How to Sew Minky & Plush Fleece

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With those of us in the Pacific Northwest worrying about the possibility of maybe an inch or so of snow in the upcoming week, my Midwestern friends are hanging out with the polar vortex that’s breaking all-time record lows and having to worry about their eyelids freezing shut if they even look outside.

I used to live in the Midwest and the bitter cold is definitely something I do not miss at all. I haven’t had to worry about frostbite or my car doors freezing shut in years!

People here complain about the cold all the time. I’ve developed a theory as to why – they don’t seem to know how to dress for the weather! The number of people who are standing around outside in nothing more than a sweatshirt (yes – even when it’s raining, which it does for just under half the year) completely baffles me. I guess when you aren’t under the threat of having an appendage fall off due to frostbite you tend not to take weather so seriously.

When it gets this cold outside there’s nothing I love more than to cuddle up in some minky or plush fleece, so today seems a good day to share some tips on sewing with it successfully!

I have my own warm and cuddly robe that I wear around the house whenever I get cold (which is all the freaking time! I’m hardly ever warm). The kids asked for their own so I made some out of cuddly plush fleece. I love these fabrics especially because they perfectly match their personalities!

Boys in robes reading book

Fabric Facts

  • These types of fabric have both pile and nap. Pile is basically the fuzzy hairs sticking up. Nap is the direction in which the hairs run. You can figure out which direction the nap runs by running your hand both up and down. In the direction with the nap the fabric will all lay smoothly; against will look fuzzy.
With and against nap
  • The longer the fiber the messier it will be to cut.
  • This type of fabric stretches in only one direction.
Stretching plush fleece
  • Even double sided will still have a front and a back. See the difference in this design? One of the Earths look clearer and the other more fuzzy. The fuzzy one is the back.
Showing the difference between the back and front of double sided plush fleece
  • Edges like to curl so a larger seam allowance (3/8 to 1/2 inches) can help.

Preparing to sew

  • Don’t prewash.
  • If you’re mixing it with another type of fabric that shinks, prewash the other fabric or after the first washing your project will end up with weird bunching.
  • Use a pattern weight instead of pinning which can distort the pieces.
  • Cut all the pieces so the nap is the same direction.
  • Cut only one layer at a time. If your pattern calls for cutting on the fold make sure you remember to flip your pattern over when cutting the second piece.
  • Keep your vacuum or lint roller handy when cutting. I find if I vacuum the edge immediately after cutting I have very little mess. Just make sure to keep a tight hold on your fabric or you may find yourself digging it out of the vaccum…
  • You can throw the fabric into the dryer with no heat to remove some of the fuzzies.
  • Because of its stretch use lots of pins – about 1 inch apart.

Sewing

  • Use a walking foot.
  • Use a 90/14 ballpoint or stretch needle. You can get away with a universal needle as well.
  • Use a longer stitch length like 3.0 – 4.0.
  • Lower the foot pressure.
  • If mixing fabrics try and sew with the fleece or minky on the bottom for the most even movement through the machine.
  • If possible, sew in the non-stretchy direction.
  • Try not to stretch or pull the fabric as you’re sewing.
  • If you have a longer fiber you can pull them out of the stitching using the tip of a pin after sewing.
Pulling caught fibers out of seams

Care

  • Always wash cold on gentle cycle.
  • Air dry or machine dry on low.
  • Never, ever iron.

Now that you have some tips for success you can make yourself something warm to get you through this chilly winter!

Boys in robes reading book
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