backing quilts with minky

You've probably noticed I am a huge fan of using minky to back my quilts. We live in a Chicago suburb and winters here are loooong and super cold. And minky is gorgeously soft and warm which makes it a perfect backing for most of our "everyday" quilts. In fact, minky backed quilts are pretty much the only quilts my kids like to snuggle in.

Every time I talk about using minky to back my quilts I receive quite a few questions about my experience sewing with it so, as promised, I'll try to answer as many of them as I can in this post. Ready? Here we go.

Let me start by saying I buy all my minky at a nearby Joann store. Now, their selection isn't ginormous by any stretch of imagination, but I always manage to find something to match my quilt top and that's good enough for me, since the quality is great and the price very reasonable.

I backed many quilts with minky over the years - lots of baby quilts, but also many throw sized ones as well. Largest quilts I backed with minky were three 70" square ones for my kids and I think this was about the largest size I'd want to go.

I really like that most minky fabrics are about 60" wide so many times there's no need to piece my backings. If, however, your quilt is wider than 60", you have to pay attention to minky's nap and make sure all your minky's fabric pile points in the same direction. It will help with hiding your seam.

When making a quilt sandwich, I use minky for backing, batting (usually Warm and White or Warm and Natural) goes in the middle, and patchwork on top. I don't prewash my fabric, batting, or minky  and I have not had any issues with shrinkage so far.

 I glue baste all my quilts, even the minky backed ones. My main advice would be not to be stingy with your glue spray. You need quite a lot of it (I spray both wrong side of minky as well as batting so the two layers stick together well). And, the same goes for pins. If you use pins, use a lot of them. I'd say overbasting is a good thing when it comes to minky backed quilts :).

 I personally would not recommend doing any intricate quilting on a minky backed quilt. I think these quilts benefit from sparer quilting which keeps them beautifully soft  and gives the finished quilt a fantastic drape.

 And, you can free motion quilt minky as well. I did a continuous eight pattern one time and it worked just fine. My eights were not perfect but it was not because of minky, it's because I don't practice FMQ :(.

  Good thing to remember though is that a quilt backed with minky is heavier than your usual quilt which means you probably would feel more of a "drag" when quilting it. So be ready for a bit of a workout :). I tried something new recently and I flipped the quilt minky side up while quilting it. It worked amazingly well, no drag or anything. This method, of course, only works for quilting where you don't need to see your top patchwork.

I use a 90/14 needle and my usual Guttermann thread when quilting this type of quilt. And, I lengthen my stitch to almost 4 on my Juki sewing machine (I usually have it set to 3 when quilting a regular quilt).

I've read somewhere that one should never ever iron minky. Sometimes though minky gets all wrinkly, so I tried setting my iron on nylon setting and press gently on minky's wrong side. I'm happy to say it worked well and all the creases were smoothed out. I wouldn't recommend you do it on embossed or dimpled minky though.

Well, I guess that's it for now. I hope you will give minky a try next time you want to make a super soft and snugly quilt. You won't be disappointed.

Wishing you all a fantastic week. Svetlana