These 4 tips for quilting with minky or faux fur will help you create a luxuriously soft backing for your next quilt. It's cold in the midwest this time of year and believe it or not, people still have babies in the middle of the winter (wild, huh?)
So when a very special friend of mine had a very special baby in the coldest season of the year, I knew his baby quilt needed to be extra warm, soft, and snuggly. I knew that quilting with minky or faux fur for backing was the way to go!
The quilt pattern featured in this tutorial is Summer Haze.
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How to Quilt with Minky or Faux Fur
We teamed up with Shannon Fabrics to create a post all about quilting with their luxuriously soft Luxe Cuddle fabric! I wish you could reach through the screen to feel how ultra-soft this really is – I'm not even a baby, but now I want a quilt backed in it too!
Not only is the Shannon Luxe Cuddle fabric ridiculously soft, it comes in dozens of patterns and colors to match any project you could dream up! These were three of my favorites, from left to right: Alpine in Pecan, Hide in Natural, and Snowy Owl in Charcoal, which is what I used for this quilt.
But... isn't quilting with minky or faux fur hard?? The short answer – NO! With these four tips, you'll be sewing up your next creamy, dreamy quilt in no time. Let's go!
Quilting with Minky or Faux Fur Supplies
If you don't have one or any of these specific supplies, you'll probably be fine; however, these are what the minky and faux fur supplier recommend using and I agree that they do make the job easier.
- Stretch 90/14 Needle or Universal 90/14 Needle
- 50 wt. polyester thread (If you're asking, "Will cotton thread work too?" The answer is yes, but in this case a poly-blend or 100% poly would be better. For detail on why read this blog post, The Difference Between Cotton and Poly Thread: A Hard-Hitting Interview.)
- Basting spray
- Walking foot
Tip 1: Press Your Quilt Top Seams Well
Before we even get into quilting with minky, preparing your quilt top is the first key to success. Getting your seams as flat as possible ensures that your quilt top will lay flat when basting and later when you're quilting. You can press them open or to the side, but just be sure they're pressed well! A good wool pressing mat and tailors clapper are two tools that can help greatly in this step.
For my quilt top, I pieced the baby size Summer Haze quilt with a variety of Art Gallery Fabrics prints and solids. There was just something about these colors that reminded me of snuggling up next to a warm fireplace after coming in from the cold!
Tip 2: Baste, Baste, Baste
Of all the tips, this one may be the most important. When you're quilting with minky or faux fur, it is critical that you baste your layers together extremely well to ensure that nothing shifts or puckers. When people complain that their minky puckered while sewing with it, it's usually because the layers moved around or they weren't basted flat to begin with.
I personally used basting spray for quilting with minky this time around, and I opted to skip the batting because the Cuddle fabric was fairly thick and I didn't want it to get too heavy. Pin basting would certainly work as well – but regardless of which method you use, take your time to be sure all layers are extra secure.
Tip 3: Use a Walking Foot and Take Your Time
After your seams have been pressed and your layers have been securely basted, it's time to get down to the actual quilting! Bump your stitch length up to 3.5 and slooooow downnnn (yes, lead-foot quilters, I'm talking to you) and you will be far happier with the results!
If you have one, I'd highly recommend using a walking foot for quilting with minky or faux fur. It helps to feed the fabric evenly through your machine so you aren't pushing and tugging to move it through. Slowing down from your normal breakneck quilting speeds will ensure that the fabric is being moved evenly and will help you to avoid those pesky puckers!
Tip 4: Keep it Clean with a Handheld Vacuum
You may think this tip is a joke, but I assure you, it is not. This is the single easiest way to keep the mess to a minimum because we all know how minky can shed A LOT. So here's the trick to save your sanity:
Every time you cut the minky to expose a raw edge (when cutting it to size for backing, when you're trimming your quilt, etc.) turn your handheld vacuum on and run it along the edge you just cut. This sucks up all the fibers that were severed, as well as any that might be on the verge of coming off.
Although you may still need to vacuum your sewing space when you're done with your project, this significantly decreases the lovely fuzz floating around.
If you follow these tips, quilting with minky or faux fur will be a breeze! So go pick up a couple yards of Cuddle fabric, grab a quilt top (you know you have some laying around waiting for backing) and quilt it up! You'll be snuggled on the couch with your new favorite quilt in no time.
have you sewn with either minky or faux fur? Tell us about it in the comments!
54 thoughts on “4 Tips for Quilting with Minky or Faux Fur”
I’ve found cutting minky, as well as faux fur, outside in warm weathre makes it easiest to keep my sewing free from the majority of the flying bits ‘o fuzz. And shaking out the project outside after it’s done also helps.
Another tip: Don’t work with either fabric by a furnace vent – each time it comes on it will blow those fuzzy bits around the house.
