Friday, April 19, 2013

Flannel off season fabric purchase

What does flannel and fabric have to do with prepping?  Plenty.  Off season purchasing of goods needed later saves money that can be used elsewhere.  Purchasing fabric on sale and storing it insures you will have it when you need it.
     Flannel and flannelette are the cottons most often connected to baby sleepers and winter nightwear.  Flannel shirts in every plaid print ever devised fill the racks of clothing stores at Christmastime.  

     These are great fabrics to stock and store against the time when we can no longer pop down to the local shop to pick up a new garment. 

product photo
sale    $2.99 per yard on sale now
     The price is set before Christmas for those who still sew, to make gifts and produce winter garments.  Often we find these warm winter fabrics on deep sale by the yard at Jo-Ann ETC and other fabric shops as winter comes to a close.  I have seen many retailers sell solid color flannel at a lower price than popular prints or licensed designer prints.  After winter season passes the prices drop to get the bolts off the shelves in preparation for the incoming spring designs.  This photo was taken to catch the eye.  Flannel also comes in muted earth tones.

     If you keep an eye out there are a few sales before the first snows to watch for.  Jo-Ann’s also mails out a sale paper with a 40% off a single item at regular price. So, an entire bolt can be bought at full price minus 40% if you don’t want to wait for off season sales.

     Flannel does make a great winter shirt or a great winter night gown.  But flannel in a solid color makes a great cloth diaper.  After it has been washed to shrink it, it can be cut or ripped to size.  A hem along the edges will make the diapers last longer since they are going to be washed repeatedly while in use.  After they have been used as diapers, they can be given to the next baby, we had diapers last through three boys before getting too thin to do the job.  Their next life after diapers can be cleaning cloths, dish towels, grease rags.  They can be cut into strips and twisted into wicks, cut into small squares and used as alcohol wipes.  You will get your money’s worth out of flannel.

     At yard sales, I often see flannelette baby receiving blankets.  I buy them up at 10 cents a piece.  The nearly new ones are washed and stored to be used later.  When washed twice in very hot water, flannelette shrinks up to its maximum shrinkage.  I believe these brand new baby blankets are tossed in the yard sale pile because the owners don’t know to wash them to shrink and soften them. 

     I can stitch the same size blankets together by laying them side by side only overlapping the edges enough for a ¼ inch wide zigzag stitch.    They can be made into lightweight blankets or flannel sheets to insulate a winter bed.  This flat seam makes no mark when slept on.  Odd sized receiving blankets can be made into diapers, dish towels, etc.  They can be cut down and pieced together into warm quilt tops or pieced together by the flat stitch method mentioned above and used as the filler for a quilt.  No one sees what is inside the quilt. 
     Warm winter sleeping sacks can be made from two receiving blankets.   Stitch down the left side, bottom and up the right side, with any printed or “right sides” together.  Stitch across the shoulders, turn right side out and make a tunnel for a drawstring around the neck, or hand tack a safety snap to close.  Place baby or toddler inside sack and say good night without worry that the baby will kick off the covers in the night. 

Cut a square 12” square.  Fold in half diagonally and cut along fold.  Place point of triangle into one corner of a square of towel, blanket or piece of flannel the size of a baby blanket.  Stitch the triangle down the two sides and turn the corner out and now you have one of those very expensive hooded baby blankets/towels.      

       Flannel makes an excellent bandage or ladies feminine  napkin.  It makes an excellent lining for gloves, or jackets.  

     Now is the season to buy warm fabrics and either store them for use in the cold or make them into garments to store for later use.  If storing fabric, you can place flat folded fabric in a pillowcase to keep away the dust. If storing on the bolt, reconsider.  The cardboard fabric comes wrapped on can stain the material if the slightest humidity gets to it.  Never pin fabric before storing.  If you need to add a label, stitch it on with thread.  Pins rust.  

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