Flannel Fabric: History, Properties, Use, Care, Where to Buy

Introduction to Flannel Fabric

Flannel fabric is a delicate and soft fabric perfect for keeping you warm and cozy during the winter. The fabric is usually constructed with different colors and sewing patterns on it. Flannel fabric is mostly used in the winter due to its insulating nature..

The fabric structure comprises a napped finish on one or both sides, depending on the design. The fabric has a napped finish, determined by how it was brushed and spun.

KEY TAKEAWAY

  • Flannel fabric has a rich history dating back to the 17th century and was originally made of wool, but later became more commonly made of cotton and silk.
  • Flannel fabric is made through a series of methods and processes, starting with acquiring raw materials and spinning the yarn. It is then woven in a twill or plain weave and napped to give it a soft, unspun feel.
  • Flannel fabric is commonly used for daily wear, men’s and women’s accessories, internal applications like cushion covers and bed sheets, sewing projects, quilting, and dyeing. It requires special care during washing and ironing. Flannel fabric can be purchased at fabric and garment shops, as well as online retailers like Amazon.
red buffalo flannel seamsecrets.com

What is the History of Flannel Fabric?

Flannel production has been going on since the 17th century, and it is most likely Welsh in origin. Flannel was originally made of wool, but it was more commonly made of cotton and silk towards the end of the twentieth century. 

The fabric was particularly popular in France and other European countries during the Enlightenment period. However, its popularity has waned throughout time. The softest and luscious flannel is made entirely of cotton, making it even cozier and more sumptuous.

Properties of Flannel Fabric

  • High ability to retain heat
  • Is breathable
  • It is soft and smooth
  • Has a high weight
  • Pile is of very high quality and density

How is Flannel Fabric Made?

Flannel fabric is made from a series of methods and processes. Flannel begins with the acquisition of raw materials. This material can be made of wool, cotton, or synthetic materials, depending on the final product’s intended use. Flannel can’t be made with finer fabrics like silk.

Once the fabric’s yarn is created, it is spun similarly to conventional fibers. Some adjustments may be made for yarn designed for use in flannel, although the main distinctive markings of this fabric occur during the weaving phase.

It is usual for flannel to be woven in a twill or plain weave and then napped to hide the texture. Napping is used to give the fibers an unspun feel. Originally, the fibers are joined and stay together; however, after napping, they loosen up. This may make the cloth less durable.

Where is Flannel Fabric Made?

Flannel production varies based on the type of material used in the production process. Flannel is made of wool, cotton, and other synthetic materials. Hence, it may be produced in India, China, and Australia because each is a market leader in producing the mentioned materials.  

Using blends of these materials, e.g., the best wool fabric, cotton material, etc., designers and consumers worldwide can craft the best designs and apparel.

Common uses of Flannel Fabric

Flannel fabrics are used in various products and apparel. The soft and delicate fabric can be found in various things, ranging from clothes and apparel to house accessories.

Daily wear

A staple of the outdoor lifestyle, striped flannel button-downs have been re-created several times in various materials. Winter wear like jackets, and sweaters can also be made from flannel. At the same time, it can also be used for sportswear due to its moisture-wicking abilities, e.g., running shorts.

Men’s and Women’s accessories

It can be used to make belts for men’s wear, purses, handbags, and wallets for women’s wear.

Internal Applications

Flannel fabric is a material that can be utilized for home decorations. It can be used for cushion covers, bed sheets, and sofa covers. Thermal curtains can also be made using flannel.

Sewing with Flannel

Flannel isn’t like your regular quilting cotton and needs to be sewed with care. If you want to cut it, starch the flannel. It will be easier to line up the cloth without it shifting and pulling. Using fabric scissors won’t cut it.

The hand sewing needle should be a size 16, allowing the fabric to be pierced easily. You should use an all-purpose sewing thread that doesn’t easily shrink. This will allow the fabric to retain its shape.

Unlike most cotton fabrics, flannel is less forgiving when pulling apart seams because of its looser weave. It’s also a more fragile fabric; thus, using a seam ripper could result in a mistaken hole. Also, to prevent the flannel from fraying, interlock the seams.

Consequently, using the best sewing machines and the right sewing notions and supplies, the flannel fabric won’t be much of a hassle to sew.

Quilting with Flannel Fabric

  • Use poly-blend batting since it will keep the quilt from sliding and tangling up.
  • Flannel is a heavier fabric, so press the seams open to reduce mass.
  • Use quilting gloves or a walking foot to prevent the fabric from stretching.

Dyeing Flannel fabric

Flannel fabric can be dyed using Rit All-Purpose liquid dyes. A common practice is dying flannel shirts to make exquisite colors and styles to suit today’s trendy and young styles., satisfying customer color preferences and style.

How to Care for Flannel Fabric?