Thanks for posting this! I have a minky purchase that’s been staring at me for months and have been afraid to attempt it. I think I’m going to brave up and dive in. I’ll either be doing a happy dance or sobbing heavily.
This tutorial was just what I have been looking for.
I love using minky for quilt backing! I like a piece of flannel as a “batting” though.
I also love minky on baby quilt! When I quit with minky I have found that 2 of the sides shed more than the others. To prevent the mess I have wrapped painters tape around those sides. The handheld vacuum is a great idea that I will try in the future. Thanks!
I have made several quilts with minky. It can be tricky and very messy but in the end it is a quilt that will get used! Sometimes I will quilt my top using batting(thin) and backing with thin muslin. Then I back with the minky. This way I get a beautiful quilt design on the front without matting down all the snuggly minky. I hold the minky down ( yes use 504 spray) and just stitch in the ditch outline along borders and a few other spots. On the minky side you do not see the stitches, it hols great.
Thanks for this. I’m going to use this tip!
This is what I was planning on doing so I’m happy to hear this worked for someone else!!!
Thanks for the tutorial I have made many quilts with minky they are the preferred for couch quilts.
This sounds so perfect! Do you wash the quilt before adding the minky?
I’ve used minky as a quilt backing Senegal times and never encountered the problem I’m having now. I use a long arm machine and when I see the minky is being pulled to the top. Not the look I wanted. Any suggestions on how to correct this?
I’ve also never encountered this, but I’d suspect the top tension is too tight or maybe you need a new needle. A dull or burred needle might snag the fuzz and pull it up.
Did you get it figured out? I long arm and use soft backs and sometimes it comes up a bit and haven’t figured that out!
I use a lint roller instead of a vacuum.
Thanks so much for this article! Im just about to quilt with minky as a backing to a quilt soon! What about binding though? Is it still easy to stitch down on top or should I hand bind to make it easier? Would it just be as easy to wrap thr minky around the edge and then stitch it to the top? What would be the best result? Thanks so much!
I have found the binding, using this fabric, to be tricky. Because it stretches it easily causes puckers in the binding. It is a little easier if you have a double layer that you see on and pull around, as opposed to just pulling it around from the back but I haven’t been able to figure out how to make this step easier. Maybe someone else has tips?
I recently made a baby quilt using Minky for the backing. I used the self binding technique and it turned out wonderful
Shannon Fabrics has a tutorial on using minke as a binding that I have used successfully. I think they have more than one. The one I used was in a 12 to 15 minute turorial showing how to do a strip quilt from start to finish. I think this is the link.
I sew the binding to the backing….Minky side, then wrap the binding to the front. I then either hand-stitch, or machine stitch the binding down. Easy-peasy!
I serge my edges before applying the binding. Makes it easy peasy!
I have done many baby quilts with minky!! It’s so cuddly!! Spray basting has been they key for me for better quilting results. I haven’t ever branched out to thicker faux fur, but I have my eyes on a thicker rose patterned fabric that would be sweet on my next grandbaby’s quilt!
Maybe you know this already but if you cut your minky right side down, it sheds a lot less! Don’t ask me why….it just does!
Can Minky be pieced easily enough for backing a throw-sized quilt?
Yes! Especially the luxe cuddle styles as the fur hides the seam
I’ve never used Minky or Cuddle on a home sewing machine but have quilted on a long arm with it several times and it’s wonderful. Here’s a tip: after cutting a piece and before sewing with it, toss the newly cut piece in the dryer on Air Fluff (or whatever your dryer calls it) for a few minutes. Really reduces the fuzz mess.
Yes, the dryer really works to eliminate the fuzz. I’ve used minky on quilts and robes for Grandsons.
Great info! I recently finished two lap quilts with Shannon minky backings on my domestic machine – one with classic smooth & one with the chenille. Used batting on both. Spray basted + sparsely pinned, etc. The only other suggestion I have is to not to quilt too densely—keep it sparse & simple. Better drape & less chance of puckers.
When you spray basted your quilt sandwich did you tape the minky backing down in the process?
It is so stretchy I am not sure if I will over stretch it.
A couple of years ago, I guided my granddaughter through her first quilt. When she said she wanted to back it in minky, I kind of freaked a little bit. After some research, we spray basted the quilt as well. She quilted every stitch of her quilt except the self-binding (which I did). It really went very smoothly. I was so proud of her! I’ve been using a handheld vac to reduce minky fluff since I started sewing with it. These are great tips, and I use each one.
That’s so great to hear!
