6) Buy more: to account for large shrinkage, purchase up to 1/4 yard more than what you need it for. Better be on the safe side. It also pays off to buy more because your edges may fray extensively and you need to cut an inch or so off.
7) Prewashing: does flannel shrink when washed? Yes! So, how to wash flannel? To prevent shrinkage you want to always buy a bit more Flannel and prewash and dry it prior to cutting. Unfold the material and place into washer loosely. To prevent the edges from fraying too much you can use a lingerie bag or a larger pillowcase which can be closed with a safety pin. Wash dark/color saturated Flannel separately to prevent bleeding. Use mild detergent and no bleach.
8) Drying: dry your Flannel at the highest setting to really get it shrunk so your finished project won’t. Adding a large bath towel to the dryer will help keep the yardage from twisting and creating unwanted creases and wrinkles. Don’t over dry though!
9) Pressing: Don’t iron! Press your Flannel! Pressing is when you lift and hold the iron in place for a couple seconds. If you iron Flannel you might stretch it too much. Pressing before starting your project is a must to achieve a great result.
10) Cutting Flannel: use sharp fabric scissors or if you are using a rotary cutter, use a larger blade (2″ in diameter) to make cutting through layers easier if working with quilt squares.
11) Spray Starch: because Flannel stretches a bit and may slide easily, it may become hard to sew. Apply a few squirts of Best Press that will make working with flannel a lot easier.
12) Sewing machine needle: Always start a new project with a new needle size 12/80 as it will be much easier to sew through thicker material. For larger projects you may even want to switch needles.
13) Stitch length: using a stitch length of 3 will result in the best possible seam as a shorter stitch could stretch Flannel and it’s easier if you have to pick the seams open in case of an error.
14) Caring for your finished project: to make your hand made Flannel project last a long time you want to wash it in cold or warm water with little (mild) detergent. Darker or colorful items can be washed with a specific color safe detergent. You can fabric softener but no bleach. Press out wrinkles if necessary.
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