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Minky & Velvet Throw with Secret Pocket

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Minky... it rhymes with pinky and is the softer, thicker cousin of fleece. When it first appeared on the market, Minky was the go-to option for the cushiest, cuddliest baby blankets ever. However, the rest of us soon realized babies shouldn't have all the fun, and Minky is now popular for any project that calls for a thick, plush feel with unparalleled warmth. That's exactly why we chose it for today's beautiful Valentine's throw, and we added a velvet binding to keep the extra softness going to very edge. There's also a secret corner pocket. Use it to stow a special card or tiny present when giving the throw as a gift. Once wrapped around its owner, the throw's pocket can keep the TV remote within reach or use it to stash a handful of tissues for a Valentine's Day rom-com movie marathon. 

When shopping for Minky, remember the thicker the plush, the higher the quality. But high quality Minky is not just another softie, it's also durable. Its color won't fade the way cottons can, and it doesn't have the tendency to mat or pill like a traditional fleece.  

Minky is stretchy, so don't be afraid to use plenty of pins to keep all your layers in line. You might also consider a slightly larger seam allowance since the ends of the fabric tend to curl.

You can toss Minky in the washing machine, but it's best to let it air dry or tumble dry on a no-heat setting. Don't apply heat directly to the plush side of Minky (or any fleece-type fabric for that matter); heat will destroy any raised design and can actually melt the fabric. It's best to avoid ironing altogether, but if you must, iron from the wrong side and/or use a pressing cloth.

Check out the Minky options at Fabric.com and the Minky and Cuddle at The Ribbon Retreat. Fabric.com also has a nice selection of velvet, velveteen and velour.

Our blanket finishes at approximately 60" x 60".

Sewing Tools You Need

  • Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome DC2014)
  • Walking foot (optional but helpful with working with slippery or stretchy fabrics like Minky and Velvet)

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • 2 yards of 60"+ wide single-sided or double-sided Minky fleece or similar for the blanket; we used a 60" wide pink paisley single-sided Minky purchased locally (online shopping options are listed above in the introduction)
  • 1¾ yards of 44"+ wide velvet or similar for the blanket binding; we used a 44" wide soft pink velvet purchased locally (online shopping options are listed above in the introduction)
  • ¼ yard or scrap of lightweight fusible interfacing for the pocket; we used 950F ShirTailor® by Pellon
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • See-through ruler
  • Measuring tape
  • Yardstick
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Straight pins
  • Hand sewing needle

Getting Started

  1. Download and print out our TWO patterns: Throw Corner Template and Throw Pocket Template
    IMPORTANT: The patterns are ONE 8½" x 11" sheets. You must print the PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on each page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
  2. Cut out each pattern along the solid line. 
  3. From the blanket fabric, cut ONE 60" x 60" square. Make sure your square is straight and true so your blanket will hang nicely.
  4. Using the corner template, round each of the four corners.
  5. From the remaining blanket fabric, use the pattern to cut one pocket. 
  6. From the binding fabric, cut enough 4" wide binding strips on the bias to yield 265" of binding. 
    NOTE: If you are new to working with bias binding, take a look at our detailed tutorial, Bias Binding: Figuring Yardage, Cutting, Making, Attaching.
  7. From the remaining binding fabric, use the pattern to cut one pocket lining.
  8. From the lightweight interfacing, use the pattern to cut one pocket.
  9. You should end up with three pocket pieces.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Create the binding

  1. Stitch together the strips of bias binding end-to-end to make one continuous length. As with all bias binding, you will criss-cross the angled ends of the strips.
  2. Stitch together each diagonal joint using a ½" seam allowance, and press open each small seam. Again, don't forget about our binding tutorial if you are already confused. 
  3. Fold the binding in half, wrong sides together, making a verrrrrrry long strip of double fold binding that is now 2". 
  4. Because it's hard to press velvet without matting it, we suggest basting the length of the binding to hold the fold.
  5. Thread the machine with thread to match the binding in the top and bobbin. 
  6. Using a Walking foot if possible, and making sure the raw edges are perfectly flush, machine baste ¼" from the raw edges along the entire verrrrrrry long strip of binding.
  7. Cut off one 8" length of binding to use for the pocket. Set aside the remaining binding.

