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  • Quilting Jules

Can I use minky as a backing?


Minky is amazing as a backing, and quilts up so wonderfully on a longarm!

Up North Quilt | Minky backing | Ikat
Up North Quilt

I just wish you could feel this quilt through the computer!

Quilt with aqua minky backing | Marmalade
Love Shack Quilt

Minky fabric, also known as plush fabric, is 100% polyester fibers knitted together, with plush on one side of the fabric. As opposed to fleece fabric, which is also 100% polyester, but a two sided fabric. It is a knit fabric, so it does have stretch to it, usually in one direction.

There are two things to keep in mind when using minky as a quilt back.

  1. Since minky is a knit fabric, it does stretch. To prevent your quilt from stretching and having wobbly sides, I attach minky to the longarm frame with the selvages perpendicular to the bars. To you as a quilter, that means your quilt's width must be less than the width of the minky, usually 59" or 88". Something to keep in mind as you plan which pantograph you'd like and the size of your finished quilt top.

This is a quilt I did recently. The top canvas is my leader bar that I attach the backing to. You'll see the selvages of the minky there in the right bottom of the picture, perpendicular to the canvas leaders.

2. The second thing is the color of the minky and what color your top is. Since minky is a plush fabric, the fibers can be pulled up to the front of the quilt as it's being quilted. I have some tricks to mitigate this, such as using a thinner Glide thread in the bobbin and making sure the quilt sandwich isn't too tight on the frame. But sometimes it just can't be helped, especially with a printed minky or a dark color. The best way to handle this is to use thread that matches the minky.

For example, I used this beautiful teal minky with feathers, but the front of my quilt was mostly solid white background.

Here you can see some of the teal and black from the feathers poking up to the front in between stitches of white thread.

It wasn't enough of a problem for me to use a darker thread, and not really noticeable overall. The quilt is still lovely and cuddly.

Minky is available in two widths, 58" is the most commonly found. But you can also find 88" width minky online. The are usually solid, but you can find some great printed minky online as well. Just keep in mind what thread color you'll need if you have a dark, printed minky.

Many people ask if you should use batting with minky. I ALWAYS use batting. Since minky is one sided, the other side is quite slippery and without batting, your quilt top is going to move all over the place while quilting. I love to use Quilters Dream 80/20 batting with my minky back quilts. I've also used Quilters Dream Bamboo for an even more luxurious quilt.

I hope this answers some questions you may have had about using minky as a back for your quilts! I'd love to help finish your quilt tops, even those minky backs!

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