Four Easy Tips for Working with Plush Fabrics

Hi! This is Bia from Ms.Elaineous and Shannon Fabrics! Like many of you, I have favorites when it comes to sewing: favorite thread, favorite needles and even favorite fabric. It’s the stuff I’m most comfortable with. A few years ago a friend asked me about Shannon Cuddle fabric. I had never made anything with Minky or other plush fabrics so I really couldn’t comment. And honestly, when it came to that type of fabric, I was out of my comfort zone. I didn’t have kids or grandkids so I saw no need to even experiment with it. It also kind of scared me; it was stretchy, thick, soft and messy and, well, plush. Yikes! But she persisted and I eventually relented. And before I knew it, I was a Cuddle convert.

I will admit that the fabric is a bit tricky to work with. But over the past year I really challenged myself to break from what’s comfortable. Sure, I filled my trash can with projects gone awry, but along the way I learned a lot about sewing with plush fabrics. And it’s paid off in spades. I’ve filled my home with beautiful blankets and accessories. So in addition to the tips and tricks that you can find on the Shannnon Fabrics blog, here’s what you can do to make sewing this luxurious fabric easier in four easy steps:

1. In general, when sewing plush fabric, use a walking foot and a 14/90 universal needle. Cuddle and other plush fabrics are usually knits and they should be treated as such: it’s thick so your walking foot helps the fabric feed evenly and a larger needle pierces the fabric.

2. Cuddle is slippery– especially the back– which makes laying it out on a cutting mat problematic. If you can, fold it over with right sides together. The nap on one side of the fabric grabs the nap on the other side of the fabric, almost like hook-and-loop tape. It won’t budge.

3. Cuddle is the perfect fabric for making stuffed animals and toys, but cutting pattern pieces is difficult because the fabric is thick, and it curls and shifts. Enter Pellon Easy-Knit® fusible interfacing! Trace your pattern on the smooth side of the interfacing (I use a fine-tip permanent marker), leaving about ½” between the designs.

Once you are done tracing, cut the pattern pieces about ¼” bigger and fuse them to the back of your plush fabric.

Then all you need to do is cut the pattern pieces to the correct size and get busy sewing! I used this technique to make a cute beach ball!

4. Cuddle makes beautiful scarves and accessories and toys and so many things. But, again, it’s a knit so it stretches. This might lead to some wonky, puckery projects. Once again, Pellon Easy-Knit® comes to the rescue. Both plush fabrics and Pellon Easy-Knit® stretch in one direction but not the other; this is referred to as the crosswise stretch and lengthwise stretch.

When the interfacing is fused on the back of the Cuddle so the stretch is perpendicular, the Cuddle loses most of it’s stretch; it’s easier to sew! I used this technique to make the cute Cuddle Cubes pictured above.

With very little work, you too can become “Cuddle confident.” It doesn’t take much. And let’s face it, Minky and other plush fabrics are way too wonderful to limit to baby blankets!

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