Jan 222016

When you think of flannels, what comes to mind? The most common answers would be cowboys from the Old West and those hunky carpenters on HGTV.  Flannel fabric comes in plaids as well as other designs (think baby prints).  Since Linda’s passion is recycling, the most common finds are flannel shirts and left-over flannel fabric from a sewing project.

Men who wear flannel shirts seem to like wearing them until they are almost ready to fall apart.  That makes the material extremely soft but not very durable when making something else out of them.

Before sewing anything, the shirts have to be cut up.  Everything is saved, even the seams.  The seams can be used for embellishing other crafts, making bracelets, and by braiding to make handles for bags or purses.  The cuffs are good for embellishing with lace, bling, or buttons to make bracelts.  Usually the sleeves are big enough to make a stuffed animal.  Pockets are especially useful in attaching to the outsides of bags.  Linda prefers to mix up the colors when attaching pockets.  For example, a red pocket on a blue plaid fabric.

A good beginning project with flannel is making a pillow.  Since the flannel can be fragile, a second layer of fabric below the flannel is needed.  If there are holes in the flannel, these can be covered with buttons or patched with a contrasting fabric.  Since flannel is a more informal material, a rustic touch to the pillow can be effective.

Flannel is good for making bags and pillows.  These usually fall into a more or less bohemian category.  The pieces of flannel from shirts is sewn together in whatever way the sewer prefers.  Of course, when making a bag, it must be lined preferably with a tightly woven fabric that will hold up to the weight.  When she made a purse, the type of fabric for the lining wasn’t as critical.

Small stuffed animals are cute in flannel.  If stuffing tightly, an iron-on fabric reinforcer may be needed.  Flannel is especially cute in making dogs, elephants, and cats.  If baby flannel prints are available, these can be used instead of the plaids.  Giraffes are fun to make out of baby prints as a present for a newborn.  On stuffed animals for babies, it is important to emphasize that buttons should not be used on them.  Eyes and other facial features will need to be embroideried on them.

Pinterest has shown many fabric bracelets made out of a variety of fabric.  The flannel cuffs lend themselves perfectly to this.  Embellishments of all kinds can be used.  Many people have a large supply of old jewelry such as brooches, earrings, and necklaces which is easily translated to the fabric bracelet.  Linda likes to also use lace, ric-rac, beads, sequins and whatever comes her way that can be sewn.  Although many things can be glued onto fabric, for the embellishments to really stay put, they must be sewn, and usually by hand.  It would be a shame to put so much time into making a bracelet only to have something fall off the first time it is worn.

Table runners are very fun to make.  They are usually 8 to 12 inches wide and long enough to drape over both ends of a table.  Sometimes these are made bigger and used on a bed (the last hotel Linda stayed in had these, but they were not made of flannel).  For Christmas, a table runner made in various plaid with red is very festive.  The flannel is cut for the width that is needed.  For the length, the pieces of flannel can be narrow, wide, or random.  As you might be able to guess, Linda likes random lengths which makes it more unpredictable.  As with other flannel projects, a lining is needed.  Many people would also quilt the table runner. Linda almost always embellishes table runners with lace and buttons at each end.

Other projects to explore can include making earrings, quilts, and even bowls.  The possibilities never end.,

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