How to Embroider on Minky
Do you love the feel of Minky but have been afraid to add embroidery to this luscious fabric? Its cuddly-soft texture, stretchy give and lush fibers tend to scare the most courageous embroiderers. But don’t worry; it’s fairly easy to tame Minky. Let me show you how.
First, select a ball-point needle to handle the job of slipping the thread between the fibers not slicing into the stretchy fibers. A 80/12 ball point will handle most Minky jobs.
Eliminate the stretch during the hooping process by pressing a fusible polymesh (permanent cut-away) to the wrong side of the design area. Most fusible cutaways require a rather low iron temp so harm to the Minky is minimal. Of course, it’s always wise to test first. Make sure the stabilizer extends beyond the hoop.
Select the correct design for the fabric. Just because you want a design to work, doesn’t mean it will! Designs with delicate running stitch outlines such as this Brother Quattro built-in design are not appropriate for Minky.
Look for designs that have a complete fill (that doesn’t mean bullet-proof embroidery) that will hold down Minky’s nap with some open areas to let the fabric relax. This rose damask design from Embroidery Library is good example of a design appropriate for Minky.
Here’s a fun Steam Punk design from OESD. Unfortunately, only part of this design would work on Minky. Save this for t-shirts, broadcloth and denim.
Other possibilities for Minky include appliqué and embossed designs.
Select lettering with generous satin columns that will stand up and cover the Minky. The image below are two excellent examples of lettering for Minky (Floriani software).
The lettering shown here is too delicate for Minky. The opening in the Y on the left is completely closed while the running stitches on the sample on the left will be invisible once the water soluble stabilizer is washed away.
If possible, edit the design in software and add extra underlay to hold down the nap. Or consider placing a crisp tear-away on top of the fabric to receive the fill stitches then tear it off before adding the final details and outlines. If using this method, select a white tear-away for light colored thread and a black tear-away for dark thread. The stabilizer will blend into the background fabric. For instance, if you’re stitching Santa’s beard on red Minky, place a piece of white tear-away over the design area. Stitch the fill stitches of the beard then tear it away before completing the beard.
A water soluble lightweight film-type of stabilizer on top of the fabric will help keep a design crisp. Just tear it off after all embroidery is complete.
Select a hoop that is the appropriate size for the design. I use Magna-Hoop for all appliqué designs on Minky and Snap-Hoop for all other designs. The flat magnetic hoop inserts and hoops leave the Minky with no visible hoop burn – a real bonus with this stretchy fabric.
Finally, keep your bobbin area clean. Minky tends to shred and build up in the bobbin case can occur much faster than other fabrics. This shredding is why I try to avoid spray adhesive when embroidering on Minky. Imagine the mess you can make with the adhesive, Minky lint and the speed of your embroidery machine. Kind of makes me shudder.
Each embroidery project you tackle is a challenge that you can overcome. Just use some common sense, pull from your past experiences (okay, mistakes – heavens knows, I’ve made hundreds!), take a deep breath and move forward. Remember, it’s just fabric and thread, not muscle and bone.