Minky is so irresistibly soft — and a lesson in how a sewist should be wary when a fabric is so slinky, so delightfully lovely to the touch.
As far as I can tell, from a beginner’s perspective, most every luxuriously soft fabric is hard to work with, and minky is no different. I knew that when I started making my first minky blanket, but even with fair warning, sewing it was accompanied by a lot of cursing and trial and error.
I bought the minky as a remnant at Joann’s, so it was 50% off (even more irresistible, right?!). Then I found a Buzz Lightyear fabric that I knew my friend’s son Jack would simply adore. The green minky matched the green aliens on the Buzz fabric – perfect!
I’m going to share what I learned from my first minky experience. I am sure there are bloggers out there who are “minkxperts,” and to call this a tutorial is stretching. But know this: it’s not rocket science to make a blanket, and in fact, I highly recommend it as a simple beginner’s project. I went into the project thinking, hey making a blanket is easy, so I don’t need a tutorial or help. But after the fact, I wish I’d known the three tips I wrote below, so I hope they help you!
And working with minky is totally worth it because if you’re giving it to a special friend, you might get an awesome photo like this as a thank-you:
DECEPTIVELY SIMPLE INSTRUCTIONS
FOR A FUSSY MINKY BLANKET
1 yard cotton
1 yard coordinating minky
Lots and lots of pins
Walking foot (optional)
Embroidery thread in a coordinating color
First, square the edges of your cotton so you start with as perfect a rectangle as possible.
Nerdy Sewist Minky Tip #1:
Regardless of how big your blanket will be, cut your minky bigger than your cotton. For my blanket, using one yard of each, the blanket ended up being significantly smaller due to minky stretching, moving and general mistakes. So, if you are dead-set on having your blanket be a yard by 44 inches, make sure you use more minky.
Head to your machine and stitch, using your basic 2.5 straight stitch, all the way around your minky-cotton sandwich, leaving about a 3-4 inch hole in the center of one end (for turning inside out). Here’s where you’d switch to your walking foot, if you’re so inclined.
Nerdy Sewist Minky Tip #2:
Stitch slowly. Not going to lie, this is where I ran into a lot of trouble, and I admit I probably should’ve used a walking foot. Because minky’s so slippery, it’s also going to be hard to stitch with an equal seam allowance all the way around. So go slow.
Turn the blanket right sides out. Close the hole with pins and then use a top stitch to secure it. I also did a decorative stitch along this edge of the blanket; I have a new machine with fun new stitches and I just wanted to try something new. But I wouldn’t recommend it for a beginner. I have heard of quilters who love machine stitching on minky, but until you get the hang of it, I don’t recommend decorative top stitching.
What you’ve got now are two sewn sides together in something that looks sort of like a blanket but more like a hollow sack. That’s no fun. Since the minky and my machine don’t go well together, I spent about an hour and a half hand-tying the blanket with embroidery thread.
Nerdy Sewist Minky Tip #3:
Don’t worry about quilting the layers together; hand tie!
I’d never hand-tied before, and it’s not only simple, it’s also a very easy way to get around the minky-slinky problem. It secures the two layers of fabric together across the blanket, and it looks cute too. Here is the video tutorial I used to learn how to tie a quilt.
The only thing I’d add is that it helps to baste the blanket first using pins, to hold the minky in place while you tie.