Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tools, tips and tricks - Working with Minky

I use Minky (or Minkee, depending on the manufacturer) quite often in my quilt projects and get a lot of questions about how difficult it is to sew with.

I've found that I really like having Minky on the back of the quilt because it glides so nicely across your machine bed when quilting on your home machine. The only catch is that you must be sure that it's totally wrinkle free when making your quilt sandwich and you need to make sure you pin the layers together with less space between the pins than normal. This is not a problem for me, since I pin the bejeezes out of all of my quilt sandwiches. The quilt is rather heavey though, between the Minky and the plethora of pins.

When cutting Minky, I find it to be more accurate if you put it plush side together. Fair warning, have the vacuum ready, it gets fuzz everywhere
I use a 1/2" seam and walking foot for Minky to Minky sewing. I can usually get away with a 1/4" seam and using my 1/4" foot for Minky / cotton piecing. I usually use less presser foot tension than I would normally for cotton/cotton sewing.

Piecing with Minky is a totally different animal. Due to it's stretchiness and loft, it tends to move and shift a lot. When piecing, Minky to Minky or Minky to cotton or flannel, I've found the following tips have helped me to keep things the correct size, shape and keep shifting to a minimum.

1) Fold your Minky piece in half and mark the center with a pin. Do the same with the other fabric you are sewing the Minky to.
2) Match the two center pins from each fabric and pin together at midpoint. Then pin the ends the pieces together on the right and left corners.
3) Fill in between the center pin and corner pins, spacing pins an inch or less apart. I find it best to put the points toward the edge to be sewn for this project.
4) If using a 1/2" seam and walking foot, mark your 1/2" line on the machine with something that has a raised edge. (see photo below)
I use a self-stick, removable sewing edge tool, but it's lost it's stickiness due to Minky fuzz, so I tape it down. A post-it note pad would work as well. I've also used multiple layers of Duct Tape in a pinch. It really helps to have a nice ridge to line the pieces up on to keep it all moving together evenly. When using Minky / cotton, my 1/4" foot has that ridge attached to it already.
That's really it to making Minky easier to work with.  I hope you give it a whirl if you haven't already. It's so soft and fuzzy and makes a great baby quilt, or for that matter, any age quilt! Everyone who's petted the Minky requests it for their quilt.

1 comment:

Ju said...

Look at you. So instructional. You should be a teacher (smirk!). Nice pictures.