How to Use Minky Fabric for Quilt Backing

Whether you call it Plush, Minky, or Fuzzy Fabric – this cozy, stretchy polyester blend is a surefire way to guarantee the most cuddly quilt you can imagine, but not without it’s downsides! Many people find sewing with Minky fabric to be quite challenging as it slips & slides all around, can stretch & pucker like you’ve never seen, and tends to leave fuzzy lint everywhere! I am here to help alleviate your fears and teach you the best practices to make Minky your new BFF sewing fabric!

I have been backing many of my quilts with cozy Minky since my 2nd quilt and I have learned a LOT along the way! I hope these tips and tricks help you take the plunge!

First off, What is “Minky” and where do you get it?

Minky fabric is also known as cuddle or plush fabric and can be found at a lot of different retailers. I’ve been known to buy it at my local Joann’s, online, or even use a pre-made plush blanket from Target as the backing for a quilt! (There are really no rules, ok?!)

Shannon Fabrics makes some really great quality minky fabric, which you can purchase online very easily! Just remember – the higher the loft, the more difficult and messy it will be! Here are some I would recommend, my personal favorite is minky dot!

What the FUZZ?

So you go to the fabric store and get your fabric cut and quickly realize that there is FUZZ everywhere! This can be a normal part of sewing with Minky, depending on your loft & quality, so if that bothers you, be prepared and keep a lint roller close-by! When you are done quilting and it is time for you to trim your quilt yourself, I suggest clearing off your entire trimming area so the fuzz does not get on other projects, and vaccumming the room immediately after you are done trimming.

A little about the Quilt in the Photos

The quilt you see pictured here is a really wonderful pattern: Sugar Pop by SuzyQuilts. It is featured in my post of my top 7 Quick and Easy Quilt Patterns and you could even cut out the strips with an AccuQuilt to make it even faster!

Cut Time, Quilt More

Do you use Batting with your minky?

I do use batting! My current favorite is Quilter’s Dream Orient batting, but any low-loft batting will do just fine! You can even leave out the batting if you want to go for a thinner quilt.

90% Faster Than Rotary Cutters

Do you Pre-wash your fabrics when backing with Minky?

I don’t. I do not pre-wash any of my fabrics while quilting and I actually quite love the crinkle look that comes after washing! If you want to minimize crinkle, I suggest pre-washing all fabrics prior to cutting or sewing.

How to Baste with Minky?

Making your quilt sandwich is arguably the single most important step for success when backing a quilt with minky fabric. When I baste the quilt, I am careful to gently stretch the minky just a tiny bit and tape it in place on my floor (or you can use tables for easier accessibility if you have one large enough). Once the minky is taped down with just a tiny bit of stretch, I flatten the batting on top and spread it out. I prefer to use Spray Baste when quilting with minky because it really does not stay put in place without it!

Click here to read my Spray Baste Comparison to find the right spray for you!

After basting both layers of the quilt completely with spray, I also add in a handful of curved safety pins for good measure! Can never be too safe!

Quilting with Minky

Mark your lines: I use a ruler and a hera marker (or a butter knife) to create crisp creases that do not ever leave permanent marks on my quilts! I also add in a couple pins just for good measure.

Use a walking foot: I prefer to use my walking foot with any machine straight line quilting and it comes in VERY handy when working with Minky. If you do not have a walking foot, please believe me when I say IT IS WORTH THE INVESTMENT! I actually did not use one for years and would have had a lot more fun doing the quilting myself if I would have had one!

Take it slow: it is a walking foot, NOT a running foot, ok?!

Start in the middle: Begin your quilting near the center of your quilt and work your way towards the end. When actually doing all stright line quilting, I like to stitch a basting stitch along the top edge of the quilt and then use that as a starting point for my horizontal lines. (If you want vertical lines, sew your basting stitch along one side.)

Binding with Minky

For this quilt, I did the classic hand sewn binding method that my grandma taught me. The only thing I do differently when backing a quilt with minky instead of regular cotton is to make sure I cut wide enough strips (2.5″ usually) and test to make sure there is enough binding to fully cover the initial stitch line.

Do you feel ready to back your quilt with Minky now? Be sure to reach out or comment any questions you might have!

