wash it. I would wash the backing and the top separate. Just because they might not shrink alike. But definitely zig-zag all the seams first as much as you can. Serging would be even better if you can.

  5. #5
    Super Member JanTx's Avatar
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    I've only used flannel for a rag quilt - baby sized at that. Didn't prewash that so never thought about this. I started sewing again this summer after about 25 years away from it - and then only sewed clothes. So ... this forum has sure helped me. But in this case I jumped in before I read enough!

    I don't have a serger, but I know someone who does. I'll see what I can do.

    all flannel - non-prewashed monkey quilt. Sigh.
    Name:  Attachment-106008.jpe
Views: 119
Size:  58.9 KB

    For sewing practice I made a pillowcase of the monkeys and that's how the whole thing started.
    Name:  Attachment-106009.jpe
Views: 119
Size:  58.8 KB

  6. #6
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    Ok, you've got this far...why don't you take a risk, get some thin batting or fleece, back it with flannel (or leave out batting and back it with fleece) tie the quilt then toss it in the wash and see how it goes.

    I think your colours/design are really good and the fabric is gorgeous. This is a little guy's flannel quilt, which is going to be loved to bits and dragged everywhere. Every quilt is a learning process for everyone...so don't be so hard on yourself..be bold...and then start planning your next quilting adventure!

  7. #7
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    This is what I would do.
    I would dampen the patchwork before putting the borders on. Get it rather wet but not in the washing machine. Soak it in water and squish it dry. Lay it out and stretch it to dry and when still damp then iron it with hot iron.
    Then square it up.
    Prewash the fabric for borders and backing and Iron and then put together.
    I would definitely put a very thin batting inside. Perhaps something like Hobbs Thermore. I believe it needs some stability in the center. Thermore or other very thin batting wont add much weight but will fill it out somewhat.
    Another layer of flannel would be too heavy for me.
    I believe this will prevent some problems in the future in shrinkage since it most likely will be used, lovenly abused and washed often.

  8. #8
    Super Member teacherbailey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanTx
    I have finished a quilt top for my 2-year-old grandson. It's made of flannel - solid 6 inch squares alternating with 4 piece rails. All flannel. THat I did not prewash because I had not read enough on here before I made it.

    So here's where I need help. I'm not going to put batting - just a flannel backing. Then I had planned to machine quilt it diagonally through the blocks - does that make any sense? Should I prewash the backing material and the quilt top before I put them together? Would that help?

    It will have a small border. It's toddler bed size - exactly the size of the top of a twin bed. When he's a bit older they plan to get him a bunk bed and I thought I could add a wide border then to make the same quilt large enough.

    HELP!!!
    The easiest thing for you to do is to use a fleece backing instead of flannel. The fleece will be warmer and thicker and much better than flannel....just put the top on the fleece, pin to hold together and quilt as you had planned. Then finish off the edges----the easiest way is to fold the fleece edges to the front, covering the edges of the quilt top, and stitch down. The fleece backing can be heavily used and washed and never even shows wear! (I have one going on 12 years and no problems!) I would NOT wash your top now. Flannel frays horribly most of the time and washing it with unfinished edges will create a nightmare. Wash it after you finish. Because of shrinkage there will some puckers or whatever, but it will be fine. Private message me with any more questions. Good luck!

  9. #9
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    One more thought. I would carefully iron it to keep as much shape of the center as possible and then steam it. I would want to get as much shrinkage as possible in the center

  10. #10
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teacherbailey
    Quote Originally Posted by JanTx
    I have finished a quilt top for my 2-year-old grandson. It's made of flannel - solid 6 inch squares alternating with 4 piece rails. All flannel. THat I did not prewash because I had not read enough on here before I made it.

    So here's where I need help. I'm not going to put batting - just a flannel backing. Then I had planned to machine quilt it diagonally through the blocks - does that make any sense? Should I prewash the backing material and the quilt top before I put them together? Would that help?

    It will have a small border. It's toddler bed size - exactly the size of the top of a twin bed. When he's a bit older they plan to get him a bunk bed and I thought I could add a wide border then to make the same quilt large enough.

    HELP!!!
    The easiest thing for you to do is to use a fleece backing instead of flannel. The fleece will be warmer and thicker and much better than flannel....just put the top on the fleece, pin to hold together and quilt as you had planned. Then finish off the edges----the easiest way is to fold the fleece edges to the front, covering the edges of the quilt top, and stitch down. The fleece backing can be heavily used and washed and never even shows wear! (I have one going on 12 years and no problems!) I would NOT wash your top now. Flannel frays horribly most of the time and washing it with unfinished edges will create a nightmare. Wash it after you finish. Because of shrinkage there will some puckers or whatever, but it will be fine. Private message me with any more questions. Good luck!
    I agree completely with what you're saying except that the flannel is still going to shrink like crazy and the fleece won't, causing puckering. If she uses fleece she should wash the flannel top first, if she uses flannel for everything then assemble it and wash it.

  11. #11
    Super Member cherylynne's Avatar
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    I've made 5 flannel quilts and i didn't prewash any of them. I like the wrinkled look and they are fine as far as i can see. Your fabrics are really cute.

