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May 16, 2019 1 Comment
Hi, fellow RCF fans! I’m Rachel from Handcrafted by RED, and I’m so excited to share these projects with you. I’m part of the RCF promo team and I’m also a brand ambassador for Shannon Fabrics - so when I heard that RCF was using the Shannon Fabrics Spa Cuddle for their new minky base, I was doubly excited! This minky is AMAZING; it’s double sided and super plush. It’s 100% polyester so it’s machine washable and does not stretch, which makes it much easier to sew than you might expect.
I get asked a lot about what types of patterns work well with minky, and if you can even use it for anything besides blankets. YES, you absolutely can! It sews up the way any thick woven fabric would, and I’ve also had good success using it for patterns that call for very stable knits with low stretch. For these photos, I’ve used a range of patterns to hopefully show the variety of projects for which minky can be used successfully, and it should be noted that I didn’t size up for any of them either. The bathrobes are the Made for Mermaids Spencer pattern, one with a hood and one with a shawl collar. They’ve been begging for new robes for ages, and this was probably their favorite of all of these projects. My daughter’s jacket is the Ollie Bomber with a hood from Sew a Little Seam, modified just to add a little length so it’ll last longer. My nephew (the curly-haired cutie) got a Navigator Pullover from Love Notions Patterns. Both of my kids got pajama shorts from the leftovers of other projects as well; my daughter’s shorts are the Walk the Plank PJ shorts from Patterns for Pirates and my son’s shorts are the Coastal Craze baggies from Peekaboo Patterns. Still have scraps after all that? Use them to make a throw pillow - I used french terry for the backing of the mountains print and more Shannon Fabrics Cuddle for the frame and back of the floral pillow.
There are a few tips and tricks that can make your project go even more smoothly when working with Spa Cuddle, and it starts with the cutting! If you’ve got a hand vacuum or dust buster, keep it close. I tend to cut a few minky projects at once so that I can handle the shedding and cleanup in one pass. Use fabric weights or pins to make sure the fabric doesn’t shift while you’re cutting, and you can use a rotary cutter or sharp scissors depending on your preference. Because this is double sided (meaning the back is just as plush as the front!) there’s going to be a fair amount of shedding when you cut. I put all of my pieces directly into a bag and then bring that directly to my dryer. I put the pieces in the dryer on a no-heat fluff cycle with a damp washcloth for 20-30 minutes and all of the excess cut fibers go straight to my lint trap. There is truly no noticeable shedding after this - which my machines are grateful for!
When I’m sewing Spa Cuddle I use Wonder clips instead of pins, though if you’re going to use pins the flower head long straight pins from the quilting department work really well also. Pin/clip VERY liberally around your project. This will help to keep the layers from shifting. I lengthen my stitch to at least a 3.5-3.8mm, and if I’m serging I adjust my settings for the thickness as well (increase everything - the feed dogs, the stitch width, and the stitch length). Make sure to use a new needle that can handle the thickness and however many layers you’re working with - I like to use a universal needle in a 90/14 size, personally. One more thing: if you have a walking foot, use it! My Janome machine has a built-in Accufeed foot and I’ve found it makes such a huge difference when working with the thick Cuddle fabric.
Still just want to make a blanket after all of that?? No problem, the Spa Cuddle is 56” wide so a yard gives you a nice 36”x54” throw once you cut the selvages, and if you buy 1.5 yards you can make it a square. I rounded the corners using a salad plate as a guide, and then simply bound the edges. I used 1” fold-over elastic with a zig-zag stitch, but you can use regular woven bias tape or satin blanket binding too. It’s a simple finish that looks great with this double-sided fabric. It’s the perfect weight for lounging on the couch or for my kids to keep in the car.
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