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Tips for Quilting with Flannel by Jean Ann Wright

It's Flannel Season, so we think it's the perfect time for a quick primer on how to quilt with flannels successfully. Here to offer some of her best tips is designer Jean Ann Wright. To learn more about Jean, visit

  • Select flannels manufactured especially for quilting. They usually have a tighter weave than flannels produced for sleepwear and other end uses.
  • Pre-wash your flannels - they will shrink! To safely calculate your yardage for a project, base your cutting plans on a yard reducing to 33", and the width (from selvedge to selvedge) reducing to 40".
  • After pre-washing, flannels will be soft and wrinkled. Use a heavy duty spray starch or fabric sizing as you press your flannels to restore them to a crisp, firm fabric for sewing.
  • Flannels sew up into bulky seams. Avoid quilt patterns with triangles, and keep the number of small pieces to a minimum as well. Look for a quilt pattern with large squares and rectangles; there are hundreds to choose from online, and in books and magazines.
  • Machine quilting is recommended for flannel quilts. The fabrics are heavier and difficult to stitch through by hand.
  • Cotton batting in a medium or low loft weight works best in a flannel quilt. Wool batting also works well and will add extra warmth.
  • Flannel fabrics make the best backing fabric for a flannel quilt.
  • Another backing option for flannel quilts is fleece, which eliminates the need for the batting altogether as the loft of the fleece acts as both batting and backing.