Tips for Embroidering on Flannel Plaids

Flannel is warm, comfortable, and launders well. Buffalo plaid in a flannel apron is even more festive when stitched with Bonnie’s adorable Ginger Buddies

Picture of big eyed machine appliqued gingerbread man on buffalo plaid flannel at Sew Inspired by Bonnie

I  chose the chef from Ginger Buddies to embroider on the bib of this purchased apron. This design coordinates well with the Little Cookie Makers Apron project which used Bonnie’s Christmas Cookies.

Even though flannel is made from cotton, it still needs a bit of consideration when stitching. Here are a few tips for successful embroidery on flannel.

Keep Plaids on Square

For pre-purchased items, like the apron in this project, make sure the plaid is straight. That makes it a lot easier to center in the hoop. Fortunately, this one was right on. With precise cutting, you can keep your plaids perfect when you make your own apron but it is so much easier (and quicker) for me to purchase one.

Pre-Shrink Flannel by the Yard

If you do decide to make something from flannel, purchase a quality fabric. Wash and dry before sewing and embroidering to pre-shrink.

Use Interfacing if Needed

Even though flannel is typically made of 100% cotton, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it has a tight weave. The flannel on this apron was a bit loose. In cases where the weave of the fabric is a bit lax or the fabric is a bit thin, fuse a piece of interfacing on the back side to help support the fabric. I like to use ShapeFlex 101 which is available in both white and black.

Baste to Check Plaid Alignment

Basting boxes are particularly useful when stitching on plaids. You can easily see whether or not your plaid fabric is square in the hoop. If it isn’t, just clip the basting threads, reposition, and stitch again.

Use a Topper if Needed

If you are stitching regular fill embroidery on a thick flannel, using an embroidery topper will help keep your stitches crisp. Otherwise, they can tend to sink into the nap.

What tips do you have for sewing and embroidering on flannels and plaids?

Debbie Henry
Sew Inspired by Bonnie

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  • Bonnie Welsh - December 03, 2022

    Peggy—Thank you! =)

  • Bonnie Welsh - December 03, 2022

    Kaye—I can’t take credit for this tip as it was written by my “partner in crime” Debbie Henry. I agree, she does a great job! Thank you for recognizing her hard work!

  • Peggy Fye - December 03, 2022

    Beautiful. Love all your tips…

  • Kaye - December 03, 2022

    Bonnie, thank you for always giving us great tips in how to sew our great designs that we got from you

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