Shop deals of the week at shop.mybluprint.com!

Never miss a post! Be sure to subscribe to the newsletter and follow @homemadeemilyjane on Instagram.

Want more project inspiration? Here are a few popular posts:

Have a Quilting Question? Submit Future Blog Post Ideas Here!

Tips & Tricks for Crocheting Your Own Sweater

If you’ve been following along, you might know me as a hardcore quilter, and that’s not wrong, but over the past few months I’ve decided to dive in *head first* into the wonderful world of crochet! I started off a few months ago with dishcloths & scarves and have now officially completed my first SWEATER!

For a complete Beginner at crochet, you’ll want to check out this post: How to Learn the BASICS of Crochet. It explains tons about yarn, hooks, sizes, and lots of other commonly confusing things.

Continue reading

How to Make a Quilt from Start to Finish

With the start of the new year I have decided to start at the very ground level of quilting. I am going to go back to the basics and provide some beginning fundamentals. This is a complete guide for a total beginner and can also serve as a refresher for anyone else who wants to learn my own personal spin of quilt-making!

It is important to note that we all have got to start somewhere, so this guide is created specifically to help even the most novice person learn how to make a quilt! I began sewing when I was a kid, and have been quilting for over 6 years, so if there is ever a part in this process that you’d like me to expand on, fill out this quick link to give me some feedback and ideas for future blog posts! Also, you can reach out to me on Instagram or via email with any questions you have!

I’ve broken it down into 12 steps, and I am calling it my Learn to Quilt 12-step program. Once you’ve been quilting for some time, you’ll see why! 😉

The Learn-to-Quilt 12-step Program:

1. Choose a Pattern

As a beginner, you’ll want to start with something SIMPLE but that does not mean it has to be boring. You could go with the classic squares design if you want, but any basic straight line design would be perfect. You can find some ideas and inspiration in this post showing 7 Quick and Easy Quilt Patterns.

I have designed a couple quilt patterns I would be honored if you would take a look! The Explore Quilt pattern is available in 3 sizes and the Vintage Camping pattern is a large throw size.

2. Pick out your Fabrics

The pattern you choose to follow will tell you how many colors you need and what amount of each you’ll need. Some of my personal favorite fabric shops are Fabric.com, Fat Quarter Shop, and Pineapple Fabrics.

Once you have your fabrics you can prep them. Some people pre-wash their fabrics howver it is all personal preference. I choose never to prewash for quilting. (But I do pre-wash for garment sewing because I want them to fit!) I make sure to press all my fabrics flat, which is especially important if working with precuts that have been creased and folded for a while. I use unscented Best Press when ironing as I find it helps speed it up and creates a really crisp finish.

3. Cut out the Pieces

The pattern you decided to use will dictate exactly how many pieces of each size and color you need for your desired quilt. I highly suggest reading through the entire pattern before you begin just to make sure you understand the math behind it. If it is a free pattern, the likelyhood of a mistake is slightly higher since designers do not always have pattern testers, but I have personally only run into a few issues.

If the pattern you are working on is block-based, I suggest cutting out only one block first and making a test block before cutting the rest, just in case you notice something off or wonky that you want to adjust before cutting up all your fabrics.

When cutting fabric for quilting, there are a few tools that I HIGHLY recommend:

90% Faster Than Rotary Cutters

Once you get more confident in your quilting and want to take it to the next level, I really can not say enough about how much I love using my AccuQuilt to cut out my pieces! It saves so much time and is way more precise than I could ever get it with a rotary blade.

Have a Quilting Question? Submit Future Blog Post Ideas Here!

4. Sew the Pieces together

People use many different techniques when choosing how to sew their pieces together. As a beginner, I definitely suggest you use PINS – lots of pins!

If you are entirely new to quilting, and plan to use a sewing machine, you need to see if your sewing machine has a 1/4″ foot. Having a foot with a guide is helpful but not entirely necessary. Before sewing your pieces together, do a few test seams to make sure you know where the 1/4″ mark is. Many people choose to do a “scant” quarter inch which is really just a weird term to mean just a thread or two smaller than a 1/4″ to allow space for the way it turns over itself when pulled flat.

