What is flannel?

Originally a woven wool-based fabric, flannel blends today are made from a range of fibres including cotton, nylon and polyester. Flannel is a characteristically dull fabric with a slightly fuzzy and soft appearance.

To create the surface of flannel, the fabric is finished using a process called napping which raises the ends of the flannel fibres. The napped surface means the fibres move when brushed or rubbed and give the flannel a soft feel and slight pile. Flannel can have either a single or double-sided nap to increase its insulating properties: Cotton flannel can be single or double-napped whilst wool flannel is usually just single-napped.

Flannelette is a light to medium cotton fabric that was originally woven in imitation of wool flannel. It is napped only on one side and made of lightweight fibres. Both flannel and flannelette can be woven in plain weave and twill weave but the weave is usually disguised by the napping.

Properties and qualities

The napping of this fabric enables it to easily retain heat, making it is extremely warm, and absolutely perfect for winter bedding. URBANARA’s range of flannel bed linen is made using cotton – the most suitable fabric for this linen – since it is soft, breathable, and doesn’t itch like wool products can. By simply swapping over your cotton or linen bed linen (which is perfect for summer) to flannelette bedding can seriously increase the warmth factor on cold nights, promoting sound and uninterrupted sleep.

In addition to its warming properties, this weave is also fairly elastic, drapes well and does not fray – so has the added advantage of looking beautiful and lasting a long time.

How does it feel?

Flannel is very soft to touch, and will warm with prolonged contact.


Flannel products can be washed at 40°C and tumble dried.The brushed finish of pure cotton flannel means after time they may be some slight pilling. This is a natural feature of the cotton and is easy to comb away with a piling brush. For best results, refer to the care instructions on your flannel product.