Making it with Minky

Thursday, September 20, 2012



Everyone loves Minky fabric because it is soft and great to cuddle with. With sites like Pinterest and Etsy, making homemade blankets, car seat covers, changing pad covers, taggies, pants, jackets, skirts, pillowcases, and even stuffed animals have become very popular. The holidays are right around the corner and making gifts with minky fabric is a great idea.


I have heard from a few people that despite the fact that Minky feels so good and is perfect for a project, they hate sewing on it. In fact, Misty (one of our employees and new mom) said she owns Minky fabric but will not touch it because she's heard such negative things. Unfortunately for Minky, it's just a little misunderstood. Since we always want you to have a positive experience when sewing with our fabrics, here are some tips and tricks I've found to making working with Minky a little less daunting.

BUYING FABRIC:
Not all minky fabric is the same! Make sure you are buying quality Minky fabric. If you buy cheap fabric, it will fall apart and drive you crazy while you sew it.

Minky fabric is expensive for a reason. It is worth the extra $2 to $3 a yard to get quality Minky that washes well and will put up with wear and tear.


PREPARING YOUR FABRIC:
Pre-washing: Like fleece, you do not need to pre-wash Minky fabric. It is 100 percent polyester so it will not shrink. But wait...if you are sewing minky fabric to a cotton you MUST pre-wash the cotton! This is so important! Your blanket will never lay flat if you do not pre-wash the cotton because the cotton will shrink and the Minky won't making the two pieces different sizes despite the fact that they're sewn together. Yikes!
Why you should not iron Minky, it can ruin the nap of the fabric.

Ironing: Now that you know Minky is 100 percent polyester, you should also know that ironing it is tricky. If possible, do not iron it but if you must, turn your iron down...way down... to low, low, low and lay a piece of cotton on top.

UNDERSTANDING NAP:
The nap of a fabric is the direction of its pattern, or in this case, the direction of its texture. Imagine corduroy, velour, velveteen and the like. Minky has a very distinct nap and it's important to pay close attention to it.

Did you know Minky does not stretch on lengthwise grain? It stretches on the crosswise grain and the bias. If you are making clothes or stuffed animals, make sure the grainline on the pattern runs parallel to the selvage.

CUTTING IT OUT:
Make a paper sandwich. You do not want your fabric to stretch while you cut it out. I know this sounds weird but it really does help. I do this sometimes when I am cutting out stretchy knits. Here's how it's done:

  • Lay down a large piece of freezer or craft paper. 
  • Lay your minky fabric down (folded if needed)
  • Lay another piece of freezer or craft paper or your pattern piece on top. 
  • Pin and cut. 

Doing this will help keep your Minky from stretching while you cut it out.
Minky will create a bit of a mess when you cut it out so make sure you shake it out or tumble it in the drier on no heat before you sew. If you forget to do this you will have a lap full of fuzz before it is over.

Serging the edges before you sew will help you keep your sewing machine clean and might save you from being covered in fuzz. Just make sure you clean your serger as soon as you are done.

Only the beginning of how much fuzz you will have. Make sure you shake it out or use your dryer.

PREPARING TO SEW:
Pin your fabric. Even if you like to cut corners, (those of you that know me know I am guilty of this) do not skip this step with Minky fabric. I know I tell people not to over-pin, but you are are welcome to over pin on Minky. In fact, I would pin every 1.5 inches just to be safe.
Use at least 1/2 inch seam allowance. Minky is very delicate and you need to give it plenty of room in the seam allowance to prevent the weight and motion of the needle from making your Minky buckle.

PREPARING YOUR MACHINE:
Use a walking foot. If you have never used a walking foot make sure you read the directions on how to install it properly. They are kind of expensive to buy so if you need to borrow one from the store just let us know. They do come with some of the Brother machines so check to see if you have one. The walking foot is great for sewing on laminates, flannels, using elastic thread, thick layers and, of course, Minky fabric. If you do not have a walking foot, it's OK. Just make sure you are always sewing with the minky fabric on the bottom. Let your dog feet do the work of moving the Minky through your machine.
Walking foot

Use a 90/14 size needle and polyester thread.

Adjust your stitch length. I always turn it up for a top stitch but you may want to turn it up while sewing the entire project. On my Brother machine the normal stitch length is 2.5. Turning it up to a 3.0 or 3.5 will help.
Just like with any fabric, sew a test piece to make sure your tension is correct before sewing your project.

WHEN YOU FINISH: Clean your machine and consider changing your needle. The fuzz can be overwhelming so give your machine a quick spray with compressed air. If you used your serger, clean that, too! :)

MONOGRAMMING:
Do not hoop your minky fabric. Instead use a stabilizer that you can hoop and stick the minky fabric to that.

