Who does not want a fabric that keeps warm in a cold and breezy season? The flannel fabric has been ruling this clothing industry with its comfort, softness, and stylish look. Find your favorite flannel fabric’s history, raw materials used, manufacturing process, types, and usage in this brief article.

What is Flannel Fabric?

Flannel is a plain woven or twill yarn-dyed check pattern fabric often made of cotton and wool with a brushed and hairy surface to give a feel of warmth and comfort. Any fabric made of cotton, wool, or synthetic that maintains softness, texture, and insulative material is well-known in the industry as the flannel fabric. As a thermal fabric, flannel maintains its commitment to ensuring super comfortability, brushed or non-brushed textures, and cold resistance. Sometimes, it consists of pure cotton and blended polyester.

What does Flannel Fabric Consist of?

The flannel fabric consists of wool, blended fiber, and synthetic polyester fiber. The napping technique provides flannel with a fuzzy texture. To raise the fine fibers, this woven fabric seems to have brushed. Sometimes, plaid patterns tend to be associated with flannel to provide them with a solid and printed color variety. The flannel fabric has a density of pile on the upper surface area with raw mixed wool yarn as the raw material.

How Enriched was Flannel’s History?

The word “Flannel” emerged in the city of Wales. Commonly, France was popular for its existence as “Flannelle” before the 18th century. Flannel was an astounding cloth in France and European countries. But nowadays we see flannel and its types very wide-ranging. There are coming age of flannel like Llanidloes and Newtown. The previous form of Welsh flannel hugely differs from European flannel. From the 1990s, Flannel started to become demandable. Although it switched away from that Welsh meaning, this fabric has been traditional clothing for generations. Among the biggest producers of flannel materials, China, India, and Australia are prominent ones.

Manufacturing Process of Flannel Fabric

There is a step-by-step process for Flannel fabric manufacture. These steps are described below numerically:

Step 1: Production of Base Material

Here, the base materials are cotton, wool, and other synthetic textiles. We may have to acquire them beforehand spinning. Silk is not the proper base material to produce flannel.

Step 2: Spinning of Textile Yarn

The way fabric yarn gets constructed is the same way the textile yarn gets spun. The weaving stage makes all the differences in this fabric.

Step 3: Weaving of Fabric

The weaving can be twill or plain. Here, this weaving makes flannel and gets napped to create a texture. As a result, it provides softness as well as hides the weave. Somewhat napping reduces the fabric’s durability.

Step 4: Final Finishing

The finishing effects of flannel fabric depend on its material. In the case of synthetic material, the flannel tends to be a flame retardant. On the other hand, in the cotton case, the fabric seems to have flame resistance. Merino wool flannel is among the good organic flannels to look for. But what is common regardless of the materials of flannel fabric is a hairy surface that comes from the brushing process in the finishing stage. This process is called napping.

Types of Flannel Fabric 

There are several flannel fabrics available in the marketplace. Among them, these are some of the accepted ones:

Cotton Flannel Fabri

Cotton Flannel: Cotton flannel is the most popular in the world which got its popularity in the colonial era. Almost everyone uses casual shirts and pajamas made of 100% cotton flannel fabric. One of the main reasons that most people wear cotton flannel-made dresses is because of their comfort to wear.

Double Face wool Flannel Fabri

Wool Flannel: The second most common type of flannel is wool flannel after cotton. It's widely used to make men's elegant clothing like suits and trousers. European flannels are well-known as wool flannels. Usually, woolen flannels are heavier than cotton flannel. But both are commonly used as lining in sports garments.

Ceylon or Cotton/Wool Blended Flannel: Ceylon flannel is made of 50% cotton and 50% wool blended. The original country of production is Sri Lanka.

Diaper Flannel Fabric

Diaper Flannel: It is a flannel type with a special texture that gets napped on both sides to provide enough absorbency. It's an alternative to disposable baby diapers. It's made of stout or durable cotton. Diaper flannel is also used to make winter bedsheets.

Synthetic Flannel Fabric

Synthetic Flannel: Nowadays, synthetic flannel is available on the market. Synthetic flannel is mainly made of 100% polyester instead of cotton and wool. But synthetic flannel is rarely used in home textiles due to its high tendency of flammability.

Baby Flannel Fabri

Baby Flannel: This flannel also gets napped on both sides and is finer. Baby flannel is well known for its fineness. The base materials are wool and cotton here because of their softness.

vegetable Flannel Fabric

Vegetable Flannel: Vegetable flannel is nothing, but cellulose-based flannel fabric sourced from scotch pine. It became popular during the 19th century in Europe. But it lost its popularity during the 20th century after the invention of synthetic fabric.

