Minky and fax furs are by far my favorite fabrics to sew with when it comes to making baby blankets. I also like to use it for the back of throw pillows, and most recently for plush animals. Why? That answer is simple! They are the softest fabric ever and I love doing projects that have a variety of textures in them. But neither fabric choice is easy to work with, and I have learned A LOT over the years to where I feel comfortable saying “this is my jam!” I will always consider myself a beginner sewist, but when it comes to minky and faux fur I have a level of expertise to advise on. Let’s start with learning what these two fabrics are, why I have grouped them together, and then we can move on to my sewing with minky and fux fur fabrics tips.
Minky fabric is a special type of plush fabric that is 100% polyester and is often used to make baby blankets, baby clothing and baby accessories. It can come in various prints, weights (thickness) and textures. Depending on where you are looking to purchase this type of fabric, it can also be called different names, such as “plush fabric” or “cuddle fabric” – however they all have the same characteristics… they are stretchy and most shed! Two things that make them a little more difficuts to sew, and if you work with them often, you will need to clean your sewing machine out more often as well.
Defining Faux Fur
Faux fur, also called fun fur or fake fur, is any material made of cellulose or synthetic fibers designed to resemble fur. You can see these fabrics used in some clothing items, hand bags, pillows, and I even use them in baby blankets (depending on the feel). Not all faux fur is stretchy, however some can be. And like miky fabrics, they are messy and require more cleaning, both of your sewing space and sewing machine.
Minky and faux fur have one main thing in common… both are hard to work with if you don’t have any experience with them. So, here are some tips for sewing with minky and faux furs. These can get you from beginner to intermediate beginner (baby steps right?!)…
Sewing with Minky and Faux Fur Tips
1. Because these fabrics have “stretch”, you will want to pay careful attention to the cutting station. Make sure you are not pulling or that your fabric is not falling off the table while you cut. The weight of the fabric hanging down the side of the table can cause it to stretch without you knowing.
2. Pins will be your best friend. These fabrics can stretch (I can’t say it enough!). Pinning them down more frequently than you typically would will help reduce the stretch.
3. If you are sewing for a baby or child gift, you may want to consider using clips vs. pins. Having a child find a pin hidden in the thickness of the fabric takes away from the excitement a bit. (Ask me how I know!).
4. Have you heard of KK2000 Sulky Temporary Adhesive? It is a spray that you can use around the edges. If you are looking to keep your costs lower, no worries, both of the tips above will work just fine! However, this is worth mentioning.
5. These fabrics can be a bit heavier than most. Try to do an extra back stitch or two both at the start and the finish, to secure your stitches a little more.
6. When you begin sewing, hold your fabric down with your full free hand and use the other to guide the fabric. The draping and weight of the fabric can cause it to pull, and even though you have added all of those pins, the weight can still play a part on an overstretch at this time. Holding your hand firmly down and taking your time to sew slowly, pin to pin, repositioning your hand and fabric as you move your way along will be a BIG help in sewing with minky and other heavy fabrics as well.
7. Using a walking foot can also help with feeding your fabric, especially if you are using a thicker one. However, you can manage without if you follow those steps above. I managed just fine for several years without it.
8. Do not iron or use high heat with minky and faux fur. It will melt and it could also leave burn marks! This goes for the washing process too! High heat in the dryer can melt your fabric. Once it is melted it looses the softness and gains crunchiness … not ideal.
9. Speaking of washing process… you do not have to prewash minky! It will not shrink (easiest step yet!)
10. These fabrics are messy. You may get to skip the extra laundry with eliminating prewashing, however you will have to add vacuuming and cleaning your machine frequently. Minky and faux fur make a lot of fuzz.
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