Tuesday Tip: What’s the Difference between Flannelette and Flannel?

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between flannelette and flannel? To many of us, the terms are used interchangeably. However, within the quilt shop, we distinguish the two into three basic types of cotton fabrics. Here’s the definition for each:

1. Flannel – This is a cotton woven fabric that is brushed (to make is soft and fuzzy) on one or both sides. It comes off a bolt at about $17.98 (Cdn.) per metre and is often called quilter’s flannel. Since it’s printed on finer cotton wovens before napping, prints can be more detailed. It can be used to make shirts, sleepwear and quilts. The right side of flannel feels sueded and the back side may or may not be napped. Examples of flannel:  Woolies Flannel by Maywood Studio and Moda’s Wool and Needle Collections. The recent Farmhouse Flannels are of exceptional good quality “flannel”.

2. Yarn Dyed Flannel – Made with flannelled (fuzzy) multicoloured yarns in plaids, ginghams or stripes. Yarn Dyed Flannel usually has a lower fuzz-factor than flanelette making it more suitable for shirts, lounge pants, sheets and jacket linings. Sometimes, they are called “homespuns”. Many country and/or primitive styled quilts use yarn-dyed flannel for piecing and appliqué. Yarn Dyed fabric can be used to make lovely rag quilts because it frays nicely.

3.  Flannelette (or Flette in the trade) – Woven with flannelled yarns. This is the “low-end” soft and fuzzy flannel and sells for about $10 per metre. It is very practical and affordable for pyjamas, pillowcases, rag quilts, diapers and sheets. Flannelette is very basic fabric and serves a purpose for utilitarian projects. However, a quilt with flannelette will not hold up to everyday use and washing like a true flannel. Flannelette in a quilt will never last to become an heirloom; it is not designed to.

Hope this helps clarify the terminology for you as you select those soft fabrics for your fall and winter quilting.

Happy stitching!

Tuesday Tip….Wool Snippets

We have just received a shipment of 2 1/2″ Wool Snippets. These lovely curated packets contain 10 pieces of wool cut into 2 1/2″ squares. Each packet has a variety of colours amongst the little squares that are just right for leaves, flowers, petals, stems, houses, animals and more.

So what exactly can you do with these wool packets? Look at these two lovely patterns from Front Porch Quilts:


These little pieces are very convenient to use for wool appliqué. Our store also has a big selection of wool thread to accompany your wool appliqué project. Some stitchers also like using DMC cotton floss to appliqué their wool onto a background fabric.

To achieve a real primitive look to a project, wool is perfect. It doesn’t really fray at all and with a blanket stitch around the edges, wool pieces can be beautifully appliquéd. More and more patterns are coming from designers who adore creating projects with wool.

Here are a few project suggestions to create with little pieces of wool:

Stacey West of Buttermilk Basin is big into wool appliqué and we can special order any of her books or patterns if you request them. Click on her name above to view her designs.

Lisa Bonegean of Primitive Gatherings also designs fabrics for Moda and has many patterns for cotton fabrics and/or wool appliqué. Click on her name above to view her designs.

Wool pieces can be applied to a background using a fusible web such as Steam a SeamHeat n’ Bond or freezer paper. Once a small piece of wool fused into place, then a hand blanket stitch around the edges and detail embroidery can be added in order to make a project delightful and worthy of display in your home or to give as a gift. During the summer months ahead many stitchers relax and stitch these types of projects as they are portable and easy to take with you.

We hope you will consider a wool project and enjoy the variety of wool bits in every packet of wool snippets!

Happy stitching!

Tuesday Tip: Thangles – An Easy Way to Make Half Square Triangles

Do you ever wish there was a simpler way to sew a whole batch of half square triangles? Perhaps you would really like to do an Ocean Waves quilt or a classic Bear Paw quilt but dreaded the idea of having to sew and square up a zillion half square triangles.

Well, for many years now, our shop has sold a line of paper packs in various sizes called “Thangles”. These easy to tear paper packs come with simple instructions. In fact, we have often included a packet of the desired size in our quilt kits if the quilt design features a whole bunch of half square triangle units. Yes, these Thangles are that good!

Think about it: no more math of adding 7/8″ and all that. What if all you had to do is cut strips and sew on a line?

Thangles are an easy accurate way to make half square triangles in very little time. They come in a variety of sizes and are super easy to apply to the quilt project you are already trying to sew. The first thing you do is decide on the size you need for your “finished” half square triangle. Finished meaning the size once sewn into your quilt with the seam allowance off.

Thangles are available in our store (and via our website) for all finished half square sizes from 1/2″ to 6″ finished. Each size you want to achieve is available in its own package of specially created papers.

Here’s a video to demonstrate how they work:

We really hope you will consider using Thangles the next time you have quilt pattern requiring half square triangles.

Happy stitching!


Tuesday Tip: Ombre Fabric; Seven Colours in One!

Vanessa Christiansen is a wife and mother to four “active” children. She is the designer for Moda and who has developed Ombre Confetti Metallic fabric that fades from dark to light over the width of fabric (from selvedge to selvedge). The colour in an ombre fabric is all the same hue, with shades and tints added. In one strip cut across the width of the bolt there are seven different shades of the colour. So much versatility with this fabric lineup! Think about all the possibilities of being able to use one fabric and have seven colours in that one fabric to work from. These Ombre Confetti Metallic fabrics are perfect for Bargello quilts as well as any quilt pattern that requires a variety of colours in the same shade. Here’s a video with Vanessa showing her lovely fabric.

We have now received Ombre Confetti Metallic on bolts here in our shop on the bolt as well as in precuts. This fabric presents a whole world of possibilities and some beautiful patterns have been developed.

These beautiful fabrics are in stock now, so don’t wait to get the colours you really want.

Happy stitching!

Tuesday Tip: Organ brand Sewing Machine Needles

A sewing machine is only as good as the needle in it. Kind of a strong statement, but if you have done any amount of sewing, you may have realized how true this really is. In our shop we have a stock of very unassuming looking envelopes of sewing machine needles.

These envelopes of needles come from The Organ Needle Company. The Organ Needle Company works closely with sewing machine builders to design and manufacture needles for optimal performance. Organ brand of needles have become our favourite brand in our shop because they perform really well.

While the needle is the least expensive component in any sewing machine, it is the most important. High quality, ORGAN needles designed in cooperation with the machine builders assure maximum performance, quality, and economy.

ORGAN needles are manufactured from special high carbon, silicone rich steel. They use the latest state-of-the-art production techniques to insure highly polished eyes for dependable, smoother stitches, consistent quality and fewer thread breaks.

ORGAN assures you the right needles for all your sewing jobs. ORGAN supplies the largest variety of needle types, sizes, eye configurations, point designs, and finishes for almost every sewing task.

If you have been having issues with how your machine makes stitches, we recommend trying one of these Organ needles in your machine and we believe that you will see a remarkable difference.

Note:  It’s always advisable to have your machine serviced by a qualified technician to ensure that it is in good working order.

Happy stitching!