Throughout the winter, many people ask me to quilt minky and fleece blankets for them. Sometimes people ask me how to add fleece or minky fabric to the back of a cotton quilt, and sometimes people ask me to make quilts with two pieces of fleece or minky fabric sewn together. These blankets are so soft and cuddly—perfect for baby showers and Christmas gifts.
With the long winter we’ve been having this year, I’ve been getting lots more questions about how to make minky quilts! So I’ve compiled a Q&A list here, along with a step-by-step guide for how to add satin binding to a quilt. I hope the answers help you create your own beautiful blankets—and I hope your finished projects help make the long winter a little more colorful, snuggly, and warm.
Sewing with minky, fleece, and cuddle fabrics
Is minky fabric hard to sew?
It is not hard to sew on minky fabric with a sewing machine. Hand sewing with minky fabric is more difficult, but a thimble helps.
What kind of sewing needle do I use for minky?
You don’t need a special sewing machine needle for sewing with minky or fleece fabrics. However, minky and fleece fabrics will dull your needle, so I usually put in a new needle when I am done sewing fleece or minky.
Washing and preparing minky, fleece, and cuddle fabrics
Does minky fabric need to be prewashed?
Minky and fleece are both polyester fabrics and will not shrink, so you do not have to pre-wash them.
Does cuddle fabric fray? Can minky fabric go in the dryer?
Minky and cuddle fabrics wash, dry, and wear beautifully.This is why so many people like to make baby quilts with minky and cuddle fabrics. They are so soft and so easy to wash.
Can minky fabric be ironed?
Minky fabric can be ironed, but there usually is no reason to iron it because it never wrinkles. If you need to iron your minky or fleece fabric, use a polyester setting.
Making minky, fleece, and cuddle quilts
What is a minky quilt?
A minky quilt is two pieces of polyester knit fabric (like minky, cuddle, or fleece fabrics) sewn together. Some people like to add soft, satin binding to the edges (see my tutorial below).
Can you put fleece on the back of a quilt?
Yes, you can make a cotton fabric top (pieced or quilted) and add minky or fleece on the back. Many people like to use minky or fleece for quilt backs because those fabrics give such a soft and snuggly feel to the finished quilt.
How do you measure a quilt back?
When I measure cotton fabric for a quilt back, I add 3 extra inches on all sides to the measurement of the quilt top. So if the quilt top is 90” x 100,” the back would be 96” x 106”. With a knit fabric like fleece or minky, I add even more fabric—about 4 to 5 extra inches on all sides.So if the quilt top is 90” x 100,” a minky quilt back would be 100” x 110”.
Do you need extra minky fabric for backing?
You should allow a little extra fabric for backing, because when you put the minky blanket in the quilting machine and roll it up, it can stretch a little one way which will shorten it the opposite way. When you are quilting two pieces of fleece that are exactly the same size, you will probably need to trim off some of itwhen you are done quilting, which will make your finished project a little smaller.
Do you need to use batting with a fleece or minky quilt?
I always recommend using batting. Because fleece and minky are naturally warm fabrics, I choose the lightest weight poly batting for fleece and minky quilts. The batting makes the finished product much more polished and professional-looking.
Quilting with minky, fleece, and cuddle fabrics
I have my own quilting machine. How do I attach the fleece?
When you place the quilt in your quilting machine, you want to make sure that you attach the sides of the fabric that the store clerk cut to the top and bottom rollers on your machine. You do not want to attach the selvage edges. There is more stretch from selvage to selvage, so if you were to pin those edges to your rollers and roll the fleece, you would be stretching out the fabric. When you took the quilt off your machine, it would bounce back to its unstretched shape and your quilt would not lay flat.
Do you recommend any special quilting patterns for fleece or minky fabrics?
I normally use larger, simpler patterns on fleece.
How do you make the binding and finish the edges on a fleece quilt?
If you have a cotton pieced top, you can add your normal binding, as with any quilt. However, hand-stitching through the fleece is a little harder than on cotton fabric. One helpful trick I recommend is to machine-stitch the binding to the back of the quilt. Then fold the fabric to the front of the quilt and hand-stitch the binding to the top (front) of the quilt.
When I quilt two pieces of fleece together, I like to add baby satin binding to the edge. It is quick to sew and adds a beautiful finished look. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you add satin binding to your quilts.
How to Add Satin Binding to a Two-Sided Fleece Baby Blanket (a Step-by-Step Guide)
You will need two pieces of fleece and thin poly batting. Quilt the blanket with a simple stitch or have a professional longarm quilter do the quilting. I used a stippling stitch on my Winnie the Pooh blanket.
Notice how one side of the binding is narrower. I put that side to the back of the blanket.
Sew the binding on the back of the quilt first, using a straight stitch. I increase my stitch length to 3.0. Notice how I don’t put the fold of the binding right up against the edge of blanket. You want to leave some space. I leave about ¼-inch space.
Continue to sew the binding to the very corner edge of the blanket.
Remove the blanket from the machine and fold the binding back at a 45-degree angle. Pin.
Put the blanket back in the machine and continue sewing. Make sure not to catch any of the binding on the front side of the blanket. Continue until you get all around the blanket.
Now turn the blanket over to the top side. You will be able to see the stitching line from the back.
Place the top edge of the binding right at the edge of the stitching line you see from the back. Sew the edge down with a zig zag stitch. I set my machine at 3.5 stitch length and 3.5 stitch width.
When you come to the corner, fold the binding at a 45-degree angle.
If you tug a little at the very corner of the binding, it will line up the fold on the back with the fold on the top.
Pivot your blanket to zig-zag stitch almost to the corner. Then pivot the blanket again and sew back down to where you started sewing at the corner. Continue on around the rest of the blanket.
I hope these questions, answers, and tutorials help inspire you to create soft and snuggly blankets for loved ones, for gifts, or for fun projects to finish up the long winter. Be sure to keep in touch and share your quilts! I love to see the creative projects you make.
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