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How to Piece Minky

Are you tearing your hair out trying to piece a quilt back out of Minky, or maybe you’d like to use up those scraps of Minky for an easy baby blanket? I’ve gotten a few questions from frustrated quilters as they wrangle the quirks of this fabric. So, let’s do some trouble shooting!

I pulled together a few Minky scraps that were left over from different quilt backs. I cut 12” squares out of what I had. You can piece with smaller squares, but it does get tedious to do detailed piecing because Minky has a knap and can be bulky.

Minky has a dominate stretch from salvage to salvage and a little give on the straight of grain as well… basically, it will want to wriggle away from you no matter what you do. We are going to try and eliminate as much of that as possible. If you’re not sure what way stretches more, just give it a tug and see how far each direction stretches.

Lay the stretchy sides of the blocks together. I laid my quilt out three blocks wide by four blocks long; I made sure the stretchy side of my blocks touched at the vertical seams. Put a few pins in to hold the pieces together.

Now, use a zigzag stitch or if your machine has it, use this triple zigzag that takes three stitches in one direction and then three stitches back. You can narrow the width so the total swing isn’t too wide and shrink the stitch length so the seam doesn’t pop under pressure. Doing any kind of zig-zag will allow the seam to stretch a bit.

I sew about a ½” seam allowance. Give the seam a good tug to make sure the stitches hold. Remember Minky stretches and if your seam doesn’t stretch it will not stand up to use or abuse!

Now that the vertical seams are sewn, pin the rows together and sew the horizontal seams. Be sure to “nest” the seams from each row so the bulk doesn’t get too thick.

Press all the seams out flat (although this is just about worthless, they never really lay flat). Lay the whole quilt top face down onto the quilt backing; in this case I am using flannel and no batting. Pin the two layers together generously all the way around.

When sewing stretchy Minky to non stretchy flannel (or any other non stretchy fabric), you want to place the stretchy fabric towards the feed dogs, this way they can do the work of drawing up any excess. Use the same zig-zag stitch to sew all the way around leaving a hole to turn the quilt right side out.

Once it’s turned right side out, close up the hole and top stitch all the way around using the same zig-zag stitch. It looks a little decorative from this side!

Ta da! :) and I used up some scraps that were just collecting dust. If you are just piecing two pieces of Minky for the back of a quilt, you can still use that zig-zag stitch. Be sure to pay attention to the direction of the stretch. Those two things alone will make a big difference!

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