I actually don’t know if that’s the proper name for this fabric but its the only one I can come up with. It seems to be most widely known as that. Its a synthetic, which I normally steer away from, but its Oh So Soft. I got given two Minky blankets when I had my first baby. When I received the first one I thought, “oh gross synthetic crap”. Then I received my second, I sort of tossed it aside with the same thought, although I did note it seemed thicker and less static-y.
Then bubs actually arrived. I noticed that when I took her out in the pram or popped her in the shopping trolley bassinet even with a soft blanket down her little head would bounce about. One day I was rushing to get out the door to the shops and I realised I needed a blanket. The little darling had spewed over most of the usual ones so I dug through her draw and laid my hand on the thicker minky and put it in the car, without much thought. I got up to the shops and laid her on it and realised just how lovely it was. She was cushioned softly by the fabric and she adored the feel of it. Ever since it has been my “pram blankie”. The one she sits on in the pram and in the shopping trolley. As a bonus its easy to just throw in the washing machine on cool.
I’ve decided that I love using it so much all new mums in my life must have one too.
Firstly let me say, its not the easiest fabric to sew with. It’s soft but very slippy and the machine seems to grab it in every which way. Its very annoying as you’re sewing along nicely and then all of a sudden it veers off course. Fortunately as it’s so plush your wobbly lines are nicely disguised as the fabric fluffs back up around your stitches. If you’re generally on the right course you’ll be ok.
I have an old machine, it was given to my mum by my grandmother before I was born (so its more than 30 years old). I love my Elna. Although there are certainly some advances in modern machines that I’m sure would help you sew minky with no trouble. If like me you have a basic machine or a trusty old gal then here’s a way to make a simple minky blanket
Sewing a simple Minky Blanket
These instructions are for a single thickness minky blanket. Its easier to keep the fabric from from slipping if there is only one fabric layer. I also think it gives you more flexibility when using the blanket. You can easily double it over for warmth and cushioney softness or just keep it single layer when you need some softness but not all the warmth.
1. Cut one rectangle of fabric 110cm by 90cm. If you can cut it with a rotary cutter, it’s easier to get square and makes less mess. If your fabric is 110cm just fold in half so the selvages match up, then based off the selvage use your ruler and cutter to square up the other two sides to make 90cm. Even if you need to cut the selvage edges they should stay pretty straight for you but the cross grain will stretch and move, these are the sides you need to handle with care, through the whole project.
2. 100cm by 80cm seems to make a nice generous sized baby blanket. I’ve allowed 5cm either side as a generous binding edge. Serge the edges. Dont be afraid to feed in up to 2.5cm overhang. I’ve found allowing the machine a generous amount to cut off seems to help the fabric guide through the machine better.
If you don’t have a serger you’ll need to zig zag all edges but you’ll only need 2.5cm for your edges. Although if your fabric width is 110cm just go with that, it’s easier than cutting, your finished blanket will just be slightly larger. Start by edging the edges that run with the selvage.
Whether you serge or zig zag you’ll notice the edges will go all ripply on the cross grain. As long as your selvage edges are smooth you’ll know you’ve used the right tension.
3. Turn the self binding over and stitch. Pinning will help with this next step, but I’m too lazy. If you feel confident, just wing it like me, but take it slow and steady, no lead foot sewing here. Dont get frightened and go wild adjusting your tension and stitch length either, I used a very medium tension (5 on a dial of 10) and medium to long stitch length (3 on a dial of 4). Starting with one of the selvage edges turn your edge over to the wrong side of the fabric and stitch along the outside edge of the serged or zig zag line. Stitching on this line helps stablise your fabric.
Go back to the top and stitch along the inside edge of the serged or zig zag stitch. Do this to both selvage edge sides.
4. Now you feel more confident handling the fabric do the same to the cross grain sides making sure you ease the fabric as you sew to compensate for the ripples. This should happen somewhat naturally. Again sew slowly and steadily.
5. Turn your fabric over and look how nice and neatly and professionally finished off your minky blanket looks.
Give to your favourite new Mum or pop it in your generously sized Mum handbag (I know you all have one) so that its handy for your next trip to the shops!