Valori Wells’ Urban Flannel … and Some Flannel Talk

Valori Wells‘ new collection is Urban Flannel — I assume it’s from FreeSpirit, if so it’s not on their website yet. See the entire collection on Valori’s blog here. It’s being released at Quilt Market; I’ll get an ETA for the shops this weekend.

That reminds me — in response to the giveaway, Tiff from Three Peas asked After washing flannel before my project they tend to come out pilled. It just doesn’t look nice. How do I wash it and still keep it looking nice?

and Susan asked, “What is the difference between flannel and ‘quilter’s flannel’?”

Anyone have any ideas? It sounds like fabric quality issue — the flannel that U.S. chain stores sell tends to be of poor quality — maybe it’s a looser weave? Or looser yarn? — so the brushed nap deteriorates faster. “Quilter’s flannel” is likely of higher quality, suitable for the rigors of a typical quilt’s life. But can you make a quilt from even high-quality flannel and expect it to be heirloom-quality? That I don’t know.

What good is a fabric used mostly for baby items, men’s shirts, and PJs if you can’t machine-wash the hell out of it? Tiff, I hate to think of you having to hand-wash flannel with mild soap — I would try some of the higher-end flannel and compare results before troubleshooting your laundry routine.

Related: Progressive shrinkage of flannel on the Superbuzzy Blog.


  1. shannon says:

    I’m totally sold on buying higher quality (more expensive) flannel. When my son was born lots of friends and family made us flannel baby blankets and two of them stand out in my mind. One became pilled and not so soft after a few washings and the other stayed super soft with no pilling. I know that the one that pilled, the fabric was bought at a chain store and the other was probably purchased at a local quilt shop. I think it is worth it to spend a few extra bucks when giving a flannel blanket as a gift.

  2. tini says:

    oh the prints are so so cute!

  3. hillary says:

    I make a lot of baby things out of flannel (cloth diapers and cloth wipes, mostly). Lower quality flannel definitely pills more and looks fuzzier after washing. The good news is that even lower quality flannel (usually the cheaper stuff but not always) eventually becomes pill-free and butter-soft…you just have to wash it about 10,000 times.

  4. Christy says:

    The flannel that I have bought at local quilt shops is usually thicker, more dense. I prefer sewing with it, and it washes up nicer. I agree that it is most likely a quality issue. BUT, good topic to bring up.

  5. BethieB says:

    Holy cow, I need all four of those fabrics that have pink in them – the very first one, and then all three in the vertical middle row. Pink flannel elephants with flowers and stripes would be the perfect quilt for my baby girl!

    I didn’t know until reading this that there was a difference in any kind of flannel, I thought it was all the same. I just made my sister some baby blankets out of flannel from Wal-Mart so it was more than likely the cheap kind, ugh…I wish I would have done some more research now, darn it. She only washes in cold water so maybe that will prevent some of the wear and tear…oh well, live and learn I guess. Thanks for the information guys! Next time I will sooo know better. :0)

  6. [...] (5) Kim of True Up blog gives us a preview of Valori Wells’ new Urban Flannel line. [...]

  7. christine says:

    it’s all about quality… the cheaper, fabric store flannels pil, colours run, and they are thin. quilters flannels are tighter weave with bright/deep colours that don’t run. and no pilling! i always buy quilters flannels. worth every penny.

  8. I just wasted hours of time and tons of money. I sew baby blankets and I also tie-dye. I got this great idea to tie-dye the baby blankets that I sew. The thing with tie-dye is that you have to wash and rinse the fabric in hot water and several times to get the dye color fast. (I use very expensive dye and material so the patterns are bright and colorful)….However, I bought massive yardage of white flannel that was on sale and did the whole tie-dye deal…I CANNOT use one single blanket. It looks like a sheep threw-up on all of them. There is so much lint and pill…I tried to lint roll one of them. It took me about an hour and an entire lint roller. I will never tie-dye cheap flannel again. I wasted over $100 and about 18 hours of my time..I am soooo mad!!!!