The Best Flannel Shirt for Spring

Grand Flannel in Seagrass, Spring 2024 Release

MuskOx Grand Flannel in Seagrass, Spring 2024 Release

Flannels shirts have a unique weight and feel, and many have traditional but interesting patterns that express true outdoorsman style. Flannels are sturdy, tightly woven shirts that have structure, brushed for comfort, and quality flannels are sown together with strength in mind. Warmer months don’t scream “flannel” but when using quality lightweight fabrics, a flannel is the strongest year-round shirt.

What's the best flannel for Spring? Let's dig into the questions below to find out:

  1. Can you wear a flannel in Spring?
  2. What is the best lightweight flannel?
  3. Are lightweight flannels strong and durable?
  4. What are the best flannel styles for Spring?
  5. How are the best flannel shirts made?
  6. How do you wash a flannel shirt?

Can you wear a flannel in Spring?

Flannel shirts can be worn all year. In spring and summer it is best to wear a flannel that is lightweight and made with 100% cotton. Lightweight flannel shirts weigh below 5oz/sq yard of fabric. For fall and winter it is best to choose a flannel shirt that is heavyweight, weighing 7oz/sq yard and above.

For spring and summer, flannel shirts that are made with 100% cotton will provide softness and comfort making it a versatile shirt that can be worn open or closed depending on the temperature. Cotton is a breathable natural fabric that will allow for airflow depending on the density of the fabric weave. Cotton twill flannel weaves will provide strength and durability because of the high fabric density, high thread count, especially if the flannel is made with two-ply yarn.

What is the best lightweight flannel?

The best lightweight flannel shirts are made with 100% cotton twill that weigh between 4oz/sq yard and 5oz/sq yard. Brushing the cotton fabric is what differentiates a flannel from a typical cotton shirt. Brushed fabric gives a flannel its interesting texture and soft feel. The best flannel shirts are double brushed, inside and out for softness and comfort of wear on the skin. Double brushing fabric reduces the bulky weight, stiffness and itchiness of a shirt so it can be enjoyed in Spring and Summer.

A careful yarn selection is important to ensure that your lightweight flannel is durable. A high-quality yarn is two-ply and either a heathered yarn or a mouliné yarn. Both types of yarn provide strength when the shirt is worn in Spring and Summer. Heathered and mouliné yarn are also visually more interesting and give the shirt life so your flannel doesn’t look like a gingham plaid tablecloth.

MuskOx Grand Flannel in Checkered Blue & Three Seasons Flannel in Pine

Are lightweight flannels strong and durable?

Flannels with a dense weave and a premium two-ply yarn have a similar strength as a heavyweight flannel shirt with nearly half the weight. A high-quality two-ply yarn is created from cotton fibers that have long main strands (“staple fibers”) and a thin strand diameter (“micron”). Both of these combined create a strong and smooth yarn without bulky mass. The cotton fibers used in lightweight flannels are very important when making sure your flannel shirt is durable without the thickness and weight needed in warmer temperatures.

In addition to carefully sourced cotton fibers, the best lightweight flannel shirts will use a cotton twill weave and have flat felled seams. A tight 100% cotton twill weave is the foundation for durable flannel fabrics. This diagonal weaving pattern has less exposed fibers, resistant to creasing, and has a high thread count thus increasing the density of the fabric. Cotton twills are a highly technical weave and lend to a more difficult design process.

During the sewing process of a durable flannel shirt, seam design is also very important. Flat felled seams are the strongest type of seam. This is because the fabric is sewn together where the shirt locks together and is re-sewn to fully secure in its flat felled design. This technique encloses the raw seam edges from exposure, hiding them from wear and tear, and allowing the seams to hold up in the wash.

Image of Grand Flannel Coastline Plaid

MuskOx Grand Flannel in Coastline Plaid, Spring 2024 Release

What are the best flannel styles for Spring?

Ginghams and looser plaids are great flannel patterns for Spring with a combination of neutral tones like greens, light blues, greys and tans. In addition to lightweight fabrics, your flannel style should also resemble a lighter design. Lighter colors and simpler patterns tend to resemble the hotter months. The flannel was built for the outdoors so it should resemble the nature you’re surrounded by.

How are the best flannel shirts made?

The best flannel shirts are uniquely woven from ethically sourced cotton in responsible manufacturing environments. You can tell the difference when your flannel uses quality fabrics and world-class manufacturing. In terms of sourcing and sustainable flannel manufacturing, look to companies that source raw cotton through the Better Cotton™ program and manufactures with mills that are ISEAL compliant, and have capabilities of energy production and self-consumption.

Portugal is well known for men’s shirting, cotton flannel manufacturing, and uniquely woven fabrics. Quality is an understatement, moreso, superb. There is an attention to detail that’s needed when manufacturing the best flannel. Start with the cotton fibers — fine, delicate, and long fibers tightly spun into yarn. A high-quality yarn is two-ply and either a heathered yarn or a mouliné yarn. Both are on the stronger and more interesting end of the yarn spectrum. These yarns are then woven into fabric and unique patterns to ensure your flannel is truly one-of-a-kind.

Our vertically integrated mill in Portugal sources cotton through the Better Cotton™ initiative and is certified through the Global Recycled Standard and Global Organic Textiles Standards. The campus utilizes over 7,250 solar panels for an annual self-consumption production of 4,500 MWh, representing a saving of more than 20% in electricity consumption and a reduction of about 2,000 tons annual CO² emissions. They have planted over 1000 trees on their campus, and for context, their solar use has the equivalent impact of planting 15,000 trees annually.

MuskOx Manufacturing in PortugalMuskOx Manufacturing in PortugalMuskOx Three Seasons Flannel in Pine Cotton Thread Development & Flannel Manufacturing in Portugal

A high quality cotton flannel shirt will have a tight cotton twill weave that is densely woven. This creates a higher weight per square yard of fabric because of the high thread count when tightly packing the weave. A tight fabric weave builds up the strength and durability of a flannel shirt in addition to the types of yarn used, and cutting and sewing techniques like flat felled seams.

Once the fabric is woven it is then brushed to give the flannel a soft and fluffy feel to the touch. To ensure the flannel is comfortable when worn on skin, it is brushed on both sides of the fabric. This technique is called double brushing. Much like a premium yarn selection, the best flannel shirts are double brushed to deliver blanket-like softness and comfort.

Now onto the cutting and sewing of the shirt. If you desire strength and longevity out of your flannel, choose a flannel with flat felled seams. Like we mentioned above, flannel shirts with flat felled seams are more durable and will withstand and hold their shape best when washing.

Lastly, look towards flannels that use recycled buttons made from recycled content. Using recycled buttons is a small but nice touch that goes a long way, and it shows that your flannel was carefully crafted from seed through production to market. Buttons made with 30% recycled content is a good step forward in a world where this level of detail is not met in order to cut costs.

The recycled buttons used in MuskOx Flannels have helped offset over 4,000,000,000 plastic bottles from entering our oceans and helped recover 80,000,000 kg of plastic from our ecosystem.

MuskOx Flannel with Recycled ButtonsMuskOx Grand Flannel in Moss Green with Recycled Buttons

How do you wash a flannel shirt?

To prevent shrinking, wash your flannel shirt on a cold and gentle cycle, and then let air dry. This will not only prevent shrinkage of your flannel shirt, but will also preserve fabric softness and strength of your seams. Proper care of quality clothing is important, especially with flannel fabrics made with 100% cotton.