Flannel should be handled with care; otherwise, it may get damaged.

Washing

  • Use warm water to wash the fabric
  • Detergents with bleach should be avoided
  • The machine setting should be set to a gentle cycle
  • Fabric softeners can be used
  • It can be machine dried as well as hung to dry.

Ironing

  • The fabric must be damp to prevent damaging it
  • Using a shark steam iron, press the fabric on the wrong side
  • Use a low heat setting and a press cloth

Where to buy Flannel Fabric ?

Flannel fabric can be bought at fabric and garment shops. Customers can also buy it through online retailers and websites like https://amzn.to/4b6kxLB and Amazon, which have the best flannel fabrics available—ranging from the simple FWD Cotton Flannel Fabric to the textured Maywood Studio Woolies Flannel Colors Assortment.

It can be sold in several ways depending on the seller;

  • By yard
  • By Inches
  • Can be cut to order
5 Best Flannel Fabric Reviews
Whether you enjoy sewing as a hobby or you’re a professional seamstress who sells your crafts, there’s no doubt that you are aware of the fact that there are various types of fabrics to work with.

 

Each fabric has its purpose; for example, satin is perfect for material for making hand-crafted evening gowns or the border of quilts or blankets, while canvas & duck are well-suited for projects that require a sturdier material, such as outdoor curtains or seat cushions. But if you’re planning on crafting handmade apparel, bed linens, or anything else that requires a soft and comfortable, yet durable material, then chances are you’re going to want to have some flannel on hand.

Flannel is such a popular fabric (have you ever noticed how many flannel shirts there are in clothing stores and apparel departments?), which means that there are literally endless options to choose from. With so many choices, trying to select the best flannel material can seem like a daunting task. You want to make sure that you are purchasing something that is easy to work with, will wash well, and will hold up for a long time. But how can you determine which flannel fabric will meet that criteria when there are tons of choices to go through?

To help you on your quest for finding the best flannel fabric, we’ve done some pretty extensive research. After reading through a mountain of reviews and testing dozens of options ourselves, we’ve managed to narrow down the choices to what we consider to be the top 5 flannel fabrics.

Best Flannel Fabrics

ImageFlannel FabricRating
Maywood-Studio-Woolies-Flannel-Colors-Assortment 1. Maywood Studio Woolies Flannel Colors Assortment99%
Organic Cotton Lightweight Flannel Fabric Product Image 2. Organic Cotton Lightweight Flannel Fabric96%
Robert-Kaufman-Kaufman-Mammoth-Flannel-Buffalo-Plaid-Red-Fabric 3. Robert Kaufman Kaufman Mammoth Flannel Buffalo Plaid Red Fabric93%
FWD-Cotton-Flannel-Fabric 4. FWD Cotton Flannel Fabric89%
Chicago-Canvas-Black-Watch-Plaid-Flannel-Cotton-Fabric 5. Chicago Canvas Black Watch Plaid Flannel Cotton Fabric85%

1. Maywood Studio Woolies Flannel Colors Assortment by Bonnie Sullivan

Maywood Studio Woolies Flannel Colors Assortment Product Image

There’s nothing cozier than cuddling up underneath a hand-stitched quilt; except if that quilt is made out of flannel! If you’re looking for flannel quilting fabric, Maywood Studio Woolies Flannel Colors Assortment by Bonnie Sullivan is an option that you are definitely going to want to consider. You’ll receive a package of 42-pieces of flannel that has been cut into 10-inch squares; so essentially, it’s a package of pre-cut quilt squares. The fabric is made of 100 percent cotton and is extremely comfortable; it’s lightweight, yet durable. The squares come in an assortment of colors, such as dark blue, light blue, green, red, and purple. These would be perfect for making a patchwork quilt!

According to the reviews that we read, users are very pleased with this material. They said that it was super easy to work with; in fact, one customer noted that her quilting thread glided right through it. It also washes very well; it doesn’t bleed or shrink and it maintains the color very well. After a few washes, the fabric was just as vibrant as it was when we first received it. For quilters, this flannel fabric is an absolute must.

What We Like About It

  • 10-inch pre-cut quilting squares
  • Comes with 42 squares
  • Features an assortment of colors
  • 100 percent cotton
  • Washes well
  • Easy to work with

Reasons to Complain

None! We couldn’t find one thing to complain about! It really is an amazing flannel material!

Final Verdict: If you’re looking for a high-quality flannel fabric to turn into a quilt, you simply must check out Woodies Flannel Color Assortment by Bonnie Sullivan! It’s durable, comfortable, and easy to work with. With this fabric and some quilting batting, you’ll be able to make a lovely hand-stitched quilt.

