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Minkee Fabric – It’s a love/hate relationship!

By Serena Nabeta | July 8, 2009

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Ah, yes – Minkee!!! It’s that luxurious fabric that you just love to rub your hand over and over again! It feels so good that you can’t resist purchasing it! But reality sets in when you start to cut the fabric and stitching with it! Suddenly your great love affair with this fabric is diminishing very quickly! Not only does it create a blizzard of lint and fuzz everywhere when you start chopping it into pieces, but it moves and slides around all over the place the moment it is in your sewing machine.

What do you do with the wonderful-feeling fabric that you are beginning to hate? Here are some tips that might help you keep your sanity and renew your love of the fabric and the reason why you bought it in the first place!!

Pay attention to the nap! Minkee is a napped fabric, so the fibers will lay down in one direction and it will feel and look different. So as you are cutting, be sure your pieces are going the direction that you want them to. Just run your hand across the fabric to feel the direction of the nap.

Add more for seam allowances! If you are using a pattern that is not specifically made for minkee, then you may want to add to the seam allowance. Stitching a 1/4″ seam in minkee fabric is nearly impossible, so add extra for a 1/2″ or 3/4″ seam.

Cut out all the pieces at once! Cut out everything you need to and then wipe down your cutting mat, rotary cutter, scissors and anything else you used with the minkee with a wet paper towel to catch the extra lint. Oh, btw…this is NOT a time to have a ceiling fan on. Trust me on this – previous experience (not a good one!).

Use pins, pins and more pins! That’s right – what would we do without good ol’ straight pins?! This is where you need to use them! Pin your fabrics together so your pins are 1-2 inches apart. Yes, it does take a little more work, but it is worth it when you are stitching that seam.

Sew next to the feed dogs! If you are mixing minkee fabric with cotton fabrics, sew your seam with the minkee fabric next to the feed dogs. This will help the minkee to feed through along with the cotton.

Wash the cotton fabric! If you are using cottons and minkee, be sure to pre-wash your cotton fabrics. Minkee does not shrink, but cotton will, so if you wash the entire project after it’s complete, your cotton pieces could end up smaller than the minkee ones.

Lengthen your stitch length! Since this is a napped fabric with some bulk to it, it’s a good idea to lengthen your stitch. I usually sew with a stitch length of 3-4 mm. If I’m top stitching on Hankie Blankie Pets, I use a stitch length of 4. Make a test stitch to see what works on the minkee fabric you are using.

Use a walking foot! Put on that walking foot and put it to good use! This will be your greatest help in sewing minkee fabric. The walking foot will help to feed the top layer while the feed dogs feed the bottom layer through the machine, creating an easy-to-stitch seam.

Serge the edges! If the minkee lint is seemingly out of control, serge the edges or stitch a zigzag stitch on your machine. This will help to control the lint and fuzz that flies around as you are working with the fabric.

Stabilizer topping is a must! If you are embroidering on minkee fabric (Yes, you can do that!), you need to use a clear water soluble or heat soluble topping to keep the stitches from sinking into the pile fabric. Lightly pin a piece of clear topping to the right side of the fabric after it is in the hoop.

Do not hoop minkee fabric! You will create a hoop mark or burn if you try hooping minkee fabric to embroider on it. Hoop the stabilizer (tearaway if the design is not too dense or cutaway for dense designs), spray it with 505 Spray Adhesive and the stick the minkee fabric to the stabilizer.

Make your binding wider! If you are using a binding with minkee fabric, make it wider to account for the lush fabric pile. Instead of 2″ or 2 1/2″ wide, try a 3″ wide binding.

Only use steam! You do not want to press or iron minkee fabric to compact the lush pile it holds. Either use steam or gently press with a press cloth over the minkee.

What can you do with minkee fabric? The options are limitless, but I love to create Hankie Blankie Pets with this luxurious fabric! They are so sweet and perfect to give as gifts and little ones love the feel of these little animals. I usually personalize it with a name on the front corner. Here’s just a few I’ve stitched:

hankieblankieblue
Just look at those floppy puppy ears!

hankieblankiepink
Cute little pink kitty whiskers!

hankieblankiepurple
These are so soft and cuddly!

On the three pets above, I used the original pet pattern here, but also take a peek at the New Friends pattern and At the Zoo pattern for other cute pet variations!

Can’t find minkee fabric in your local area? Try here!

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Topics: Cutting Tips, Embroidery, Embroidery Designs, Fabric Tips, Helpful Lessons, Pressing/Ironing, Project Ideas, Project Photos, Sewing, Tips for Tools | 7 Comments »

7 Responses to “Minkee Fabric – It’s a love/hate relationship!”

  1. Ruth O'Leary Says:
    July 10th, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    These tips work just as well with other pile fabrics, such as velvet. They’re not easy to work with, so it pays not to try and cut corners!

  2. Embroidery Treasures Says:
    July 17th, 2009 at 9:45 am

    […] Minkee Fabric – It’s a love/hate relationship! […]

  3. Dot Weltz Says:
    August 7th, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Your honesty in working with the minkee fabric is so valuable. I would much rather know going into the project than finding out the pit falls in the process and being discouraged. This way is so much better. I like learning from other’s experience. Thank you for sharing how we can still use fabrics that need special treatment while sewing on them. I am most impressed with your website!

  4. Thresa Says:
    September 6th, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Am I crazy? I have ordered minky fabric to make my teenage grandson a full-size bedspread. Any tips for sewing will be appreciated. My plans are to use cording to join the side pieces of the bedspread. Have any of you ever worked with pieces of minky this large?????

  5. Serena Smith Says:
    September 7th, 2009 at 10:52 am

    No, you’re not crazy! :) It will just be more of a challenge to stitch the larger piece. Cording sounds great as an edging. Just be sure to pin frequently. You can’t use too many pins when sewing minkee. Also, be sure to use the walking foot on your machine and turn your stitch length up to 3 or 3.5. And take you’re time. It can be done! :)

  6. Thresa Says:
    September 7th, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement! The cording will be ussed to join the side panels of the bedspread to the main piece. I think I am going to blanketstitch the edges of the spread with yarn…Team colors are purple and gold. Bedspread is deep purple and will use gold yarn to blanketstitch the edges. Has anyone had any experience using a blanket stitch on minky?

  7. Serena Smith Says:
    September 8th, 2009 at 11:55 am

    I haven’t done a blanket stitch like you are planning on minkee, but I think it could be done. It might be a bit tough to get through the fabric and minkee doesn’t have much body to it. Are you putting batting in there to support the minkee?

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