Minky Fabric 101: Tips and Tricks for Working with this Fluffy Material

What is Minky Fabric?

Hey there, curious about Minky Fabric? Well, let me take you on a fluffy and soft adventure! Minky is like a super fun fabric - it stretches horizontally but not vertically and has a soft and cozy side that makes it perfect for plushies. Beware! This fabric is a bit of a diva and can be hard to work with. It's slippery, stretchy, and sheds a lot of fuzz, like a fluffy cat leaving a trail of fur behind.

The most popular Minky with plush artists, including myself, is Shannon brand’s Cuddle 3 - it's like the Beyoncé of Minky fabrics, with high quality and a huge variety of colors. But don't worry, there are other brands out there too, like Big Z Fabric Baby Soft Minky or Joann’s Soft & Minky line, which both are not as thick as the Shannon brand, but still can be used to make cute plushies.

          Solid Minky Fabric - Sage - 58"/60" Width Smooth Minky Sold by The Yard      Soft & Minky Fleece Fabric  Solids, Gray, hi-res
Big Z Fabric Baby Soft Minky          Joann's Soft and Minky
 Mango Minky Cuddle Solid Fabric
Shannon Cuddle Minky

Now, here's where things get fun - Minky can go by many different names, like plush fabric, cuddle, cuddle soft, microfiber plush, microfiber fleece, minkee, and more! It's like Minky is a celebrity with a bunch of different stage names. But watch out if you're in the UK, because a cleaning products company has trademarked the name "Minky", so stores there can't use it. Instead, they call it soft boa, toy boa, or minky velboa.

Where Can You Buy Minky Fabric? 

Let me tell you, finding the perfect Minky fabric can be quite an adventure! While some fabric stores may carry Minky, it's not always easy to find, and the colors may be limited. That's why most plush artists tend to stick with their preferred brand and order online, where they can find a wider variety of options.

If you're on the hunt for Minky fabric, here are a few places I've discovered:

- CaliQuiltCo: This company is wonderful to shop at! I've snagged Shannon Cuddle Minky and Shannon Luze fabrics from them all the time and it's always a blast. They even have an Etsy shop where you can snag a bunch of fabrics too. 

- Howl Fabric: These folks have a howling good selection of colors, including their own line, and even UV Minky! I got the UV Minky before, and it is so much fun to make plushies out of! The best part is, they offer swatch packs, so you can see and feel the different fabrics for yourself.

- Big Z Fabric: If you're looking to stock up on Minky fabric, Big Z has got you covered. They carry their own line of Minky, which may not be the softest compared to other brands, but it's great for prototyping. Plus, they have swatches available so you can compare them to other brands of Minky. Best of all, their prices are unbeatable and you can buy in bulk! 

How do you Trace or Mark on Minky?

Alright, let's talk tracing on Minky! This fabric can be a bit of a drama queen, so you'll want to make sure you have the right tools. Stay away from pointy pens that can catch and pull the fabric - unless you want to give your plushie a punk rock look! Don't forget to test a patch of fabric first to avoid any bleeding mishaps.

Here are some of my favorite tracing pens that I use consistently: Dritz Dual Purpose Disappearing Ink & Mark-B-Gone on the outside of minky, the Madam Sew Heat Erasable Fabric Marking Pens for lighter colored minky, The Gel Roller for Fabric by Pentel for darker minky, and the Uni-Ball Signo Gel Pen in White for dark fabrics. 




Now, here's the trick - make sure your Minky is totally flat when you're tracing. This fabric can get pretty stretchy, so if it's not flat, you might end up with a distorted pattern. And when you're tracing pattern pieces, hold them down so they don't slide around - maybe bribe them with some cuddles? Okay, bribing them might not work, but I love using these pattern weights to help keep the fabric from shifting everywhere. 

Blue Pattern Weights by Dritz

If you need to make straight lines, use a straight edge that won't budge. I like to use these cork-backed rulers that are as stable as a rock. But if you're feeling fancy, you can use a clear quilting ruler with a non-slip coating or add some nonslip grips to the back. Now go forth and trace with confidence!


Clear Quilting Ruller with Non-slip Coating                 Cork-Backed Ruler


How to Cut Minky: Tips and Tricks for Taming this Fluffy Beast 

Minky - the fluffy, cozy, and oh-so-soft fabric that we all love to snuggle up with. But let's be real, cutting this stuff can be a real challenge. It's so slippery, stretchy, and did we mention it sheds like crazy? But fear not, dear sewist! With a little bit of know-how and some handy tools, we'll have you cutting minky like a pro in no time.

First things first, let's talk about tools. Minky is made of plastic, so it can be tough on your cutting tools. Make sure your fabric scissors, rotary cutter, or craft knife are nice and sharp before you start cutting. And don't forget to have extra blades or sharpeners on hand in case you need them. 



When tackling a high pile minky like Shannon’s Luxe line, grab an X-Acto knife or a crafty blade to delicately trim only the backing. Be careful not to slice the fur itself, or you might unveil some unwanted weird seams, ruining your masterpiece look!

Let's not forget about the fluff. Minky sheds like crazy, so be prepared to find it everywhere. A handheld vacuum or lint roller will be your best friend when it comes to cleanup. If you're feeling adventurous, give your project a vigorous shake to remove any excess fluff over a trashcan if you can. Just make sure you're not doing it over the carpet since they like to hide in odd places!



How to Sew Minky Fabric?

Minky fabric may be cute and cuddly, but it can be a bit of a slippery devil to work with! But fear not, my crafty friend, for there are ways to tame this fabric beast when sewing.

