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Flannel Fraying Fear

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    Flannel Fraying Fear

    I’m a brand new grandma to the sweetest grand daughter ever and I want to make her what might be considered a quilt. It won’t be large and I want it to be huggable, draggable and drool-able….in other words, it won’t be a display piece but a utilitarian piece.

    My thought was to make alternating 9 patch smallish blocks, alternating with a plain block. On the plain block I want to applique a simple daisy. Around the quilt border, I want to applique a vine with the same daisies on it.

    Here’s the rub: I want to use pastel print flannel and I do NOT want to quilt it. I don’t plan on using batting but only flannel for the top and either flannel or minkie for the backing. Instead of quilting it, I plan on tying it with yarn through the center of the daisy. I do not plan on tying the 9 patch blocks.

    Will this work? I’m most concerned about the flannel fraying because of use. Should I sew it as I would using cotton but should I reinforce the seam allowances using a zig zag to stop fraying?

    #2
    Re: Flannel Fraying Fear

    Having made a few flannel quilts, the first thing I would recommend is to increase your seam width.

    Most quilt patterns have us use a 1/4" seam allowance, but with flannel that does tend to fray, and also shrinks a lot more than regular cotton fabric - which puts additional stress on the seams in my opinion, I have learned the hard way... I now use a 1/2 inch seam allowance when piecing flannel. I know that sounds like overkill, but again IMO, baby/toddler quilts get washed and abused a lot more than an adult quilt.

    I would also recommend that you reconsider your plan to not quilt it. A simple machine quilting straight lines around the 9 patches will give it more stability and help hold the quilt together. But I would keep the idea of tying the center of the flowers, I think that would be so cute (kinda like the pistil of a flower).

    For your backing choice, keep in mind Minkie does not shrink, but flannel does (much more than regular cotton too), so with the first wash the top will shrink, if you use minkie the backing won't, that could make the quilt look wonky afterwards.

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      #3
      Re: Flannel Fraying Fear

      I have to agree with Caroline's points. If the flannel is not a precut, I would wash and it won't shrink that much again on future washes. I have done flannel backs and flannel pieced tops for babies. I used a smaller stitch 2.0 instead of my usual 2.5.mi have never had a seam come apart. I would also suggest that you add some quilting, the quilt top and bottom will move around independently and will end up looking skewed.

      Congrats on the new grandaughter and welcome to the forum.

      Enjoy life and do what makes you happy. Everything else will follow.

      Every day I try to do one thing that challenges my comfort zone.

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        #4
        Re: Flannel Fraying Fear

        I’m a pre-washer so I’m not too concerned about shrinkage. Fantastic ideas on widening the seam allowance and reducing the stitch---I hadn’t though of either of those!! And, now that you’ve pointed it out, I agree—a bit of quilting is needed around the nine patch blocks. I knew deep down inside that something was needed but I just needed to hear it.

        Thank you both so much! Forums are wonderful things!

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          #5
          Re: Flannel Fraying Fear

          My MIL made all her quilts with no batting or quilting. Some are going on 40 yrs when she gave some to my stepkids. All the kids in this huge family got one or more. I agree on a bigger seam too.
          🌺 Lorie

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            #6
            Re: Flannel Fraying Fear

            Congratulations . You are in for a sweet sweet time. I was visiting mine this holiday season, and found a non quilted, flannel backed “quilt” made by one of my daughters friends so useful for tummy time and play. It did need to be washed a lot, so those bigger seams and smaller stitches make sense. This wasn’t tied, it was made like a self binding receiving blanket, but front was patchwork. I am keeping it in mind for gifts, as it was more useful than the more elaborate quilt I made her.

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              #7
              Re: Flannel Fraying Fear

              Congratulations on your new sweetie pie! You got some good advice here. I would add that you should do a short backstitch at the start and end of your flannel blocks when you sew them together. I wpuld prewash the flannel if you haven't cut it up yet, then iron before cutting the blocks. Please show us a pic after you have the top together. Your plan sounds really cute. If you are doing the applique by hand buy a pkg of hand applique needles, they are a bit longer and thinner but makes the sewing easier to do.

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Flannel Fraying Fear

                Just an FYI, JoAnns new flannel doesn't shrink or fade, and it's softer than the other they carried.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Flannel Fraying Fear

                  Congratulations on the new grandbaby and welcome to the forum! You've already gotten any advice I'd could add.
                  Katrina


                  “Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”
                  ― Maya Angelou

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                    #10
                    Re: Flannel Fraying Fear

                    I agree. People that quilt inherently want to make them beautiful but I've always found that the nicer the quilt, the less it's used. For this same grand daughter, before she was born, I made an adorable quilt with faux suede puppy dog appliques on 6 different blocks. The dang thing took me 6 weeks to make working hours each day on it. I know she'll never use it but it looks fabulous on DISPLAY but she'll never snuggle up with it. This quilt will be different.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: Flannel Fraying Fear

                      Originally posted by jjkaiser View Post
                      Congratulations on your new sweetie pie! You got some good advice here. I would add that you should do a short backstitch at the start and end of your flannel blocks when you sew them together. I wpuld prewash the flannel if you haven't cut it up yet, then iron before cutting the blocks. Please show us a pic after you have the top together. Your plan sounds really cute. If you are doing the applique by hand buy a pkg of hand applique needles, they are a bit longer and thinner but makes the sewing easier to do.
                      I'm buying the fabric on Friday. When I'm not following a specific pattern, I tend to take several days to plot it all out. And I'm a pre-washer/ironer of all my fabrics. For the applique, I plan on using the blanket stitch on my machine. It took a lot of practice but I've just about perfected it.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: Flannel Fraying Fear

                        I’ve developed an overall fear of my quilts falling apart and I’d like to share the story with you all.

                        I’ll be 66 in March and one of my sisters is 86 (yes, it’s true) and she lives about 1200 miles from me. I decided to make her a quilt and it turned out beautiful.…..except for that marking pen that’s supposed to wash out but didn’t. I wash my quilts when they’re done and before I send them off and, unfortunately, I didn’t notice that the washable markings didn’t wash out so I threw it in the dryer and that really set them.

                        I re-washed, scrubbed lightly with a toothbrush, used pre-wash, let it soak, tried hair spray and re-washed and re-washed and re-washed and re-washed. Then on the last wash, I dragged it out of the washer one last time and I was horrified to see that about 1/3 of it was completely shredded. I’m assuming that pulling and tugging when it was wet and heavy from the washer and then lightly scrubbing the markings so many times weakened the fabric.

                        So I started the arduous task of deconstructing it and replacing the pieces that frayed. I was about 8 hours into it when I burst into tears, put my head on the quilt and just sobbed. And then I heard my adored (and long deceased) Mom whisper it my ear “Don’t cry, sweetheart. Stick with it.” And so I did. Many, many hours later, it was redone with no markings and sturdy as could be.

                        My sister adores that quilt and drags into her house every person that walks down her street to show them. All in all, it was a surreal and magical experience.

                        But not one I want to go through again!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: Flannel Fraying Fear

                          Originally posted by Nwmnteacher View Post
                          Just an FYI, JoAnns new flannel doesn't shrink or fade, and it's softer than the other they carried.
                          That's PERFECT! JoAnn's is the exact place I'm getting the fabric at on Friday! And my JoAnns has a huge selection.
                          Last edited by Libits; January 8th, 2020, 09:07 PM.

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