If you do not have access to a sewing machine, don’t let that deter you from quilting! Quilts have been around for much much longer than sewing machines! Find a needle and thread and practice hand sewing some 1/4″ seams. It may help to draw lines on the wrong side of your fabric at the 1/4″ point to serve as a guide for hand stitching.

Sulky.com Embroidery, Quilting & Decorative Thread

As far as thread choice goes, there are SO many out there. I recommend using a 50 or 60 weight cotton thread for piecing. Sometimes I put an even smaller thread in my bobbin so I can go longer without changing it.

If you have never tried chain sewing, it saves a ton of time. First, lay out your pieces how they will go into the quilt, then pin them together wherever possible. And then sew the whole stack of pinned pieces one after another. Once the stack of pinned pieces is all sewn, you go back and snip in between each small segment. A tool like this one can help separate the chain once it is sewn together.

+AP16 Oliso Smart Iron

5. Press the Seams

Your pattern should tell you which way to press seams if it is going to make a difference in the quilt itself. Many pattern designers choose to press seams open so that they will lie flat. I personally hate pressing open, so I choose to try to “nest” my seams as often as possible – or simply press to the dark side and hope for the best.

Pressing seams can be very important, and is another reason making a test block is a good idea.

When pressing, it is helpful to use a nice hot iron, a wool pressing mat like this one, and spray starch such as Best Press to get your seams as flat as possible.

6. Continue sewing and pressing seams until the entire quilt top is pieced.

The amount of times you sew and press will be determined by how intricate or large the pattern is, but the key is to ENJOY THE PROCESS.

Really though, this part should be fun. I prefer to do it in as large of batches as possible so I can have long stretches of pressing at a time to watch a show or listen to an audio book while I do it. Experiment for what works for you to find your rhythm.

Fat Quarter Shop Quilting Fabrics and Supplies

7. Pick out Batting and Baste the Quilt

There are SO many different kinds of batting out there – it can be one of the most overwhelming steps of the process. There’s cotton, wool, poly, even blends of multiple fibers! Don’t let it overwhelm you. I personally prefer a bamboo blend but called Quilter’s Dream Orient but I suggest you find what works best for you! The only type I do NOT recommend would be super high loft as it can be very difficult to work with.

If you need some ideas to get started check out Warm and White, or this simple cotton batting. Be sure to read the packaging to see how far apart the stitching can be – this will dictate how densely you should quilt it to keep it from falling apart in the wash. One of the many reasons I choose Quilter’s Dream Orient is that I can quilt up to 8″ apart and works great for hand quilting or machine quilting!

Basteing the quilt can be done in a variety of techniques, including pinning, spraying, or hand stitching. Find out more details and my preferred basteing method in this post about Spray Baste comparisons.

Cut Time, Quilt More

8. Decide on your quilting plans

Now that you know how far apart you can get away with quilting your quilt, you get to think about and plan out how you want to do the quilting. Do you want to do it on your machine? or how about hand sewing? Or maybe you want to try tying it like our ancestors did! This is one of the steps of quilting that provides the most options!

If you decide to do it on your machine, there are two main ways to do it – straight lines or Free Motion, both having their own values and challenges. If doing straight line quilting I highly recommend finding a walking foot for your sewing machine! I didn’t know these amazing tools existed for the first few years of my quilting journey and I can’t live without mine now!

To read more about the things you need to get started with hand quilting check out my list of Hand Quilting Essentials.

Once you have decided on your plans, you can mark the designs on your quilt – I like to use a Hera Marker to show me where to quilt. If you are choosing to do Free Motion Quilting, marking is not necessary but having a plan of what motifs to do in each section can be really helpful!

Everything you need to quilt and sew at Shop.MyBluprint.com

9. Quilt It

Finally, it is time to QUILT! My advice here is to take it slow and not be afraid to rip out seams. If you are truly brand new, try making a practice mini sandwich with some scraps and test out some stitches to determine stitch length and see if you tension is working well.

If you have no idea how to tell if your tension is ok, you want to make sure the place the top thread and bobbin thread meet is hidden inside the layers of the quilt. Check out your specific machine user manual to find out more.

