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.
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.
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.
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! :)
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.