Snuggle Flannel Fabri

Snuggle Flannel: It is also known as nursery fabric. This fabric is cuddlier and softer compared to normal flannels. This flannel comes in a bright color which is suitable for children. Apart from that, this fabric does not slip away.

Flannelette Flannel Fabric

Flannelette: Unlike regular flannel, flannelette is woven with a coarser texture. Any available base material will produce the flannelette.

Flannel Fabric Properties

Fabric Name

Flannel Fabric

Manufacturing Details

Wool, Cotton, Synthetic (Polyester mostly)

Fabric Durability


Fabric Breathability 

Depends on the fabric Base Material

Fabric Stretchability


Fabric Shine


Fabric Drape abilities


Prone to Bubbling


Flame-Resistant Ability


Washing Temperatures 

Should not exceed 40-degree Celsius

Prone to Bubbling


Heat Retention Abilities 

Medium to High

Moisture-wicking Abilities 

Depends on the Base materials

Fabric thread count

Up to 1000+


Sweaters, shirts, cardigans, blankets.

Characteristics of Flannel Fabric 

Flannel fabric comes with exclusive benefits as well as some disadvantages. The positive side is that the fabric can retain heat. However, the features of flannel fabric are as follows:

Heat Retention Abilities

Flannel Fabric is important due to its ability to retain heat. But this heat does not irritate the skin of the user sensitive. The fluffy texture tries to hold the warmth of the fabric. Besides, the flannel weaving creates air pockets that retain body heat even in cool temperatures.

Highly Durable

The fabric is durable, and it tends to be worn-resistant.

Environmentally Sustainable

The weaving process of the flannel makes the fabric a napped finish. The base materials are mostly natural cotton and wool. These are what make the fabric the least harmful.

Comfortable in Winter

Flannel is easy to wear in the winter season because of its heat retention.


The fabric is moderately lightweight. That means the fabric is not too heavy. But it is strong enough to keep in shape.


The flannel does not wrinkle much. It does not either odor.


Flannel fabric is easily maintainable. In cold water, the fabric can get machine-washed. After washing, the fabric takes a lot of time to get dry.

The Fabric Shrinks

Flannel fabric tends to be shrinking a lot.

Absorbency Abilities

Natural fiber-made flannels are absorbent enough to remove moisture.

Expensive Cost

The cost of flannel fabric depends on the materials. But the cotton-materialled flannel tends to be expensive.

How to Take Care of Flannel Fabric?

Taking care of the flannel is simple yet tricky.

  1. Washing: To remove germs and dust, warm water helps. Set the temperature to the warmest setting while washing the sheets. The interesting fact about the flannel fabric is that it gets old and softer day by day.
  2. Drying: Tumble dryer may shrink your fabric. Only Air dry is enough to get dried.
  3. Ironing: Ironing must follow medium heat.

Applications of Flannel Fabric

  • Apparel: Shirts, Sweaters, Cardigans, Layered Garments, tops for women, High Waisted pants, Skirts, Pajamas, baby items, and scarves.
  • Accessories: Bags, Purses, belts
  • Home-Furnishing: Shorts for running, form-fitting, and any cycling wear, bedsheets, blankets, and upholstery.


How to take care of 100% wool flannel?

Well, the flannel fabric is undoubtedly delicate. But it is better not to wash it using the washing machine. Only hand washing is enough.

Does Flannel fabric Get Frayed?

During the sewing process, flannel may get frayed. That is why it is significant to buy high-quality materials to make things worthy.

Is there any trick for Flannel Fabric Sewing?

Just a pre-wash and complete dry are enough to get through the sewing process. But better pressing in the ironing phase will make things better.

Is Flannel Fabric plaid?

Plaid is nothing but a printed pattern usable on sudden fabrics. But flannel fabric can have a number of patterns itself. It does not need to be plaid.

How often should flannel sheets get washed?

Once a week is ideal for washing and taking care of any flannel sheet.

Final Words

Looking for the fabric to get bundled up? Take flannel fabric as a suitable deal for your cold season. After all, as a low-maintenance fabric, flannel does not need replacement. Using a tracking wheel may avoid creating any holes in the fabric. However, fashion evolves but there is no alternative to flannel fabric in case of comfort, moisture-wicking, and easy caring.




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Jahirul Islam

CEO & Chief Author

Hi, this is Md. Jahirul Islam, CEO and chief Author at (Textile Suppliers). I am a Textile Engineer having 6+ years of working experience in the field of textile and garments industries. I studied for a total of 10 years in textile technology including a master's degree from Wuhan Textile University, china. Currently, I am working as Country In-charge at Pengnuo Textile Technology Co, Ltd, a Chinese fabric manufacturing company. I enjoy sharing my practical knowledge by writing articles and creating content on textile and garment manufacturing technology. 


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