10. Bind it

Binding a quilt is often something people LOVE or HATE. I fall squarely on the LOVE side. Just like many of the other steps of quilting, there are of course many ways to bind a quilt! You can bind it completely with your sewing machine, or sew it on first on one side and then flip and hand stitch onto the other side. I plan to share another blog post soon going into more detail on binding techniques.

11. Put a Label on it!

I could go on for days about my love of quilt labels! Quilt labels are the reason why I got an embroidery machine, because I adore how professional and lasting an embroidered quilt label is, but of course, you can also make it as simple as writing on the back of the quilt with a nice fabric marker. Do what suits you best, and check out this post for common things to put on your label and to learn exactly how I make mine.

12. Wash and snuggle up!

This step might sound pretty easy, but if you decided not to prewash your fabrics, this can also be the scariest part! I have heard way too many horror stories about colors bleeding, so I am always sure to wash mine with a few Color Catchers. I prefer to wash on cold and tumble dry low.

My Favorite Quilting Resources:

As a millennial, you might imagine that I am all about web-based resources and you wouldn’t be wrong, but nothing quite compares to the amazing transfer of knowledge that can happen face-to-face with other quilters. Find your local quilt shop, quilting guild, or even a fellow someone wanting to learn with you. Community is key to success when it comes to creative works.

Constant Inspiration: Instagram and Pinterest! Its easy to get sucked into both of these apps but for good reason! Instagram is where you can go to find all the latest news in the quilting world, and Pinterest is great to bookmark techniques that you want to try! Be sure to follow me @homemadeemilyjane on both sites!

Facebook groups are an amazing way to build community and learn from other creative people! I am in a few and love the hive-mind mentality!

Youtube! I personally am not really great at following along on a video but I have to include it here because I have heard from so many people who looove it. Try checking out Missouri Star Quilt Company’s free pattern tutorials!

Annie’s Creative Studio or BluPrint classes can be super helpful to learn new techniques and get tons of amazing patterns at your fingertips! Get a FREE Trial of video classes here.

Have a Quilting Question? Submit Future Blog Post Ideas Here!

3 Great Quilting Charities to Get Involved With

Are you a quilter looking for a good organization to help you put your quilts into the hands of people who will love and appreciate them? Or maybe you have a lot of fabric you need to get rid of since you have way too much? I am here to help point you in the direction of a few really wonderful non-profit organizations who devote time, energy, and resources to helping get beautiful homemade quilts into the hands of people who need the extra warmth and love!

I hope this post will inspire you towards using your special talents to help spread the warmth and love a quilt can bring to someone else. Please also comment on this post any other wonderful charitable organizations you are a part of as well that could use the help of the quilting community!

Continue reading

16 Awesome Gifts for the Quilter in Your Life

In honor of the holiday shopping season already being in full swing, I am sharing with you a GIFT GUIDE for the sewists, makers, and quilters out there! If you are seeking the perfect Chistmas gift, holiday gift, or birthday gift for a quilter – look no further!

This Quilter’s holiday gift guide includes inspiration to help you buy the perfect present to show your love, appreciation, and support to your favorite quilter!

Fabrics

Who wouldn’t LOVE more fabric for their stash? If you have a quilter in mind, I would suggest buying a nice Pre-cut bundle! Fat Quarter Shop has a great selection! Every quilter can always use more fabric, right?!

Rulers

When it comes to quilt rulers there are SO many out there. My favorite and most loved rulers are the 12.5″ Square, 8″ square, 6″ x 24″, and a 2.5″ x 8″ one for more detailed cuts. You could also get Bloc Loc rulers which help greatly with half square triangle trimming!

Ruler Organizer

This helps keep all those new rulers neat and orderly! It also makes a great stocking stuffer! I know I have one of these on my own wish list this year!

Wool Pressing Mat

I love THIS ONE by Project Wool Mats! A wool pressing mat cuts the ironing time in half and creates wonderful, crisp seams! Seriously, it is life changing!

Fresh Rotary Blades

We all know you can never have too many of these! Makes a great stocking stuffer and encourages keeping that blade sharp!

Sturdy Ironing Board

A brand new ironing board for Christmas?? Only for a quilter! Check out this great one from Polder!

