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Flannel Fabric: Everything you need to know

By Fabric Design Treasures October 24, 2022

Bundled Flannel Fabric

Flannel is one of the most popular forms of fabric used commercially because it can be used to carry out various craft projects, whether you're designing new clothing or bed linen. 

When hearing the phrase flannel, you may immediately think of "flannel" jumpers and lumberjack jackets. However, this refers to the material the jumpers are made from instead of the specific chequered pattern that may spring to mind. This pattern is called "plaid." 

What is Flannel? 

Flannel is typically made from wool, cotton, synthetic fibers, or a blend of these products. It is generally described as a medium-weight fabric that is soft to the touch. This softness is generated when the material is brushed during the production process, which causes the tiny fibers to raise slightly, resulting in a soft or 'fluffy' finish. 

Flannel fabric is available in various colors and patterns - a process that is achieved through printing processes and dyes. However, traditionally, different colors would be created by "mixing white, blue, brown, and black wools in varying proportions."

Flannel fabric is used to make: 

  • Cardigans
  • Jumpers
  • Jackets
  • Pajamas
  • Underwear 
  • Bed linen & pillowcases
  • Drapery 
  • Blankets & throws

The History Of Flannel

Flannel fabric or similar products have a long and well-documented history when constructing garments and similar products. Historians have traced its first use to 16th Century Wales, though it was known during this period as "Welsh cotton." Following this, the term flannelle was used to describe the fabric in 17th Century France.

Flannel fabric became popular during the 19th century when carding mills became ever-popular throughout the UK and beyond. 

Tips for Sewing With Flannel

As mentioned previously, Flannel is a popular material used in various craft and sewing projects. However, it can sometimes be challenging to work with. As a result, we've put together a list of tips and tricks that you can use to ensure your next sewing project is a success!

  1. You need to pre-shrink the fabric. As a fabric, Flannel is notorious for shrinking when washed. This is because both wool and cotton fibers shrink when exposed to heat. As such, it's advised that you pre-shrink your fabric before constructing any project or garment, as this ensures your hard work is not undone. When washing Flannel, you should ensure that you set your washing machine to a low temperature. 
  1. Remember that Flannel is napped. 

Flannel is a napped fabric. This "refers to a process in which both sides of a piece of woven or knit fabric are teased and raised and/or sheared off to make them even." This is what makes the fabric feel so soft to the touch. However, it can also impact how the fabric looks when cut. Often, cutting the fabric in one direction could make the colors present appear darker, while cutting in the other direction will give off a lighter shade. To create a consistent color, remember to cut the fabric in the same direction each time. 

  1. Remember what kind of fabric you're working with. 

This advice is helpful no matter what kind of sewing project you work on or your materials. After all, you may need to adjust your technique somewhat to ensure optimal results or try out different styles of stitches. For example, as Flannel is stretchy and you're trying to make a garment of some kind, you'll need to apply certain stitches to the neckline or arm line to retain their shape.

Final Thoughts 

Now that you've learned everything there is to know about Flannel, and it's time to get started on your next craft project. At Fabric Design Treasures, we offer a wide range of flannel fabrics, which means you're sure to find a fabric pattern that you fall in love with - whether you're making a cozy set of pajamas or some themed bed linen for the holiday season.

For example, our Santa Claus flannel is perfect for the festive season, and any little girl will fall in love with our mermaid flannel fabric. Even better, when you place an order online, you can have the products delivered directly to your door.   

If you'd like to find out more or have any questions about the products we have on offer, please do not hesitate to get in touch today!

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