Imagine cuddling up on a cold night wrapped in a blanket made of a fiber so soft and smooth it rivals cashmere or mink. Welcome to the world of Minky. Using a modern version of the micro-fiber technology that has given us sweat wicking sports clothes and ultra suede, Minky is a hugely popular fabric often used for cuddle quilts and baby bedding. Sometimes described as a microfiber Chenille, Minky is surprisingly durable and easy to care for.
Walking through a fabric store, its fun to run your hand along the sleek velvety surface of Minky fabric, but you may also be wondering how tricky Minky is to sew on. With its slightly stretchy character and clearly directional texture, Minky fabric does present some challenges to the sewist. The fabric tends to slip and curl slightly when sewing and can shed a lot of fuzz and lint when cut.
On the other hand, a quilt backed with Minky fabric is always a popular gift and will be treasured for years to come. To make your sewing experience less frustrating and more successful, here are a ten tips for handling Minky.
- Because Minky is made of polyester, you don’t need to worry about pre-washing, however if you are using other fabrics in your quilt, it’s imperative that you do pre-wash these.
- Never iron Minky directly. It will ruin the nap and any embossing like dots or dimples in the fabric.
- Be aware of the nap when cutting, and if you want it to lay a certain way on your finished product you’ll need to cut accordingly.
- When cutting Minky, use a rotary cutter. You can keep a hand-vacuum nearby for cleaning up and/or shake each piece outside. If the fibers bother you, consider using a painter’s mask while you cut.
- Never cut Minky and use a stationary or ceiling fan in the same room.
- Minky tends to slip around quite a bit when sewing, so always put the Minky on the bottom when you sew, next to the feed dogs.
- Use a universal needle size 80/12, longer stitches and a seam allowance of ½ inch.
- Pin closely, baste or consider using a water-soluble glue or tape to help keep the fabric from slipping around while you sew.
- Minky should wash up great, but test a sample piece first. Wash in cold water and either dry flat or in a cool setting in the drier. Minky will not lose its softness, even after repeated washings.
- Minky will melt, so don’t warm them a blanket in the microwave, and remember that this fabric isn’t fire-retardant so keep it away from open flames.
Minky is clearly more difficult than cotton when making a blanket or quilt, but the results are well worth the effort. Just give yourself plenty of time, pin-pin-pin, and don’t cut corners. One last thing, be prepared for the enthusiastic response you’re sure to get from the lucky recipient of your Minky creation.