The Free Motion Quilting Project: How to Quilt with Minky Fabric

Sunday, April 23, 2017

How to Quilt with Minky Fabric

This week I've been playing with Minky fabric on the back of several quilt sandwiches and I love the effect. Learn how to quilt with Minky fabric and machine quilt Paisley in this new Sit Down Quilting Sunday video:

Quilting with Minky Fabric BackingThoughts on Quilting with Minky Fabric

I really enjoyed quilting with Minky fabric. Honestly it was a lot easier than I expected. I've been intimidated by Minky for years, but once I got it basted up it really wasn't hard to quilt over.

The hardest part was cutting the Minky fabric which made a huge mess! At the store, the clerk cut it and ended up with red fluff all over her shirt, the table, and the floor. I felt bad because I had no idea Minky was such a messy fabric to cut.

I shoved it deep in a plastic bag and warned Dad that it was going to be a big mess so we were both prepared. We ended up cutting it with masking tape and that significantly reduced the mess.

Quilting with Minky Fabric Backing

We taped off the area we wanted cut out, then cut through the middle of the tape, then removed the tape and it took all the cut ends of the Minky with it. I did have to lint roll the tables and my shirt a few times, but it wasn't nearly as bad as the mess it made in the store.

To stabilize or not to stabilize

I do think stabilizing with some sort of lightweight stabilizer like French Fuse is a good idea. Minky is a stretchy fabric and the French Fuse stabilized the fabric and stopped it from stretching out of shape as I basted all my blocks.

When I quilted with fleece, a lot of quilters commented that they didn't stabilize at all. That's fine too! Keep in mind that I tend to quilt densely and whenever I've used weird fabrics in a quilt, I've always regretted not stabilizing.

I also do like using a batting with Minky fabric. I found on the sample I stitched without a batting, the Minky fluff tended to pull up through the fabric and show on the top. I also liked the drape and feel of the quilt best when fleece was the batting in the middle.

Best Quilting Designs for Minky Fabric

The other thing to consider when quilting with Minky is your quilting design and how that will effect the fluffiness of this fabric. I tested three designs on my practice quilt sandwiches: Stippling, Echoing lines, and Paisley.

Quilting with Minky Fabric Backing

On the front, the designs all look great, but on the back...honestly Paisley is my least favorite. That design has a lot of travel stitching which built up over the Minky fabric and showed up through the fluffy pile.

After looking at all of my samples I didn't really like this thread effect on the back of the quilt. I would stick with open designs that don't involve any travel stitching like Stippling, Matrix, and Ocean Currents.

What do you think about quilting with Minky fabric? Have you ever backed a quilt with Minky? Please share your experience in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. I've done a couple quilts with Minky fabric, and actually used it for the binding! I had to experiment with the binding quite a bit, but finally got a method that worked--the Minky fabric actually hid the machine stitching quite well!

    Minky binding tutorial here at bottom:

    And a queen-size Minky-backed quilt:

    1. Whoa! That's seriously brave to bind with Minky! I'll definitely check out your tutorials Melodie. Thank you for sharing!

  2. My friend quilted with Milner and she loaded it on her frame as the top and put the top as the backing. This kept it from sagging and stretching. I would think starching would help to keep it stable.

  3. I have never quilted on Minky but I will plan to give it a try after seeing your testing. Have you tried to fluff the Minky with a soft brush to lift fibers sewn down?

    1. I ran my hand over it a bit, but the areas with a lot of thread are pretty squished down. I think more open designs will look best on the back and they will get the quilt quilted quickly.

  4. I prefer Cuddle fabric by Robert Kaufman. I have used it as backing on a number of quilts. I have a friend who long arm quilts and began using it as well. The backs pick up quilt designs beautifully. My last quilt had feathered hearts on it. I'm traveling so I don't have a picture.

  5. I prefer to quilt with Cuddle by Robert Kaufman I buy it through a friend as no local quilt store carries it. Easier to work with and I love the colors. I bought a bolt (I got a discount for buying that way, one bolt at a time about 8 months apart) each of french blue, slightly raspberry red (scarlet or red), and gray.. not sure which, but was light. I usually use it as a backing to a cotton pieced top. Quilting designs show up beautifully. That friend uses a long arm, I quilt at my sewing machine.

  6. I used Minky once, for the back of a quilt. Let me just say that was my first go and it will be my last. I am obviously not skilled or knowledgeable enough to comfortably quilt with Minky. I did finish and the quilt recipient loved the quilt but I darn near had a break down during the process. No, I did not stabilize (there's that lack of knowledge). If I ever, ever try this again (highly doubtful), it will be with much more research and practice under my belt. Love what you did Leah. My favorite was the echo quilting on your Minky.

  7. I have been using Minky for my grandkids quilt because it is so soft. The problem I found is the backing sucks in so the back ends up to be smaller than the top. So to solve the problem I buy 1/2 yard extra fabric and I don't make it as wide. I love how they turn out.

  8. I've used mink in once on a quilt back. Didn't like it. It shifted a lot. Might try it again using the stabilizer. Love the way it feels, nice and soft. Hate the mess it makes when you cut it, but will try using the masking tape. Thanks so much for all the tips on using minki.


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