The Minky Fabric Beast

That’s the pink Minky beast made into a robe

Some beautiful fabrics are a breeze to sew; other beautiful fabrics are beasts.  Minky is somewhat of a beast but it has a velvety texture which is a delight for the senses — and therein lies it’s beauty. It was introduced to the sewing world many years ago. One Minky version had raised circles which gave the beautiful effect of raised polka dots on the fabric; the other was plain which is featured in this post. Both had a deliciously soft and velvety pile on a knit base. Fast forward to 2021, I raided the stash to bring out the plain, velvety piece to make a robe for my non-fancy pajama set (see previous post).  I managed to make the robe but Minky has issues.  The major one is the extremely curled cut edge. I mean, as soon as you cut the fabric, it starts curling up, especially the straight eedges (not so much the curved ones). Since this robe is a kimono style, most of it has straight lines.

The robe pattern from a book published by The Great British Sewing Bee
My Minky robe sans belt due to fabric shortage.

Some Minky Tips: Please add more tips in the comment section if you’ve sewn with this fabric.

  1. Applying starch to the edges as I did with the cotton knit pj bottoms doesn’t work, because Minky has a nap on the right side which would flatten and get ugly if you press it after spraying the starch.  Piled fabrics (napped fabrics) don’t take well to pressing.  It responds well to “finger-pressing”, though.  And, that is a good thing.  (To contradict myself here, I tried a fusible interfacing on a scrap and it did not harm the Minky pile too much – so there you go.  Oh heck, I used a sew-in knit interfacing anyway inside the front band, the only piece which required interfacing per pattern instructions).
  2. If you have a serger, serge the edges as soon as they are cut out, especially the straight edges.   As you can see, the serged edges are beginning to curl again! Pinning the edges together with the pins applied vertically worked for me. 
Left, the edges curling after serging. Right, vertical pins are controlling the curl.

3. Wrap the edges with removable surgical or other tape; I did this on the yardage cross grain, before cutting out my garment. It’s fiddly, but it’s an option.

On second thoughts, the taped edge solutions is too fiddly.

4. Due to shortage of Minky for a long robe, I had to make it knee length, and make a faced hem on the robe and sleeves. Plus, I used the same pj bottom fabric for pockets.  The shortage also nixed the belt; what a bummer – I would have liked the belt, and am currently weighing options to make a contrasting one.  Meanwhile, a velvety, cocoon-like, beltless kimono is looking good.  Remember, this is a set of un-fancy pajamas.  Fancy set is a work in progress….

Faced hem with the pj bottom fabric
Faced sleeve hem
Pockets!
Alas, just knee length…

5. Remember that this is still a knit fabric and you should use a ballpoint or jersey needle and a narrow zig zag stitch (reduce stitch width and increase stitch length).

Any other ideas out there? Who has sewn with Minky?

Minky trivia: Here’s a link to the dotted version of Minky available from fabric.com.   Dotted Minky

Have a good week, friends! To readers in the upcoming blizzard: stay safe.

Samina

2 thoughts on “The Minky Fabric Beast

  1. Julie Eilber has some choice words for ‘dotted minky’. I sewed a pillow pal. I was going to make two, but I ran out of swears. Minky is satanic. This is unfortunate, as the second pal is a BMO from Adventure Time (I printed out a fat quarter of minky on Spoonflower for it). I’m going to give it a break and come back …. much later.

    Pleather is worse.

    Like

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