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2. Organic Cotton Plus Organic Cotton Lightweight Flannel Fabric

Organic Cotton Lightweight Flannel Fabric Product Image

If you’re looking for a neutral, multi-purpose flannel fabric, Organic Cotton Plus’ Organic Cotton Lightweight Flannel Fabric is an excellent option! It’s an understated natural color that would work well for so many things; use it to make home décor (a table runner or as a drapery, perhaps); mix it with some chenille to make a soft baby blanket, or use combine it with a knit fabric to make a comfy shirt, for example. The options really are endless!

Made of 100 percent Certified Organic Cotton, you can have confidence knowing that you are using a material that hasn’t been exposed to harsh chemicals, or that hasn’t harmed the environment when it was made. It’s also easy to care for; machine wash on cool and tumble dry on a low setting. The total size of this flannel is 5 yards by 55 inches, so you’ll get a good bit of material to work with. According to the reviews that we read, customers are very happy with the product. They said that they loved how easy it was to cut and sew and that it holds up beautifully when laundered.

What We Like About It

  • 100 percent Certified Organic Cotton Flannel
  • Super soft
  • Easy to work with
  • Easy to care for; machine wash and tumble dry
  • Measures 5 yards by 55 inches

Reasons to Complain

  • Some customers did say that they experienced pilling after a few washings
  • Price is a bit high

Final Verdict: If you’re looking for a neutral-colored flannel material, then Organic Cotton Plus Lightweight Flannel Fabric is a good option. You get plenty of organic cotton flannel, but do be aware that the price is a little steep and you may experience some pilling.

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3. Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel Buffalo Plaid Red Fabric

Robert Kaufman Kaufman Mammoth Flannel Buffalo Plaid Red Fabric Product Image

If you’re aiming to create something that has a totally rustic look, the Robert Kaufman Kaufman Mammoth Flannel Buffalo Plaid Red Fabric is a perfect choice. It features a classic red and black buffalo plaid (think lumberjack) design that is perfect for a rustic flair. Turn it into a flannel shirt with some denim and chambray elbow patches and you’ll look like you’re ready to hit the woods for a hunting trip. You could also use it to create a super cute layette for a baby or pair use some black or red quilting thread to make a beautiful quilt for your bed.

The flannel fabric is made of 100 percent cotton, so it’s not just soft, it’s also durable. Caring for it is easy; machine wash on a cold setting and tumble dry on low. It’s double-napped, which means that it’s brushed on both sides and will feel amazing against your skin. It’s sold by the yard and cut to order, and the width is 45 inches. All of the reviews that customers shared were very positive; users said that they were very pleased with the style, quality, and look of this flannel.

What We Like About It

  • The awesome red and black buffalo plaid pattern
  • Made of 100 percent cotton
  • Double napped for supreme softness
  • Sold by the yard and cut to order
  • It’s very economically priced
  • Easy care

Reasons to Complain

  • It does fade a bit after several washings

Final Verdict: Robert Kaufman Kaufman Mammoth Flannel Buffalo Plaid will add the perfect touch of rustic to whatever it is that you’re making. Since it’s sold by the yard and cut to order, you can the perfect amount for your needs. The softness is beyond compare, too!

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4. FWD Cotton Flannel Fabric

FWD Cotton Flannel Fabric Product Image

For a truly affordable, yet super soft and durable material, this Cotton Flannel Fabric from FWD is a great choice. The price really can’t be beaten; in fact, it’s one of the most affordable options on our list. It’s made of 100 percent cotton and is super soft and warm. It’s also available in an array of colors, including white, forest green, burgundy, charcoal, green, light blue, natural, pink, and rust.

This flannel is 45 inches wide and it’s cut sold by the yard and cut to order. Most of the reviews that we read were positive; however, some users said that the colors are different than they appear online. But, most customers said that they were very pleased.

What We Like About It

  • Made of 100 percent cotton
  • Sold by the yard and cut to order
  • Machine washable
  • Available in an array of colors
  • Super soft
  • Affordable price tag

Reasons to Complain

  • Colors may be different in person than they appear online

Final Verdict: Overall, this FWD Cotton Flannel Fabric is a good quality product. It’s soft, affordable, and sold by the yard; and since there are a variety of colors to choose from, you’re sure to find something to suit your needs.

 

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5. Chicago Canvas Black Watch Plaid Flannel Cotton Fabric

Chicago Canvas Black Watch Plaid Flannel Cotton Fabric Product Image

Last up on our list of the best flannel fabric is a Black Watch Plaid Flannel Cotton Fabric from Chicago Canvas. It features a plaid pattern in dark green and navy blue color that almost resembles a tartan design. Like all of the other flannel fabrics on our list, this one is also made of 100 percent cotton and is double-napped for exceptional softness. The width is 56 inches, so it’s a bit wider than the other options we’ve featured, and it’s sold as a 5-yard bolt.

