Is flannel on your quilty radar?
I’ve been seeing it pop up with quite a bit of regularity over the last few years and it’s got me wondering if flannel has snuck its way into your sewing journey?
Except for making the DIY Design Wall, flannel hadn’t been on my radar. I’d had an experience with flannel sheets in the past that left lots to be desired. So, I hadn’t been tempted to revisit this impression, that is until I noticed some new designs featuring the prettiest autumnal florals and I was curious – instantly!
The big question was – will they feel as good as they look?
Spoiler – they do!
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EXPLORING FIBER SUBSTRATES
One of the reasons I love working with fabric is because I adore the tactile feel of the different textile substrates. Running my hand over silky cottons and knobby linens just warms my heart.
Over the past few years, I’ve been having fun exploring different textile substrates, seeing how they behave when I stitch, and feeling the different textures they can add to my quilty projects. I love this exploration and I’ve shared some of my experiences with you in the Exploring the use of Textile Substrates in Modern Quilting post.
This is why I was so excited when Art Gallery Fabrics released their new *Flannels collection. It meant a new fiber to experiment with and share those results with you!
TIPS ON WORKING WITH A NEW FIBER
When I’m working with new material, I like to keep the project small so that I can first learn how the fabric behaves before committing to a full quilt.
Quilted pillows are a great option here.
They’re quick to stitch up, but still give you a chance to fully test drive how the material performs while piecing and quilting.
BLUE ETCHED DIAMOND LUMBAR PILLOW
When I designed the Etched Diamond Pillow pattern, I was inspired by a series of Pure Solids in shades of blue and turquoise for the colourway. When I was chatting with my friends at Art Gallery Fabrics about this project, they mentioned having received their new flannel collection. I was instantly curious. I have a true love for the feel of *AGF cottons and was excited to see if that level of quality would translate to their flannels too.
My plan of having this pretty come to life in time for the pattern launch was foiled by a shipping delay. But I didn’t let that stop me from bringing her to life when they finally showed up on my doorstep!
The first thing I did.
Pet the flannel, of course – ha!
And it was so gloriously soft that I just stood there petting the soft fibers – lol. Gosh, I’m such a fiber nerd!
What can I say, the tactile touch gets me every time!
Not only did she feel amazing, but the colours were just so vibrant. This particular *floral print is by Sharon Holland and the florals capture all the autumnal colours that I adore.
The next big question was – will she stitch nicely?
SHADES OF BLUE
Before I could test drive the flannel, I needed to get my Etched Diamond lumbar pillow top pieced together.
What’s fun was seeing how these blues played off one another compared to the previous blue version I had stitched up.
This was a fun experiment as it showed that while the pillows are similar, you can still play with similar colours and incorporate variances just by switching up the shades you feature.
Here’s how the two blue versions compare:
While they have similarities you can see there are variances and some of the lighter colours pop depending on how they’re paired together.
QUILTING A CROSSHATCH PATTERN
The first time I ever attempted quilting a crosshatch design was on my Harvest Falls quilt and….it was a process! Marking up the lines on the large quilt took me forever and had me questioning whether I’d ever feature this quilt motif again – ha!
The thing is, while the crosshatch is a super classic design, it’s also one that adds all the lovely quilty texture. It also was the perfect pairing with the Etched Diamond motif – it helped highlight the angular design of the Etched Diamond pattern while also adding lots of dimensions to the pillow.
I was also excited to finally get to use this gorgeous blue-gray Aurifil Thread that was included in my 2020 Aurifil Artisan Collection. I’ve been wanting to stitch with this thread ever since I opened my package.
And the funny thing is, I hadn’t planned to use it on this project. It was only after I had the pillow top pieced, and everything basted that I turned to my thread choice, and I was overjoyed when this was THE thread colour that had everything singing together. Love when that happens!
When it came time to quilting the flannel backing, I opted to go for a simple 1” straight-line motif. I contemplated adding the crosshatch to the back as well but was concerned that it would detract from the gorgeous floral print. So, I kept it simple and classic and love how it turned out!
My *Juki is pretty amazing on the tension front, but I always have a moment of “will it be any different” when I throw a new substrate at her. The flannel was a dream to quilt. I didn’t have any puckers, or pulling, or tension issues. It essentially didn’t feel any different quilting her up compared to quilting the pillow top up with only the quilting cotton.
With such a positive quilting experience, I’m now excited to try incorporating flannel into a quilt piecing journey.
ETCHED DIAMOND LUMBAR PILLOW FINISHING
I’ve been exploring working with metal zippers as I love the added detail they add to my quilted cushions. Not only do they feel super sturdy, but I love the pop of metal and seeing the fun yellow of the zipper tape.
They scared me for the longest time and yet there was nothing to fear. In case you’re in the same boat as I was, here’s a step-by-step tutorial on inserting metal zippers in your pillows.
ETCHED DIAMOND PILLOWS FEATURING DIFFERENT SUBSTRATES
This wasn’t planned, but I love that all three different Etched Diamond pillows I’ve made each feature different textile substrate combinations!
The square Etched Diamond pillow was stitched with solids from the Ruby & Bee Solids paired with a lovely lilac Essex Linen.
The first blue Lumbar Etched Diamond pillow shows off a glorious combo of AGF Pure Solids paired with AGF Denim. This denim doesn’t feel like your classic denim. It’s not rough or thick like the original versions, but rather has a soft silky touch to them.
The third version is these latest shades of blue solid paired with the floral flannel on the back.
These pillows showcase the fun you can have just by switching up your textile substrates.
While they all look super pretty, the way they feel is unique for each. That’s the beauty of stitching with different materials!
To make an Etched Diamond pillow similar to this one, here’s what you’ll need:
- Etched Diamond Pillow pattern – this is the Lumbar option
- AGF Pure Solids in
- *Flannel backing
- Metal zipper
- *5owt thread for piecing
- 40wt thread for quilting
- *Marking tool
- *Rotary cutter
- *HST Ruler
- *Cutting mat
- *Rotating cutting mat
- *Lumbar pillow insert
- *Hera marker
- *Turning Tool
For more quilted pillow inspiration, check out:
Hopefully, this exploration inspires you to incorporate new to you substrates in your quilty practice.
I’d love to know what material you have on your radar to play with next. Share in the comments below so we can all get in on the stitching fun!
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