What is Minky Fabric? Here’s a guide to what minky fabric is (spoilers: it is a type of polyester) and how to sew with it!
Ready to get cozy? Reach for minky fabric – a plushy, warm, velvety-soft fabric that’s often used in blankets and quilts as a vegan alternative to furs. The unique texture and quality makes minky fabric a perfect match for perfectly snuggable sewing projects.
What is Minky Fabric?
Minky fabric is a type of polyester knit fabric also known as plush or microfiber. It mimics a soft “fur” or animal hide feel – but don’t confuse it for actual mink fur from real minks, small weasel-like mammals. It’s completely vegan because it doesn’t involve animals at any point in production, but it’s not necessarily eco-friendly. It’s 100% synthetic because of the plastic petroleum-based fibers that it’s made with, making it non-biodegradable.
Minky fabric feels plushy (it’s also known as plush fabric or microfiber fabric) and comes in varying pile heights. Pile heights can also be combined in textured patterns like dots, stripes, faux-crushed velvet and shapes. Minky fabric comes in every color of the rainbow as well as prints. If you can’t find it in the exact shade you want (check online catalogs for extra options first) you can dye it using synthetic fiber dyes.
It retains heat well but isn’t as breathable as natural fabrics, so it’s not ideal for projects where you want air circulation or moisture-wicking capabilities. Minky fabric is more suited to situations where you want a cuddly, heat-retaining fabric.
Because it’s not made with animal or plant products, it’s hypoallergenic and great for those with allergies. It’s relatively water resistant (but not waterproof) and not very absorbent because of the plastic nature of the fibers. It’s also fairly cheap compared to other fuzzy, furry, or faux-fur fabrics, starting under $10 per yard on the lighter end.
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Please read the whole post so you don’t miss any important information!
Minky Fabric vs Fleece
Are minky fabric and fleece the same? Technically, yes, minky fabric is considered a type of polyester fleece, but there are some key differences in the fabrics that set them apart. Both are made of knitted 100% polyester (synthetic fleece only, natural fleece can be made of animal fiber or cotton). Minky fabric is generally regarded as the softer of the two thanks to the fur-like consistency and comes in different pile heights. Fleece is also the same texture on both sides, whereas minky fabric is usually textured on one side and flat on the other.
How is Minky Fabric Made?
The manufacturing process is run entirely by machines. Minky fabric starts as polyester fibers. Polyester is made by forcing a mixture of polymers through tiny holes to create strands of fiber that are then spun together to create thread or yarn.
The polyester fibers are then knit together on a machine and trimmed to achieve a uniform pile height. Because it’s machine-made, minky fabric has a perfectly uniform texture and contains very few (if any) imperfections in the knit.
What Can You Make With Minky Fabric?
You can get really creative with minky fabric because of the whimsical colors, prints, and textures it comes in. Minky fabric is a popular choice for blankets and quilts, but you can use it for all manner of things, including:
- Blankets for adults, kids, and babies: This DIY weighted blanket has cotton for the top and minky for the back.
- Plush stuffed animals
- Cozy lounging clothes
- Everyday cold-weather accessories like scarves, mittens and hats
- Slippers and booties
- Baby products like bibs and carseat covers
- Cushy home accessories
The sky is really the limit with this soft, stretchy fabric. As long as you don’t need your end product to tolerate high temperatures, you can try it with minky fabric!
You can also customize your minky creations with Cricut’s Infusible Ink feature because it’s made of 100% polyester. Shorter pile heights will work better for customization.
Where to Find Minky Fabric
You can find minky fabric almost everywhere with a fabric section–crafting stores, department stores, online, etc. It’s usually found near the other synthetics, faux furs, or fleece. You’ll get the best price for it on wholesale websites if you want a large quantity at a time, but for smaller projects, you’re better off getting shopping deals at your local place. There are also tons of custom patterns and prints available on Etsy, though these are usually higher in price for obvious reasons.
Tips for Sewing With Minky Fabric
Be careful with heat
Minky fabric is made from polyester, which is essentially plastic. Because of this, it’s very sensitive to heat and will literally melt if exposed to moderately high temperatures. Stay under 300°F to make sure you don’t make a mess when pressing or otherwise exposing it to heat.
Beware of stretching
Like other high percentage polyester products, minky fabric has a tendency to stretch when cutting and sewing. Pin, pin, and pin again to keep the fabric stable when working with it. Double pinning is a good idea in this case (don’t worry about minor holes created by pins, they shouldn’t show because of the furry nature of the fabric). It’s also a good idea to use a walking foot and longer stitches to accommodate for stretching.
Watch out for shedding
Minky fabric is notorious for shedding large amounts of fiber when it’s cut, and these loose fibers can obscure your field of work and get trapped in stitches. Make sure you clean up any shed fibers before starting to sew your fabric. You should also increase seam allowance by a few millimeters to accommodate for any excessive loss at the edges.
When sewing minky or other fabrics that shed, you WILL inhale the fibers. It’s worth wearing a mask to protect your nose and lungs a bit.
Use a stretch needle
Using a needle that’s specifically designed for stretchy fabrics is really important when working with a flexible fabric like minky. Using a stretch needle will prevent skipping stitches and snags.
Check out my: Guide to Sewing Needles
Interested in learning more about different fabric types? Check out my other posts about fabric including: EcoFriendly Fabrics | What is Wool Fabric? | What is Linen Fabric? | What is Silk Fabric? | What is Cotton Fabric? | What is Hemp Fabric? | What is PUL Fabric? | What is Polyester Fabric? | What is Tencel Fabric?
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