First up, let's talk pins. You'll want to use a whole bunch of them - think every inch or so - to keep those layers from sliding all over the place. Don't sew over the pins, but don't remove them too soon either. You want those little guys holding everything together for as long as possible. To avoid pin-drop disasters, I suggest a magnetic pin holder. Trust me, accidentally stepping on a pin is not fun. Alternatively, you could try using sewing clips instead of pins. I've been totally into them lately, probably because they're fast and simple to keep the fabric in place and easy to spot on the ground when you accidentally drop them. 



Another handy trick is basting. Nope, not the turkey kind! This is just a fancy way of temporarily holding your fabric layers together before the final sewing. 
You could go the traditional route and use a loose running stitch by hand or a long stitch with the sewing machine, or you could spice things up and try using basting tape. It's like double-sided tape, but with a sewing twist! Make sure to get the kind that won't stick to your needle or gum up your machine and can be easily washed out without leaving any pesky residue. And if you're feeling extra fancy, you could even try basting glue! It comes in a bottle, stick, or spray, and will make your basting game so much more fun and interesting.


But wait, there's more! If you've got a walking foot, it can be a total game-changer. This clever gadget adds a second set of feed dogs to the top of your fabric to keep things moving smoothly and evenly. And if you don't have one, you can still reduce slipping by using a Teflon presser foot or adding a slick surface with some clear tape. And if all else fails, try adjusting your presser foot pressure for a lighter touch (if your machine has that option). Minky fabric, you've met your match!


Let's talk about stitch length, baby! If you're working with Minky, I recommend playing around with your stitch length to find that sweet spot. I like to use a 2.0mm to 2.5mm stitch length - not too long, not too short, just right! And let's not forget about needles!

The right needle can make all the difference when it comes to minky. You'll want to use a 90/14 stretch needle, but if you're going through multiple layers, you may need to go up a size. Stretch needles have a shorter eye, a special flat shank, and a deep scarf, all to stop those pesky skipped stitches and broken threads when sewing on stretchy fabrics, like Minky! And remember - a sharp needle is a happy needle! You'll have to swap it out regularly depending on your sewing frequency. Using a blunt needle will only bring more irritation to your stitching endeavors with minky.


Now, even if you're doing everything correctly, minky can still be a bit of a challenge. But don't worry, practice makes perfect! The more you sew with minky, the more comfortable you'll get. Don't give up and keep at it, play around with your settings, and don't be afraid to experiment!

Cleaning up After Minky

Ah, Minky fabric, the source of so much joy and frustration! We've already talked about how to deal with its fuzziness during sewing, but what about after? Cleaning up after Minky can be quite the adventure, so let's dive in!

First things first, you'll want to do a pass of your sewing space and yourself to clean up any rogue fluff. Because let's face it, Minky can shed like a fluffy cat on a hot summer day! But don't worry, a lint roller and handheld vacuum can be your best friend in this situation. Use the lint roller on your finished project and use a handheld vacuum on any areas where the fluff has accumulated, and voila - all cleaned up!

Now, here's a little tip that can save you some headaches down the line: make sure to clean out your sewing machine regularly when using Minky fabric. The fluff can collect inside the machine itself, which can cause some serious issues if left unchecked. But don't fret, a simple sewing machine lint brush can do the trick! Or, if you're not comfortable doing it yourself, you can always take it to be serviced.

And let me tell you, those Minky fluff tumbleweeds can pile up fast! So, you'll want to make sure to clean your machine more often than you would with low-shedding fabrics. But hey, it's a small price to pay for the soft and cozy goodness that Minky brings to your life!

There you have it, folks - a few tips and tricks for cleaning up after Minky. With a little bit of effort, you can keep your sewing space and machine free of fluff and ready for your next Minky adventure!

How to Care for Minky Items?

Let's talk about how to pamper your Minky items, shall we? After all, these soft and fluffy creations deserve the royal treatment! And let's be honest, who doesn't want to be treated like royalty?

First things first, Minky doesn't like high heat. So, when it comes to caring for your finished projects, keep this in mind. If you need to iron them, use a low setting appropriate for polyester and use a presser cloth between the iron and the Minky to avoid ruining the nap. Think of it like giving Minky a spa day - gentle and low heat to keep it looking and feeling fabulous!

Now, if your Minky is embossed, like a dimple Minky, ironing it can ruin the embossing, so be extra careful. You don't want to mess with Minky's unique look, do you? Trust us, Minky is a diva and wants to look her best at all times.

Steaming is another great option to remove wrinkles from Minky. The heat isn't as direct, so it tends to work well. But, again, be careful with it as it can melt the fabric if it gets too hot. We don't want to end up with a Minky puddle, do we? And remember, if your Minky is embossed, steaming can ruin the embossing. So, be gentle, my friend!

Now, let's talk about washing Minky. If you need to give your Minky a bath, do so with cold water and low to no heat. Minky doesn't like to be boiled alive, you know. And be sure to check out our ultimate care guide for washing plushies here. After washing, you can brush your Minky with a soft bristle brush to smooth it out again. Think of it as giving Minky a relaxing massage after a long day. But, whatever you do, please don't use fabric softener! It can leave a crusty residue on Minky, and we don't want that. No one likes a crusty Minky, trust us.

I hope this Minky Guide assists you in your next fun project!

 Quick note, some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means I will receive a small commission if you order a product through one of my links. I only recommend products I believe in and use myself. 


Be sure to check out our plushie collections and find that plush that is unique and one-of-a-kind like you!



Back to blog

Leave a comment