Tips for Quilting With Flannel

For many of us, cooler temperatures have descended upon us and a cozy quilt is just the ticket to keeping warm! And what could be nicer to cuddle up with than a soft, warm, flannel quilt? But quilting with flannel can be tricky! It just doesn’t behave like your typical quilting cottons. Here are some helpful tips to know before you start your next flannel project.

Tips for Quilting with Flannel

1. Choose simple designs with large, uncomplicated pieces, like the Cozies Fall Flannels Fat Quarter Collection shown here. Avoid working with tiny pieces.

2. Buy extra fabric if you plan to prewash because flannels shrink and fray more than quilter’s cottons when washed and dried.

3. Spray starch helps to control stretching. Use before cutting. Flannel has more give than quilter’s cottons and needs to be handled with a little more care to avoid stretching your pieces.

4.  Choose low-contrast plaids rather than high-contrast.

5.  Use quick cutting and piecing techniques.  Larger flannel pieces make it easier to control the stretching.  Choose a pattern like Brick Work or Brick Road, for example.

6.  Use a large (60mm), sharp rotary blade.  This will make it easier to cut through the layers of flannel.

7.  Increase the stitch length to 2.5 or 3 (10-12 stitches per inch).  A shorter stitch length tends to stretch the flannel and embed in the flannel’s loose weave making it much harder to rip out seams.

8.  Press carefully to avoid stretching pieces out of shape.  Do not use steam when pressing flannel.

9.  Be sure to clean your machine often!  Flannel leaves a lot of lint behind.

10.  Use low-loft batting.  Flannel is heavier and warmer than quilter’s cotton.

11.  If machine quilting, increase stitch length.  For hand quilting, use perle cotton and utility quilting stitch.

12.  Cut French-fold binding 2 1/2″ wide.  Flannel fabrics are heavier than quilter’s cottons, so you will need a slightly wider binding in order to have enough fabric to fold over the quilt edges.

13.  Start with a new needle when sewing flannel.

Download these quilting tips for handy reference!

Have you used flannels in your quilting? If so, be sure to share a photo with us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook by adding hashtag #myKQ!

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2 thoughts on “Tips for Quilting With Flannel

  1. Wonderful info…my flannel quilt has died… baby quilt went into them wash machine too many times. I asked if she was going to machine wash or not…she put in onto the bed first thing and we all know what happened the first thing…oh, well. Now I know better!
    Another hint[or maybe hints] I keep all the catalogs, if I am making a particular quilt, I copy off the front page and inside pages that refer pattern and catalog…can find the catalog quickly. If I am using a clear plastic box, I can put the papers into a clear plastic sheet cover tape to the front or put int inside the box so that it can be seen. If stacking then the quilters aide comes to my aide…masking tape with a brief note on the side facing the outside…the new blue tape is best…with no or little residue left behind.

  2. i am having trouble hand quilting this flannel baby blanket, front and back are flannel with quilters cotton in between.
    my problems are 1. when pulling the knot thru to start made a big hole.
    2. you cant see the thread
    3. do i need to use a larger needle? (like a darning needle)


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