I clicked on the wrong thing. I thought the “Read More” part at the bottom of the picture–was about Minki–but instead the $ at the top of the picture was the article. I love your blog. thanks
Hi Janet! Our website was experiencing issues yesterday that caused the “read more” link in our newsletter to be incorrect. The website is working just fine again! You can always find the main newsletter article by clicking on the very first image you see (in this case, the one that said “4 Tips for Quilting with Minky or Faux Fur”) or by going to our website directly. The newest blog post will always appear at the top, and you can also use our search bar to help you find articles! So glad you found the article and enjoyed it 🙂
I used minky for the backing of a denim patch quilt. Since it was so heavy, I tied the quilt instead of machine quilting. My teenage boys love them- both took them to college with them 🙂
They sound cozy and unique!
I love how you still added binding, it looks awesome!
I tried backing a cute double gauze baby blanket with minky- I spray basted it, used a stretch needle, polyester thread, walking foot, longer stitch length and sewed slowly – I kept skipping stitches – changed the tension on my foot – nothing worked well. Maybe too much spray basting- glue on my needle. Pretty much a disaster… I have an old Bernina-which sews beautifully. Couldn’t give the quilts away too messy! Any advise?
I no! You’re right in thinking the basting spray is probably the culprit. Next time try basting with safety pins, just use a lot of them. As for skipping stitches, that could be your needle. Switch to a regular Universal 90/14 needle and see if that makes a difference.
Try changing your needle.
This is such a beautiful project! <3 And, the quilt is so pretty with our Luxe Cuddle® minky fabric backing. I love the color that you selected- it turned out so great! Your tips are super helpful too. Thank you for sharing!
I am finishing the binding on a quilt with minky backing. I was frustrated by the initial puckering. The tip to lengthen the stitch and change the needle was a game changer. Also, I lightened the pressure my pressure foot and it eliminated all puckering.
The problem I have when using Minky and other fleece-type backing is that the cotton top shrinks after washing and drying. After the quilt comes out of the dryer, it looks so odd because the shrunk cotton top pulls the polyester backing forward, especially at the corners. This is worsened when using cotton binding. Unlike many people, I don’t like pre-washing my cotton quilting fabrics. I like working with crisp fabrics when cutting and sewing. I guess the only option to prevent the shrinkage and pulling of the polyester backing is to pre-wash. This is why I haven’t used polyester backing for quilts very often. Do you have any other options?
Pre-washing is definitely your best friend when working with fabrics that shrink at different rates! Here’s a blog post with some more helpful information about pre-washing that can help you when you’re working on your next minky quilt: https://suzyquilts.com/should-you-prewash-fabric-before-quilting/
trim the pile on the minky in your seam allowances. Like you do when sewing with fake fur. also makes it easier to put the binding.
There’s a good YouTube video (Robyn’s Love of Sewing) on how to use Press n Seal to sew with minky to help hold it in place and also holds onto the fuzz that you can just throw away. I haven’t tried it but it looks easy and helpful.
I do not like this fabric. I have made several baby quilts and towel wraps with Minky. I had to get my machine serviced again after it just being serviced. So much lint. Will never use this fabric again. The person who does long quilting in my area will not quilt if you have used Minky as a backing.
Good Luck to all who choose to use Minky.
I love the feel and warmth of minky I took a minky class and decided I would never use it again! The mess and it not staying together while quilting just frustrated me to no end! After reading these tips, I’m encouraged to try again! Thank you!
Be sure when using minky to sew your binding to the Minky side and hand stitch on the cotton (top) side. It would not be very easy to hand stitch to Minky if you do it the other way.
If you put your minky into the dryer with a couple of wet paper towels and let it run for 10 minutes or so, it takes care of the initial shedding problem. If you trim afterwards though, then you’re back to square one with the handheld vacuum cleaner which is also a great solution ; D
If you don’t have a hand held vacuum (as I don’t), after cutting minky or cuddle I carefully toss it in the dryer on air dry for a few minutes. This manages most of the mess.
Fabulous tips on Minky and faux fur! I have two pieces for backing I purchased a while back and now intend to use them thanks to your tips. I do have a question for Suzy. How do you approach binding quilts with Minky and faux fur backing? Do you still hand stitch the binding to the back as you normally would or are you sewing the binding on the back side and then stitching the binding on the front of the quilt either by machine or hand? Do you still use a 2 1/4″ binding or perhaps use 2 1/2″? Thanks so much for all the inspiration and helpful information on many topics!
That’s a great question! I’d recommend sewing the binding onto the minky side first, then finish by attaching it to the front by hand or machine stitching. Especially if you do hand binding, it will be much easier to attach it to the cotton side versus trying to hand sew it onto the minky itself. Increasing the binding size slightly would allow for a little extra room for the minky – even 1/8″ would be helpful if you don’t want to go up a full 1/4″.
Sadly, I am not a quilter or sewer but I would love to be able to purchase a minky quil or two. Do you sell them, do you take orders?
Hi Vera! Here at Suzy Quilts, we do not sell completed quilts. Our best suggestion is for you to reach out to a local guild in your area to see if anyone would take on a project like this as a commission!