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I have a FLANNEL question I need help with.......

I have a FLANNEL question I need help with.......

Old 06-07-2011, 03:37 PM
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I have just finished a large lap quilt that was a kit that I bought at a quilt show in Lakeland this past spring - they had a sample of the quilt made up and it was beautiful. It was all cottons, the pieces were cut already into smaller pieces, although I still had to do some smaller cuts. The sample quilt was made up unwashed, and they had washed it after and it was beautiful - all crinkly and traditional looking. I made it up unwashed. Their sample was backed in the same type of cotton.

I want to back the quilt in flannel. I have the opportunity to quilt it on my sister's new Husqvarna computerized long arm. So I surfed the web for a wide flannel to back it with. I ordered a wide flannel for $11.98 per yard from Fabric.com - I haven't received it yet, but it should be coming in the next day or two. You can see it at this address..........

http://www.fabric.com/quilting-fabri...annel-tan.aspx

I'm hoping it will be a good quality flannel. Anyway, I know flannel does tend to shrink a fair bit, so I was wondering if I should do a prewash of the flannel, maybe in cold water, and partial dry in the dryer, airdry the rest of the way, before I long arm quilt it. It's hard to tell if it will shrink more than the all-cotton top (the cottons on the quilt top are very good quality LQS cottons). I know this is a bit of a crap-shoot type question, but what do you guys think? Thanks for listening to my drabble.......
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Old 06-07-2011, 03:39 PM
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I am curious of the answer... I have the materials to do somewhat the same thing. I will be watching the replies.
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Old 06-07-2011, 03:44 PM
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Cut a 4 inch square from your left-over quilt top fabric. When your flannel comes, cut a 4 inch square from it. Wash the two squares and dry them. Trace a four inch square on paper and see how your washed and dryed squares measure up. If they both shrank at the same rate, then go ahead and quilt. If your flannel really shrinks alot more, maybe you will need to pre-wash it.
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Old 06-07-2011, 03:51 PM
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Great answer! Just an added thought: Wash the sample swatches and dry them the same way you're going to wash and dry the quilt when it's done. I use the heck out of my couch quilts, so they get a warm wash and a pretty hot dryer.

I work in flannel a LOT. I wash it warm and dry it hot TWICE. I've put flannel that's been washed-dried twice on the back of a cotton top that hasn't been washed and it all does the nice little crinkle thing on both sides!

Originally Posted by Tartan
Cut a 4 inch square from your left-over quilt top fabric. When your flannel comes, cut a 4 inch square from it. Wash the two squares and dry them. Trace a four inch square on paper and see how your washed and dryed squares measure up. If they both shrank at the same rate, then go ahead and quilt. If your flannel really shrinks alot more, maybe you will need to pre-wash it.
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Old 06-07-2011, 03:51 PM
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Harriet Hargrave made a quilt out of unwashed flannel to prove that quilting stops fabric from shrinking. I actually saw that quilt! I'm pretty sure she used Hobbs 80/20 in that quilt, which has a shrinkage rate of about 3%. It was a soft, beautiful quilt that had been washed several times. There was no distortion.

From what I have observed and learned since then, I would say that a lot depends on the batting you use and perhaps even more on how much quilting is done. Basically, as long as you have a lot of machine quilting in the quilt, the batting is going to control how much the quilt shrinks. Quilting will keep fabric from shrinking more than the batting shrinks.

Given what I have seen in terms of flannel shrinking, I would probably hedge my bets by prewashing the flannel once. When you wash flannel, the majority of the shrinkage happens in the dryer.

My thinking is that if you prewash the flannel just once (I usually prewash and dry flannel twice, as it can shrink additionally the second time around) you will have gotten rid of a lot of the excess flannel shrinkage. As long as you use a batting that shrinks a little, and as long as you do sufficient machine quilting, the entire quilt sandwich should come out fine.

I would probably avoid 100% poly batting just because it doesn't shrink at all. Although theoretically the quilting would stop all of the fabrics from shrinking more than the batting, in reality I think you would get a better look by having all three layers shrink a little. I consider 3% to be about right. Hobbs 80/20 isn't the only batting with that shrinkage rate; lots of other battings have it as well. Check the batting specs to find out what the average shrinkage rate is before choosing the batt.
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Old 06-07-2011, 04:18 PM
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I'd prewash the flannel. I reread your message. It will shrink some and then use a cotton batting to get your traditional look.
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Old 06-07-2011, 04:59 PM
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I'm really appreciating all your helpful ideas. I am planning to use cotton batting - Warm and White (same as Warm and Natural). So I think I will first of all do the test of 4" squares (that's a GREAT idea!!), and go from there. Hugs! C9P
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Old 06-07-2011, 07:48 PM
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Just be aware that fabric shrinks differently when it is washed and dried by itself, not attached by means of quilting to the batting. You really need to make a mini-quilt of the squares to have a true test.
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:40 AM
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Like you, I love the crinkly look of washed quilts. But,
I might wash a sample of the fabric to test for colorfastness, especially if the flannel has a lot of red in it. JMHO.
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:46 AM
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I wondered the same thing.
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