Caring for the material is just as easy as the other fabrics on our list; it’s machine washable and can be tumbled dry. This fabric would look awesome paired with leather and suede, or even faux leather, as well as classic denim or chambray. Every customer review was positive. Users said that it was super soft and very easy to sew; you should have no problem sewing a seam into this fabric at all.

What We Like About It

  • The tartan-like plaid design
  • Made of 100 percent cotton
  • 56 inches wide, so it’s a bit wider than standard flannel fabrics
  • Super soft
  • Easy to care for
  • Easy to work with

Reasons to Complain

  • It only comes in a 5-yard bolt, which may be too much if you don’t need a lot of fabric

Final Verdict: Overall, we were very impressed with the Chicago Canvas Black Watch Plaid Flannel Cotton Fabric. It features an awesome pattern, is double-napped for supreme softness, and it’s easy to work with and care for. It’s also a little wider than the other fabrics on our list.

 

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The Best Flannel Fabric: A Buyer’s Guide

It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice sewer who is learning the trade with the guidance of a sewing help book or a wiz behind the sewing machine; if you work with a needle and thread, there are a few sewing essentials that you’re going to need to have in your sewing room, and sewing fabric is at the top of the list.

While there are literally dozens of different types of fabric that you could work with, flannel is an absolute must-have. It’s soft, cozy, easy to work with, and can be used to create so many amazing hand-crafted items. If you’ve never purchased flannel fabric before, trying to select the right option can seem like a pretty overwhelming task. Walk into a fabric store and you will find an endless supply of options; from pre-cut squares to bolts, there are just so many different flannels out there.

To help make the process of buying flannel fabric a bit easier for you, we’ve put together this buyer’s guide. In it, you’ll find out why you need the best flannel in their sewing room, what factors you should look for when selecting a flannel material, and some suggestions for projects you could make out of this fabric.

Why You Need the Best Flannel Fabric

It goes without saying that no matter what material it is that you are working with, you’re going to want the best of the best; flannel is no exception. If you’re using a subpar flannel that’s thin, flimsy, and pills easily or can’t be machine washed, you’re going to end up having problems on your hands. It doesn’t matter how masterful your sewing skills are, if you’re working with poor-quality fabric, the final product is going to be marred. Whatever it is that you’re making – be it a quilt, a shirt, draperies, a table covering, or the various other items that you could make out of flannel – you want to create a piece that will last a long time.

When you work with a premium quality flannel fabric, you’ll definitely notice a difference. Your handiwork will last a whole lot longer, and you’ll get way more compliments, to boot! If you’re working with flannel, don’t settle for anything but a premium quality fabric.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Flannel Fabric

In order to find the best quality fabric, there are a number of factors that you’re going to want to take into consideration. When you’re shopping, keep the following in mind so you can find a material that you can count on to suit your needs.

  • The construction. A poorly constructed flannel fabric isn’t going to last a long time. In fact, after washing a low-grade flannel just once, you’ll notice a definite difference in the look and feel. Make sure that you are choosing a fabric that’s thick and doesn’t give too much, otherwise, you’ll be in for some sewing woes.
  • The texture. Flannel is so popular because it’s so soft and warm, or at least it’s supposed to be. However, you’ll find that poorly made flannels aren’t as soft and warm as flannel should be; they will likely feel scratchy, and that’s the last thing you want. Double-napped flannels are the softest of them all, as both sides feature the softness that the fabric is so famous for.
  • The size. Of course, you’ll also want to choose a size that will work for your needs. You want to have enough material to complete your project with a little room to spare in case any mistakes arise.
  • What you’re using it for. How do you intend on using your flannel fabric? If you’re going to be making a quilt, pre-cut flannel squares are a great choice, as you won’t have to worry about the tedious task of cutting them yourself. If you’re going to be making a shirt, a solid blanket, or draperies, for example, then you should consider a fabric that is sold by the yard.

Flannel Project Ideas

Not sure what to make with flannel fabric? Here are a few ideas for inspiration:

  • Bedding, including pillowcases, sheets, and blankets or quilts
  • Pajamas
  • Shirts
  • Table runners
  • Hand warmers
  • Headbands
  • Cup cozies
  • Scarves
  • Handbags
  • Sachets
  • Cases for sunglasses, tablets, or smartphones

There are so many different things that you could make with flannel; the only limit is your imagination!

Summing It Up

If you’re planning on sewing with flannel, don’t settle for anything less than a high-quality material. You want a soft, durable fabric that is easy to work with and easy to care for. Choose any of the fabrics listed in our review and your projects will be sure to retain their beauty for years to come.

Sources:

MyBluePrint.com

Amy Butler Design

Sewing Ideas EU

Conclusion

Flannel fabric has been around for a long time, having a wide range of uses ranging from clothing and apparel to home décor. The fabric has sustained its use for decades and continues to do so.

Sources

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