How to Identify & Enjoy Top-Quality Flannel Fabric

Who is not a fan of flannel patterns? These arrangements of intersecting lines and complementing colors are not just for rugged mountain men. They have become entrenched in the mainstream. All kinds of people now use it for day-to-day clothing, as well as for quilting.

Finding a wide range of extraordinary examples for the former is easy. With that said, flannel is not really a word for a pattern. It is a fabric — and finding high-quality flannel fabric may not always be as easy. With that said, that effort is definitely worth your while. If you plan to quilt with this material, we can show you how to pick out only the good stuff.

Why High-Quality Fabric?

We doubt anyone would ever disagree with the notion that good quality is preferable to poor quality. Even so, some may not consider it as high a priority as cost, aesthetic, and other factors. We will not tell you how you should shop, but we will describe some benefits to shelling out for the good stuff.

Longer-Lasting Creations

When you take the time and expend the effort to make something from fabric, you want it to last. Low-quality fabric will come apart before long, especially if you dare to use whatever you make from it. Quilts made from the good stuff can prove so enduring that they may become family heirlooms.

On top of that, high-quality flannel fabric can actually feel better over time. The important factor here is thread count — the number of cross-sectioning threads in each square inch. Fabric with high thread counts are softer to the touch, and they only get softer and comfier over time.

Dyes That Do Not Run

Anything made from fabric will need to be cleaned at some point. You will want to make sure that it will look the same after washing as it did before. Unfortunately, many low-quality fabric products use cheap dye. They may run in the wash, ruining the item’s appearance and staining other clothes in the process.

On the plus side, high-quality flannel fabric uses much better dye. The colors do not just look strong — they are strong. You can put them through laundry cycles for a long time, with little to no running or fading. Just make sure to follow the practices recommended in the tag.

Less Shrinkage

Another risk that flannel fabrics face on laundry day is shrinkage. The cotton and wool fibers used to make the material are vulnerable to changing size, particularly when washed with hot water. Quilt shrinkage may not sound as awful as clothing shrinkage, but it can wreak havoc on the visual design.

Shrinkage can become less of a concern if you employ the right materials. Fabric makers have developed processes and treatments that help fabrics retain their shape and size better. They may be a bit on the higher end of the price range, but minimizing this risk may be worth the price.

No Prewashing Required

One way to avoid the heartache of shrinkage is to get it over with before you use the fabric even once. Prewashing has its proponents, but its detractors make fair points. Namely, the process often leaves you with a distorted material that has lost its finish and already feels worn.

Fortunately, prewashing quilt shop-quality fabric is not as necessary. The manufacturer may have even prewashed it before sending it out for retail. It retains that feeling of newness for longer and holds up better over time. You can still prewash it just in case, of course, but anyone who wants to get started can skip that step without much consequence.

Tips for Spotting High-Quality Fabric

Understanding the value of high-quality flannel fabric may be easier than learning how to find it. Any single shop will offer thousands of yards’ worth of different products. How can you tell which ones are better than others? The following advice can help you make quick and good decisions.

Feel the Weight

Sometimes, you just need to trust your senses. Cheap, low-quality flannel fabric is lightweight material. With just one touch, you can see how it would disintegrate after relatively few washes. In contrast, flannel of better quality is noticeably heftier.

Why does more weight amount to better quality? It is less about the weight itself and more about density. If it feels thick and fuzzy, then the weave is less likely to come apart after only a little use and a few laundry cycles.

Stack Fewer Layers for Rotary Cutting

Flannel is considered one of the thicker fabrics out there. Even the thinner and flimsier samples may be thicker than samples made from other materials. This can present a complication for rotary cutting. Flannel is more likely to shift, which may annoy people who are accustomed to stacking multiple layers at a time.

The solution is simple: use fewer layers in the rotary cutting process. It may take a little longer, but it will go much more smoothly and produce better results. We include this tip here so you can try flannel fabrics of different thickness and see which ones best suit your style.

Try Precut 10” Squares

If cutting seems to take too long with flannel, another option is available. You can find plenty of fantastic fabrics in the form of 10” squares, precut for your convenience and pleasure. They save you time, allowing you to jump into your project right away.

Greater still, precut flannel squares do not even necessarily cost that much more for the additional labor. Plenty of packets provide a wider assortment of fabrics and designs at a better cost than getting them separately. Fans of ragtime quilts in particular should give them a try.

Find Reliable Brands

Even with all this advice at your disposal, you may still come across some duds. The risk of disappointment is part of shopping in general. However, it does not need to be like this. Some brands are committed to offering only the highest quality.

One great example is Maywood Studio. Their Shadow Play Flannel line is popular for a reason, and their Woolies comprise an even larger array of products. Another high-quality purveyor worth checking out is Holly Taylor Flannel. Their creations feature artwork that takes flannel fabric beyond the stereotypical flannel patterns.

Top-Quality Flannel Fabric at Hingeley Road Quilt Shop

Here at Hingeley Road Quilt Shop, we enjoy quilting with flannel fabric. However, we do not just use any ordinary fabric, and neither do our customers. That is why we are committed to providing only the best products, and a huge range of them. When you shop with us, you can shop with confidence.

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