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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Making a Simple Minky or Snuggle Fleece Blanket

Minky and cuddle fleece make the BEST blankets. The softness and warmth is irresistible. You may have heard that they are really hard to sew with though, which makes you afraid to sew with it. While it's true that there are a few tricks to learn about minky and cuddle fleece, they are definitely not "difficult" and you can learn to do it!  Today you can see how easy it is to make a simple blanket using minky and snuggle fleece, with just a few helpful tips! 

Trust me, it will be worth it!  My son instantly fell in love with this superhero fabric and he wanted the backside to be just as soft.  Perfect! Here's how:  

Step 1: Lay out your top fabric on a large, hard surface. Don't try to work with sections at a time; it needs to lay fully flat all at once. Cut the selvages and straighten the edges of this top fabric only. If it has much stretch to it, be sure that it is not stretched unevenly when you cut. 

Step 2: Lay your top fabric onto your bottom fabric, with right sides together.  It is important for the smaller piece to be on top where you can see the edges, so flip them both over if necessary. Do not cut the bottom fabric yet! 

Step 3: Without stretching either fabric, pin the top fabric to the bottom fabric along all the edges. With minky and cuddle fleece you want your pins to be no more than 1" apart because they shift easily! Pay attention to the top fabric to ensure that the edges are still straight and it is laying completely flat. If the fabric begins to pucker at all as you go around the sides, remove the pins and start over. 

Step 4: With all edges securely pinned, cut off the excess fabric along all the edges of the bottom fabric so the layers match.  

Step 5:  You will now use a zigzag stitch and universal needle to sew a 1/2" seam all around the four edges, leaving a 6" opening on one of the sides. Use a walking foot if you have one, but it is not necessary. (I didn't use one today.) The reason we use a zigzag stitch and wide seam allowance is because it keeps the fabrics from sliding and puckering. This tip alone can take the nightmares out of sewing with minky!  (If you insist on using a straight stitch, be sure to use a long stitch and even more pins! Lots and lots of pins.)  You can see that my bottom layer shifted to the right a small amount but it did so evenly along the full length of the blanket so it looks great and won't affect the final blanket.

Step 6: Clip off all four corners as shown above. This is important to reduce bulk. 

Step 7: Turn the blanket right sides out using the 6" opening. Use a flat pointed edge (I use a seam creaser or ruler) to make the corners nice and crisp.  Once the corners look good, sew the opening shut using a zigzag stitch or a long stretch stitch. 

You are now done with your simple envelope-style minky or cuddle fleece blanket! 

Or you can get a little more fancy!

Optional: You may now choose to top stitch all around the edges of the blanket. I prefer not to on my thick blankets like this because with a lot of fabrics it tends to flatten or pucker them. But if you do want more of a distinct edge, you can pin the two layers together along the edges and top stitch 1" in from the edge all around the blanket. If you're not sure whether you want to top stitch or not, you can test it on two scrap layers of your particular fabric and see if you like the look. 

And that's it! 

Once you have this simple blanket mastered, you can move onto quilt piecing your minky or adding a woven binding! For one of those styles, we have the basics for Finishing a Quilt and Binding a Quilt here on the blog. Just remember that with minky and cuddle fleece it is helpful to use a zigzag or long stitch, allow a large seam allowance, and pin like crazy.

Let's Create!  ~ Kristen 

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