As always, we want to make your sewing project the best it can be. If it's your first time sewing with Minky, consider taking one of our classes where you can get specialized attention with your Minky project. But, of course, we're always here for questions, too. Please leave them in the comments and we'll reply ASAP!

Mention is post and get 10% off your minky fabric online or in store :) If you need another color just let us know we can get it in, in just a few days.

23 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for this, just came across this and since I am a somewhat novice seamstress I appreciate this info. I am making a throw blanket with a minky like chevron fabric on one side and regular cotton on the other, so this was helpful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the comment! We are so glad you enjoyed it!

      Delete
  2. Hello, I've just started sewing with minky, and I'm making a taggie blanket for my girl. I've sewn 2 edges together but when I sew the 3rd edge the minky buckles on one side (it's minky on both sides). How do I prevent this? I don't have a walking foot, but am trying to get one. The quality of the minky I'm using isn't great (I live in Australia and the minky I bought from the USA is much better, but I wanted to test out my skills on cheaper stuff first!). Any tips for stopping it buckling on one side? I'm pinning every inch.
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Im sorry your comment was over looked and it is taking this long to respond!! A walking foot will definitely help but you might be over pinning. It does have some stretch so buckle does happen occasionally. Have you tried flipping it over and sewing from the other end?

      Delete
  3. Megan Howard8/28/2013 7:31 AM

    I love love LOVE minky but at times it wants to give me trouble when I sew it to cotton. I lay everything really flat and pin about every 2 inches and all seems well. Then when I'm finished sewing and lay it out, the cotton looks like it has diagonal wrinkles in it around the seams, especially after washing. I use a walking foot already. Any suggestions on what I'm doing wrong? Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Try pinning every 1" around the border. This page might help you: http://frommartawithlove.com/minky-blanket-tutorial/

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you Cassondra! Megan, Im sorry for the delayed response. Which side, cotton or minky is on top?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Megan Howard9/28/2013 7:50 AM

    Hi Brooke! The cotton is on top with the walking foot. I *think* I pin really well...I'm an over-pinner even when I'm not using minky! And I know this is a no-no (so please don't lecture me ;) ), but I even leave my pins in while I'm sewing so nothing slips!!

    Thanks for your help!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Megan Howard9/28/2013 7:52 AM

    Oh and I would LOVE to know how you store your minky! It is so slippery that mine won't stay folded and it ends up in crazy messy piles everywhere!! I've tried to google and pinterest search for pictures but all I get is cotton storage which is easy to do. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Megan, I roll mine up like a tube. And have a basket on its side I can stack them in.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Nice blogs


    I like to share one think happy recently i brought this Samsung Galaxy Ace s5830 in Ezeekart with 55% discount.Its one of the best online shopping for mobiles

    http://www.ezeekart.com/p-176/samsung-galaxy-ace-s5830-%28black%29.html

    ReplyDelete
  10. What is the best way to finish a seam in Minky that would seal the edges when joining two pieces for a large blanket.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi! I dont have a serger, can I omit that step? or what can I do instead? Thanks!!
    Awesome blog!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love polyester... This is awesome... Polyester have many forms in which High Tenacity Polyester is processed into safety belts, coated fabrics, such as tarpaulins for lorries, sports articles as such as sails, tucks, rucksacks and is applied in different belts and straps, as well as fastening rigging for bore islands.. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Can minky be used as the backing in a rag quilt? Will it fray? I'm just learning to use my sewing machine and I'm feeling quite intimidated. I've always hand pieced and hand quilted. Getting old and impatient now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I use minky as backing on my ragquilts all the time. It does not fray, but it looks so cute!

      Delete
    2. Thank you Donna. How much seam allowance do you use on your rag quilts? I've been using 3/4 inch. Would that be enough for the minky to show.

      Delete
    3. Thank you Donna. How much seam allowance do you use on your rag quilts? I've been using 3/4 inch. Would that be enough for the minky to show.

      Delete
  14. I was hopingg you could elaborate more on the section I copy and pasted below.

    MONOGRAMMING:
    Do not hoop your minky fabric. Instead use a stabilizer that you can hoop and stick the minky fabric to that.

    ReplyDelete
  15. What is the wrong side of minky fabric like? Does it need to be sewn to a backing for a simple blanket?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hello! I have been considering using minky to make a stuffed toy for my daughter. Do you have any tips that are not covered in your tutorial?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you so much for all the tips for sewing with minky fabric. I saw above that someone asked about not having a serger and could this step be omitted or what other thing could be done besides serging. I didn't see a reply to this. I too do not have a serger. Can this be omitted or can something be done in its place?

    ReplyDelete
  18. I had the same question. Was told at a quilt shop to use the zig zag stitch on my sewing machine. It seems to work okay. I've started to do that when I want to keep fraying at a minimum.
    Hope this helps.

    ReplyDelete

 
Design by Studio Mommy (© Copyright 2015)