Quilting Blog

Tips & Tricks for Quilting With Minky Fabric

When choosing fabrics for quilting, you know that each kind of fabric gives a certain feel to a project. Soft and cuddly with a great weight, minky fabric is often used in quilted baby blanket designs, quilt backs and quilted stuffed animals. But did you know that it's not just for kids? We love seeing the luxe fabric incorporated into wearables or home decor or paired with cotton-fabrics for a sophisticated look.

Quilting with minky fabric is not that difficult, but it does help to follow some basic tips and tricks! Here are some of our favorites:

Multi-Patterned Minky Fabric Quilt, on Craftsy

Photo via Lindsay Conner; Shannon Fabrics at Quilt Market

Cutting minky fabrics

If you're using minky fabric for a patchwork project, check the nap and grain of your fabric before cutting to make sure it all goes in the same direction. When quilting with minky fabrics, expect to get a bit of shedding while you cut. You can place just-cut Cuddle and a damp washcloth in the dryer on low heat for 10 minutes to help. Otherwise, keep a vacuum cleaner nearby. Move your rotary cutter, mat and ruler over to a hard surface, such as a table or wood floor, which can be easily wiped up after cutting. Once this initial shedding is over, Cuddle fabric won't fray.

Tip: Shannon Fabrics provides many free quilt patterns for sewing with Cuddle, and you can find Cuddle fabric in the Craftsy Supplies Shop.

Pink Minky Quilt: Sewing with Minky Fabric
Photo via Bettina Danger

Batting or no?

Quilter Bettina made a Thomas the Tank Engine quilt for a littler girl in her family, and chose a free-motion railroad tracks quilting design. She chose to include batting between the quilt top and minky back, which she says turned out extra snuggly for winter. Although any battings will work with minky, some quilters suggest using Warm & Natural and Warm Bond from the Warm Company and Bamboo batting from Winline Textile Products.

Tip: Although you can make minky-style quilts without batting, Angela Walters recommends adding it in for more structure and weight to the quilts, especially larger projects. But if you're making a smaller quilt, you can also choose to leave it out, since the fabric is naturally thick.

Quilt with Minky Fabric Quilt Back, on Craftsy
Photo via Cut. Sew. Press. Love.

Straight-line quilting with minky

If you are just getting started quilting with minky, it's not a bad idea to skip the free-motion quilting and try straight lines. This beautiful patchwork baby quilt by Melissa is backed in white minky fabric with raised dots. She says the quilting was not as difficult as she would have expected!

Tip: Use a walking foot for straight-line quilting and a size 90/14 ballpoint (stretch) needle for piecing. Lengthen the stitch length to 3mm or 3.5mm.

Minky Striped Quilt with Free Motion Design
Photo via Shannon Fabrics

Free-motion quilting with minky

Craftsy instructor and longarm quilter Angela Walters shares some basics for quilting with Shannon Cuddle ™ fabric. She suggests that you keep your free-motion quilting designs a bit larger in scale, to help keep your quilt soft and without any tucks. The large swirls pictured are a good option.

Tip: If you're quilting with minky on a longarm quilting machine, make sure that the selvages run perpendicular to the leaders.

Blue and Pink Minky Quilts, on Craftsy via Craft Sew Create
Photo via Craft Sew Create

Finishing the quilt

Ellie had fun making up these minky-backed quilts for twins for some new arrivals in her family. The quilt fronts are a patchwork chevron design pieced from cotton fabrics. She used free-motion swirls and hearts on the pink quilt. To keep the blue quilt more masculine, she used straight-line quilting to echo the patchwork design.

Tip: Spray basting is a great way to hold batting, backing and a quilt top together when quilting with minky.

Master basic quilting techniques, from choosing fabrics and a design to adding sashing and borders and basting your quilt, in the FREE mini-class Piece, Patch, Quilt: Basic Quiltmaking Techniques with Gail Kessler.

Come back to the Craftsy blog tomorrow for a roundup of mini charm pack quilting projects to try.

Have you ever incorporated minky into your quilt projects?

13 Comments

Allison C Bayer

As a longarm quilter, it is great for the top that is pieced. However, if the top is larger than the Minky, Cuddle, etc and a seam is put into the backing using this fabric, the seam sags and twists. This can cause all sorts of tucks and puckers. Just stay within the width of the Minky fabric off the bolt and give your longarm quilter a break by NOT seaming it to make it larger. If someone has a trick to share to get around this issue, I’d sure like to hear it.

Flannel on the back of a top constructed of Minky is really nice!!

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Jennifer

Some stores sell extra wide minky that is 90 inches. This has been very helpful for me, as it’s my favorite quilt backing! You might have to call around to find it at a local quilt shop, as most shops only carry 60″ width.

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Donna Enright

does Minky have to be hemmed or does it not fray?

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Donna Enright

does Minky have to be hemmed or does it not fray?

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Donna Enright

does Minky have to be hemmed or does it not fray?

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Judy Young

Lindsay, I am doing a crib size baby quilt with minky backing. There is also some square (12″x15″) of minky fabric on the front. I wanted to quilt it with my Bernina Artista 165 sewing machine. I have a walking foot but how do I keep it from crawling on the back while I quilt on the front with a small machine. I usually quilt by hand but need this finished rather quickly

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Judy Young

All the information I can get on quilting for hand quiltingwith minky is for long arm or free motion. How do you work it for hand quilting

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Ndansel

I am backing a lap size quilt with navy minky. My long arm quilter said the minky keeps coming up threw the top. We’ve tried several options for batting and nothing is helping. What can I do??

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Donna

What kind of needle is she using in the machine? I do not use long arms but I know that with any stretch type fabrics (which minky is stretchy) you should use a ball point needle in your home machine.

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Marlene Oddie @ KISSed Quilts

perhaps it is the longhaired minky….I’ve experienced this as well. It will eventually pull back through with use. I tried all the different batts that I had as well as different thread and needles. It is the nature of it.

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cora

Will the ballpoint needle snag the 100% cotton pieced top when quilting with a minkee backing? I tried Universal needles sized 12 and 14, and my stitches are slipping and breaking.

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Kelly Van Lieshout

I bought some minky to back a baby quilt, I have pre cut layer cakes that I can’t wash. Since the pre cuts are cotton and will shrink and minky is polyester, how do I get around this?

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Jennifer

I’ve used the combination of minky as backing and regular quilt fabric for the top. I never prewash and have never had an issue. I also use flannel as the top and minky as the back with no problem. In fact, these quilts are everyone’s favorite because they’re so comfortable!

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