  12. #12
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cherylynne
    I've made 5 flannel quilts and i didn't prewash any of them. I like the wrinkled look and they are fine as far as i can see. Your fabrics are really cute.
    You're right. I like the wrinkled look too. After all if a baby is using it, it will get washed and wrinkled lots, more cozy that way. It's just that if you're combining fabrics that don't shrink equally you will have a problem. I wash all my flannel as soon as I get it home, so it is ready to go when the mood strikes me. Sometimes, if I am not in a hurry, I serge the edges before washing.

  13. #13
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    I like the fabrics you used and the way you put them together.

    At this point, I think I would just leave everything unwashed. Put the flannel backing on as planned.

    Tie it (at least every four inches, if not closer) and - when necessary - wash it in cold water and machine dry it on "low" or hang it on a line to dry.

    It probably will get a little "weird" but it it's a "quilt to be used" - I would just finish it and let it be loved.

    As far as batting goes - depends on what you plan to do with it. Sometimes, just a little extra warmth is all one wants.

  14. #14
    Super Member mpspeedy's Avatar
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    I won't add my two cents about what to do about not having washed the fabric. I just want to say that you did a wonderful job of piecing. Your top looks wonderful and I am sure your son will treasure it.

  15. #15
    Super Member wvdek's Avatar
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    What a cute quilt. You have done a great job.

    Personally I would stitch around the edges of front and back, throw the batting in a pillowcase (you want the batting to shrink along with the quilt top and bottom), and put the whole kaboodle in the washer on Delicate.

    Of course I have a front loader which is far easier than a top loader machine because a front loader does not agitate like a top loader which causes alot of problems. That said, you could fill the bathtub, put top, backing and pillowcase with batting in tub to soak. Rinse, hang to dry or delicate in dryer.

  16. #16
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    Given that you don't need the warmth, I'd stick with your idea of only having the double layer of flannel. Have you tried washing the pillowcase that you did? You may find that it does not shrink as much as you fear.

    I think I would wash and dry the top and the backing separately before joining to insure that the shrinkage issue is taken care of.

    Your thought of the diagonal 'X' quilting through each square should give the stability you want for future snuggling, dragging around and being washed frequently (if you can get him to let go of it long enough to wash it!)

  17. #17
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    I would just put the backing on and quilt it and then wash it. Trying to wash an unquilted top is a recipe for disaster. If the top and back are both unwashed flannel it should be fine. If it shrinks some after it's done, so what. Shrinkage does not ruin a quilt.

  18. #18
    Super Member JanTx's Avatar
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    Quilting family! I am overwhelmed at your responses! I got up this morning - after a LONG night of sewing - and was pretty discouraged, but now... wow.

    THis is indeed a quilt to be loved. My grandson is about to get out of his crib and this will be his "quilt to be loved" for his big boy bed.

    The pillowcase washed without trouble - it was just the monkey fabric, since the quilt is 5 different flannels I was more afraid of it. I think I shall put it together as planned and hope for the best. I'll steam the dickens out of it, use a thin batting - read back through this several times and see what else I can pick up ....

    Ya'll are wonderful!

  19. #19
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    Your quilt is really pretty! I'm sure your grandson will love it a lot!

    May I make a suggestion on quilting. One of my relatives made a baby quilt for my oldest out of flannel. Really nice. And it was used a lot and loved a lot. But, everytime I washed it, I had to get needle and thread and restitch seams.

    My suggestion is, on quilting it, if you have a double sided blanket stitch, please stitch over every seam. That way every edge is caught. Otherwise, everytime it's washed, there will be some fraying on the seams.

    I now own a serger, so every flannel quilt from here on out will be serged!

  20. #20
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlienQuilter
    Your quilt is really pretty! I'm sure your grandson will love it a lot!

    May I make a suggestion on quilting. One of my relatives made a baby quilt for my oldest out of flannel. Really nice. And it was used a lot and loved a lot. But, everytime I washed it, I had to get needle and thread and restitch seams.

    My suggestion is, on quilting it, if you have a double sided blanket stitch, please stitch over every seam. That way every edge is caught. Otherwise, everytime it's washed, there will be some fraying on the seams.

    I now own a serger, so every flannel quilt from here on out will be serged!
    Your last sentence was what I was going to say. I have had the same experience. The other thing to do is to use a fancy stitch of some kind and go over all seams. I also make 1/2" seams when I do flannel quilts.

  21. #21
    Super Member icon17's Avatar
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    I would complete it as you are now. Put on boarders, make it larger than you need it to be. use batting (cotton) then wash after its all done so it shrinks all at once.

  22. #22
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    That is such a cute quilt. I love the monkey fabric. I used some just like that for a baby quilt. I can't add anything that hasn't been said. Keep us posted.

  23. #23
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    Glad you are feeling really positive...look forward to seeing a pic when it's finished.

  24. #24

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    I am making a rag quilt too. I didn't pre-wash the flannel, but I started putting inside already prewashed flannel. I used scraps of left over washed flannel. Will this create a problem with my rag quilt. I made the squares instead of 6 inch like my patterns, 5. So if the flannel shrinks, I should be okay shouldn't I, I did 18 squares, I really don't want to undo them, but I would rather do that then ruin it all. So, my question is will it work with used flannel. Otherwise, I will cut up flannel and add to it. Thank you.

  25. #25
    Senior Member cinnya's Avatar
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    This is a flannel quilt I made and didn't prewash. it has batting and didn't really shrink. I think it depends a lot on the fabric you use.
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