October 18, 2010
Embracing Flannel- hints for success
Quilting flannel , or flannelette
is napped cotton, that imitates the texture of original 17th century Welsh wool flannel.
In North America, flannel is often associated with lumberjacks, farmers, and woodsmen.
It is also commonly used for making winter pajamas .
Napping raises the ends of fibers making a surface that is downy, with fibers that will move when brushed or rubbed.
The nap helps create the warmth and softness flannel is known for.
Many quilters are afraid of using flannel,
Inexpensive, loosely woven flannels can stretch and shrink uncomfortably.
But quilting experts know that
Because flannel shrinks about 5 % , those who want an old time look should not prewash.
For a smoother
, contemporary look wash
the uncut flannel twice
in hot water, and dry on high heat.
Use a good quality spray starch to prepare and stabilize fabric for crisp cuts
EVERY time you press – with a hot , non steam iron- before and after sewing, to increase the ease of cutting and sewing.
Remember to lift the iron up and down, not drag across the fabric,
Use a fresh , sharp blade to avoid drag and stretching while cutting.
Recommendations include using lots of pins (especially on bias edges)
and if possible use a 3/8″ to 1/2″ seam allowance . When this is not practical, be watchful for raveling.
You can use Fray Check or Fray Stop if necessary to control raveling.
Flannel dulls needles quickly. Use new size 14 needles.
Use a shorter stitch setting to keep seams as tight as possible.
A walking foot is also recommended .
You may then want to mark a quarter in guide with tape.
Press your seams OPEN when possible to avoid bulk.
If you have to undo a stitch, do so gingerly.
You may need to press your piece back into squared position with a hot steam iron before continuing.
Clean your machine often to keep the lint from clogging up the mechanism of your machine.
and at Satin Moon
with great Amy Butler and Anna Marie Horner flannels.