Quilt Kit

Most quilters love a nice quilt kit! I personally enjoy seeing the pretty, curated fabrics all stacked and ready to go! See some gorgeous kits here and pick out the one that reminds you of the quilter you have in mind!

90% Faster Than Rotary Cutters

AccuQuilt Cutting Machine (and dies!)

Gifting an AccuQuilt is like gifting TIME to the special quilter in your life! Who doesn’t want more time to sew and less time spent cutting and trimming?! Take a look at the Go Me, Go!, and Go! Big machines. (Many machines are on really good sales this holiday season!)

While you are at it, you might want to go ahead and get some dies or even a bundle! I personally started with the Ready Set Go! System and I love it!

Fat Quarter Shop Basic of the Month Sale

Quilting Subscription Box

Gifting a subscription box is like giving again and again! Endless inspiration and tons of quilting goodies! There are a lot of wonderful quilting subscription boxes out there – I suggest checking out the Pineapple Slice box or the Basics of the Month from Fat Quarter Shop!

Quilting graphic Tshirt

There are so many adorable shirts out there! Check out Patchwork Threads, The Homebody Company, or even this cute one on amazon for the cat-lover in your life.


Husqvarna Viking Jade 20 Sewing Machine

Husqvarna Viking H/CLASS 250S Serger Machine

A new sewing machine or a Serger!

Is it time for an upgrade?! Surprise them with a high-quality Husqvarna machine! My Christmas came early this year with a brand new serger that I can’t wait to start playing with!

Magnetic Pin Cushion Slap Bracelet

I literally do not know how I ever sewed without this little handy pin cushion on my wrist! Snag one of these for a great stocking stuffer!

Travel Iron

This nifty little iron may fit in a small space but it really brings the heat! It is an iron/steamer duo and truly is great. You wont want to go to a quilting retreat without it!

Rotating Cutting Mat

Ideal for taking with you to class or squaring up blocks, this rotating cutting mat is a crowd-pleaser for quilters everywhere!

Thread

You know you can never have too much thread! Especially the basic colors for piecing! Consider this variety pack or maybe even a large thread cone!

Batting

Gift a touch of luxury with the super cozy Quilter’s Dream Orient batting! It’s my personal favorite and creates a wonderful drape on a quilt!

Want even more inspiration for what to get the crafter in your life? Check out my Amazon Storefront to browse own personal favorites! If you purchase from my amazon storefront or any other affiliate links, I will receive a small commission and be very grateful! Thanks in advance for supporting me!

FREE Quilt Pattern: Vintage Camping

Who loves a great free quilt pattern? I know I sure do! Right now I am going to deliver to you all a FREE beginner-friendly, accuquilt-friendly, throw size quilt pattern!

This FREE quilt pattern uses 12 traditional Churn Dash blocks and adds a border around all the sides, and the large scale of the blocks makes it great for any large-scale prints you want to show off!

This pattern was designed specifically to showcase the Vintage Camping fabric collection by Crissy Rodda! I fell in love with the whimsical mountains, bears, campers, and deer in the prints, and truly wanted to feature them in a classic, traditional quilt design to match the vintage feel.

Continue reading

Explore Pillow – a FREE Pattern!

Are you looking for a quick, fun, beginner-friendly quilted pillow or mini quilt pattern? You’ve come to the right place! I’m going to share with you about how I made the Explore Pillow/Wall Hanging Duo! The pattern comes in 3 sizes (pillow, baby, and throw!) and the pillow size of the pattern finishes at just under 20” square. The Explore quilt is a great project for quilters at any skill level!

To get the FREE Explore pattern, sign up for the Homemade Emily Jane Newsletter here!

Continue reading

How to Learn the BASICS of Crochet

Want to learn about yarn crafts like knitting and crochet, but so overwhelmed by the complexity of it all?

  • What is the difference between knitting and crochet?
  • How do I understand what yarn to get?
  • Why are there so many different size crochet hooks?
  • How do you read a crochet pattern?

Well, I was thinking all these same questions not too long ago! I just spent a ton of time researching and diving in and I am here to tell you about what I have learned!

Continue reading