When most people think about flannel, their minds probably jump straight over to the imagery of rough and rugged lumberjacks or maybe even the famed Scottish highlanders.
And while the imagery itself isn’t entirely unrelated – flannel sheets are one of the warmest and most comfortable solutions to a chilly winter night.
However, as awesome as they may seem for the colder seasons of the year, are flannel sheets really worth it? Are they the best choice for you?
To help you answer these questions, in today’s article, we’re going to cover all of the pros and cons of flannel sheets. We’ll give you the low-down on what you should look out for while also giving you some tips on what makes a good set of flannel sheets and what you’ll need to know to make them last for years on end.
A Brief History Of Flannel – What Is It & Why Is It So Cool These Days?
Before we dive right into the pros and cons of these bed sheets, let’s talk about flannel and it’s illustrious history.
First and foremost, despite some popular misconceptions, flannel is not actually a type of fabric. Rather than that, what makes certain fabrics flannel is the special brushing method that was developed by renowned Portuguese artisans sometime back in the 17th century.
In the past, this whole process was done by hand, which set flannel in stone as a sought-after material. However, with today’s modern technological advances, the whole process is now done mechanically, making flannel far more accessible, and even improving the already amazing properties it boasts.
The process itself was actually pretty simple – small metal brushes were used to separate and loosen the tiny cotton fibers in the fabric. They were then slightly raised, which is what gave proper flannel that signature nap and, in turn, its softness.
Flannel first found a solid foothold when Welsh farmers realized that flannel (known as gwlanen to them) had quite a few benefits to lighten up their daily lives. It was super warm, incredibly light and it also provided a great range of motion. Soon after this realization, flannel was being used all across the myriad of Welsh households. It was used for practically everything, from everyday clothes to bedding.
Then, in the latter half of the 1800s, it found its way to American shores along with those same Welsh farmers. Here it quickly caught on and became popular with the working class. And as they say – the rest is history.
Now that we’ve covered what flannel is and how it made its way into our daily lives, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of flannel sheets.
The Pros Of Flannel Sheets
Let's get started with the pros of owning a set of flannel bedsheets!
What is it that makes flannel sheets so amazing? How comfortable are they really? Below, we’ll go through all of the main upsides of owning flannel sheets, and what benefits you’ll stand to enjoy.
They’re Super Warm And Breathable
Imagine this – it’s November, the colder winds are starting to blow over your town, and undeniably, the nights are starting to get a little less than cozy at those temperatures.
Logically, your first reaction would be to grab an extra duvet or turn up the heating, right? Here’s the first point where flannel sheets stand out from other variants – they’re super warm!
However, despite being incredibly warm, they’re also breathable, which helps you avoid any sort of uncomfortable and sweaty nights.
This is all possible thanks to the special brushing process that creates little pockets in the twill fabric. These pockets trap the air, giving flannel sheets their cozy warmth. And thanks to flannel’s natural absorbency, any bodily moisture is quickly whisked away while you sleep.
Flannel Sheets Are Incredibly Soft
When it comes to the softness of any given bed sheet, most people tend to immediately start thinking about thread count. And while a higher thread count is usually pretty closely tied to silky-smooth sheets, flannel sheets are naturally incredibly soft, despite not really offering much in the thread count department.
The amazing softness and comfort that flannel sheets are so well-known for comes from the brushed nap they’re made with. And in addition to this, the fact that flannel generally combines cotton with a mixture of man-made fibers makes flannel incredibly strong and durable. So these bed sheets are guaranteed to last far longer than cotton sheets and most other variants.
They’re Easy To Clean & Care For
Let’s face it, if you’re used to the higher end of the thread count range, you likely know that most of the softer materials and sheets will need special dry-cleaning to stay intact for years on end. Worse off, with use, many of the more expensive fabrics actually start to harden, making your bed sheets that much less comfortable. And unbeknownst to many, this also applies to your good old cotton sheets just as well.
On the other hand, flannel sheets are incredibly easy to care for. This is due to the fact that they generally contain standard cotton fabrics with other man-made fabrics mixed in. This means washing and drying them is enough to keep them clean and well-maintained over the years.
As we’ve discussed earlier, thanks to the way that the two types of fabrics are combined in flannel, this type of bed sheet is incredibly durable and resistant to the regular wear and tear that happens over time. And here’s a nice added benefit – the cotton fabrics in flannel can actually get softer when you wash them, making your already comfy sheets even cozier.
They Come In A Variety Of Attractive Designs
If you’re a sucker for traditional designs and color-block patterns that are oh-so-typical with flannel clothing, the good news is that flannel sheets offer the same aesthetic flair when it comes to the bedroom.
From plain colors to vibrant weaves that you wouldn’t see with basic cotton sheets – flannel gives you the option to really get creative with your design choices. And with the advances in today’s manufacturing technology, it’s not uncommon to find flannel sheets with stylish modern designs weaved in ranging from complex geometrical patterns all the way to woven representations of cartoon characters that kids will absolutely adore.
All in all, flannel sheets are among the best when it comes to the aesthetics they offer to your bedroom’s interior.
The Cons Of Flannel Sheets
Now that we’ve covered some of the amazing things that flannel sheets boast, let’s take a look at what cons you may have to keep an eye out for if you’re considering picking up a pair of flannel sheets for your bedroom.
While flannel sheets don’t have all too many cons associated with them, there are a couple of things that you should keep in mind.
Flannel Sheets Pill Up Over Time
The most significant drawback that you’ll have to keep an eye out for is something that naturally occurs after you’ve owned flannel sheets for a while. Any bed sheets made out of flannel will eventually start pilling.
What is pilling, you may ask? This is when the surface of your sheets will naturally start to form little balls of fabric. With flannel sheets, this is common because of the way that the fabric is brushed up. However, this can also happen with other materials like cotton, linen, and even wool. So, if you ever find yourself asking “why do my flannel sheets pill?” You should know that it’s something that happens naturally.
If you keep reading, we’ll give you a quick tip on how you can minimize pilling, or even prevent it altogether.
They May Shrink Slightly
This issue only occurs with flannel that is made entirely out of cotton, with no other fabrics weaved in. When you wash it for the first time, this particular blend has a tendency to shrink.
In order to prevent this, along with the pilling, you can add roughly half a cup of vinegar to the detergent when you go to wash your sheets for the first time. In addition to this, do your best to avoid using any sort of fabric softener on flannel sheets as it will only make the pilling issue worse since it stiffens the fibers of the fabric.
Flannel Sheets Bleed Color
Have you ever put in two opposite colors into the same load of laundry on accident only to see one bleed over to the other after the wash? Well, unfortunately, flannel sheets tend to bleed color fairly easily. This is especially true if the fabric was dyed in a brighter shade like red.
While for most people, this isn’t a big deal – just wash your bed sheet separately from your other laundry – there is a relatively simple solution that can help you prevent color-bleeding. Just as we recommended earlier for shrinking and pilling, adding a bit of vinegar to the detergent the first time you wash the sheets helps set the color in place and prevent it from bleeding over onto the other items in your load.
Flannel sheets are definitely amazing, and we strongly believe that you should always have at least one set for the colder months. However, at the end of the day – they’re just not the right fit for everyone out there.
That’s why today, to help you figure out whether you should or shouldn’t invest in a set of your own, we’ve laid out the main pros and cons of flannel sheets.
If you’ve kept up with us this far into the article, you should now have a good idea of what benefits they’ll offer to you, and what are some of the things you’ll have to look out for, as well as whether or not they’re a good fit for you and your bedroom.