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Flannel through the ages

The flannel shirt is something of a yoyo on the fashion scene. Every few years, it has a resurgence, reinterpreted for contemporary tastes. From its origins as a ‘working mans’ cloth, through to 90s grunge and current day styles, flannel has always been iconic. So whether you’re looking to unleash your inner Kurt Cobain or channel a vintage pinup, this blog post has you covered. We’re having a look at flannel through the ages, and suggesting fabrics and sewing patterns to create your own version of the looks.

However, let’s first establish the difference between flannel and plaid, which are often (and easily) confused. Although the overall look is very similar, flannel is a type of fabric and plaid is a pattern. Tadah, your fact for the day!

90s Grunge

Starting with perhaps what is most associated with flannel shirts, the 90s grunge scene. Kurt Cobain and My So Called Life can’t help but spring to mind. These styles mean oversized cuts, loose shapes, and mega comfort.

We have a number of flannels that would be perfect for unleashing your inner emo. Try the Smoke Mammoth Cotton Flannel, Cider Mammoth Cotton Flannel or Storm Dark Mammoth Cotton Flannel.

This is a look that’s surprisingly easy to translate into your wardrobe without looking like a 90s throwback. Simply pop over your favourite jeans and t-shirt, or even wear over a dress. The Ilford Jacket by Friday Pattern Company would be perfect, as would the Lucienne shirt from I AM Patterns


The Overshirt by Wardrobe By Me is also a perfect pick for this look. 

Vavavoom Vintage

Flannel isn’t exclusively for the rebels. Pin ups like Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield showed us how flannel and plaid can be anything but slobby. Go for fitted shirts, such as Rosa from Tilly and the Buttons or the Deer and Doe Bruyere, with its gorgeous cinched in waist for added shape.

This style is typically more feminine (but interpret it in your style, however is best for you!) than other styles that use flannel. Fabrics such as Nectarine Mammoth Junior Cotton Flannel and Cocoa Organic Mammoth Cotton Flannel would work brilliantly.


Plaid Men*

How about channeling Don Draper in a flannel suit? In the 50s, flannel suits became popular for men, so if you enjoy vintage styling, this could be a brilliant look to emulate. Not for the faint hearted, but you can't help but feel amazing in a me-made suit. Nina Lee Pattern’s Richmond Blazer and Portobello Trousers look fantastic together, or you could go for the ever-popular Heather Blazer and Chandler Trousers from Friday Pattern Company.

Don Draper from “Mad Men”

Heather Blazer and Chandler Trousers from Friday Pattern Company

Nina Lee Pattern’s Richmond Blazer and Portobello Trousers

In keeping with the classic style, deeper colours and muted tones like the Navy Mammoth Organic Cotton Flannel and Pacific Mammoth Organic Cotton Flannel would get the thumbs up from Don.

Modern Day Shackets

A contemporary style that, given the greater popularity for a more relaxed fit, looks here to stay for a while. Shackets (shirt + jacket = shacket) are loose, comfortable and versatile. They’re the perfect way to add a little something to an otherwise plain outfit, and provide the ideal cover up for those days that you want to feel comfy but still stylish.

Google the word shacket and you’ll find so many styles, but with one common thread: flannel. Look for loose, relaxed fit shirt patterns. The Shoalhaven Shacket from Muna and Broad is perfection, as is the Fibremood Rya. However, if you already have a shirt pattern, you could try going up a few sizes to create that loose, relaxed fit.

Americana Mammoth Cotton Flannel 

Although on the surface, flannel might just bring the grunge scene to mind, there’s a lot more to it than moody teens. It’s a truly versatile fabric that works with so many styles. It’s an amazing fabric to work with, and the colours are just divine!

We have so many tones, styles and colourways available, the tricky part is choosing which one to go for...

*Ok, so plaid is a print and flannel is the fabric, but we couldn’t resist that pun.

Alice @the.polka.dot.palace 


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