Machine Embroidery,  Machine Embroidery Series

Machine Embroidery Series – Flannel


pamela Cox headshot

This series is written by guest blogger, Pamela Cox. Pamela is an expert embroiderer, designer, digitizer and all around wonderful girl! We are so happy to have her contributing to the Sulky Blog!




Flannel is one of the easiest fabrics to machine embroider on.  Although it is found in a variety of weights and fiber content – cotton, wool even synthetics – the common characteristic is that it retains a soft feel allowing it to be used for blankets, bed sheeting, nightwear and baby items.


Although flannel is considered a “nap-fabric” and needs to be treated as such when cutting out a garment, the “nap-rules” do not necessarily apply when machine embroidering.  In other words, this nap-fabric can be directly hooped in the frame.


There will be hoop marks, but…


they can be, steamed out.


You can add a top stabilizer, like Heat-Away Clear Film™ or Sulky Solvy® on washable flannels, to tamp down the fuzzy surface and allow the design to sit on top of the fabric, but it is often not a requirement since a flannel nap is short and compact.


It seems like a broken record, especially if you have been a follower of this blog series, but there are several Sulky® stabilizers which are equally effective.  Whether directly hooping the flannel or simply securing the fabric to the stabilizer itself, Soft ’n Sheer™ or Tear-Easy™ are great choices.  Spraying the wrong side of the fabric with a light coat of Sulky KK 2000™ Temporary Spray Adhesive will hold the fabric in place on top of the stabilizer.


For additional stability, you can baste around the hoop or the design area, a function found on many embroidery machines. Sticky+™ is also a viable choice as it secures the fabric but is easily removed from the wrong side.


Secure the Sticky+ in the hoop with the release sheet still intact. Gently score the area inside the hoop with a pin.  Peel and discard the paper. Firmly press the flannel onto the exposed sticky surface.

An applique design, #762-American Sweetie Pie, available on the Sulky Embroidery Club, is featured here.  The two pieces of fabric needed for the cupcake were both reinforced by fusing Soft ’n Sheer Extra™ to the wrong side.  Each will be sprayed with KK 2000™ Temporary Spray Adhesive as they are individually positioned for stitching.


Removing Sticky+ is very easy and I find it helpful to keep the project in the hoop for the initial phase of gently peeling the flannel away from the tacky surface towards the embroidered design.


Cut the bulk of the excess.


The remainder can be gently torn away.


Stippling is often used to stitch layers of fabric and batting together for quilts.  A “fabric sandwich” using Soft ’n Sheer™ prevents the wrong side of the center design from showing on the finished blanket while allowing the stippled design to do its job.


The top fabric layer and stabilizer are hooped, or hoop just the stabilizer and spray the wrong side of the  flannel with KK 2000.  Embroider the centered design: frog design created by “From the Needle of Anne”.  Find it as a free download when searching through her collections on the following website: 

Once the frog has been stitched, remove the hoop from the machine.  Spray the batting and press it firmly on the backside of the hooped stabilizer.  Spray the wrong side of the backing fabric and press it firmly to the batting with the wrong side facing the batting. Return the hoop to the machine to stitch the stippled area. A 100/16 Topstitch Needle is recommended to penetrate all the layers as well as reducing the speed of the embroidery machine.


Backing side of quilt:


Since this original line moon design, digitized to coordinate with the printed fabric was to be used to secure the layers of fabric, it needs to show on the wrong side.  This “fabric sandwich” begins with securing Soft ’n Sheer™ in the hoop’s frame.  It was topped with batting and the flannel was the final topper.  Both pieces are sprayed with temporary adhesive.  The backing fabric was also sprayed and hand pressed to the wrong side of the stabilizer on the backside of the hoop.  The design was then stitched.  You may want to use the same thread top and bobbin since it will show on both sides.



There now!  Aren’t you anxious to do some embroidery on flannel?!

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