Make and place the pocket

  1. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the pocket interfacing to the wrong side of the Minky pocket.
    NOTE: Never press Minky or fleece from the right side without using a pressing cloth and low heat. We're pressing from the wrong side with a lower heat setting. 
  2. Place the velvet pocket lingin right sides together with the interfaced Minky pocket, aligning all the raw edges of both pieces. Pin along the sides and around the bottom curve. The top remains open.
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and around the bottom curve. 
  4. Grade the seam (trim back the Minky side of the seam allowance to ¼") and clip the curves.
  5. Turn the pocket right side out through the open top. Reach inside and use your finger to round out the bottom curve of the pocket. Gently press flat, using low heat and a pressing cloth. 
  6. Place the pocket wrong side up (velvet side up) on your work surface. 
  7. Find the 8" length of binding. Center the binding across the top raw edge of the pocket, aligning the basted raw edges of the binding with the top raw edges of the pocket. The binding will extend beyond the pocket ½" on each side. Pin in place.
  8. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the binding to the pocket top. We are still using our Walking foot.
  9. Fold up the pocket binding, hiding the seam allowance. Then, fold the binding in half, right sides together, and pin the ends in place.
  10. Using a ½" seam allowance stitch just the ends. Each seam should be flush with the finished side of the pocket.
  11. Trim the seam allowance back to ¼" and clip the corners, being careful to not clip into the seam.
  12. Flip the binding right side out and bring its finished edge down into place on the front of the pocket. 
  13. Edgestitch the binding in place by machine or whip stitch in place by hand.

    NOTE: We originally tested a machine stitch on our first sample, which is what you see in these instructional photos, but decided on the second go-round that we preferred the smoother hand-stitched finished (used on the main binding below) and so opted for that, which is what you see in the pretty finished photos above. 
  14. Lay the finished pocket on top of the paper pocket pattern and mark the two placement dots with pins. 
  15. Lay the paper corner pattern on top of the bottom right rounded corner of the blanket and mark the two placement dots with pins. 
  16. Align the pocket placement dots with the corner placement dots.
  17. Remove the paper pattern and pin the pocket in place on the bottom right corner of the blanket. It will be at a diagonal. 
  18. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best match the blanket front in the top and the blanket back in the bobbin. 
  19. Still using a Walking foot if possible, topstitch the pocket to the blanket, using a ⅛" seam allowance. Go slowly around the curves to maintain a smooth seam. 

Attach the main binding

  1. Find the verrrrrrry long strip of binding.
  2. Set up your sewing machine for a straight stitch with a longer stitch length due to the layers. If you're unsure of your settings, test with some layers of scraps.
  3. Using a Walking foot if possible, start in the middle of one 60" side and leave about 6" loose at the head. Pin the binding to the right side of the blanket with raw edges even. 
  4. You may feel compelled to pin the binding all the way around, however, on big projects like this, we find it works better to leave the binding hanging loose, guiding it into place as you sew.
    NOTE: For additional help, see our tutorial: A Complete Step-by-Step For Binding Quilts & Throws.
  5. Stitch the binding to the blanket, using a ½" seam allowance. Remember to lock your stitch at the beginning and to leave that 6" extra length un-sewn at the head. 
  6. Go slowly around the curved corners to keep your seam a consistent ½". 
  7. Continue sewing until you are approximately 12" from where you started along that first side.
  8. Fold in the head of the binding approximately ½" (remember you have a 6" loose head and a 6" loose tail) to create a finished end.
  9. Unfold the binding head so it's 4". Lay it flat against the blanket. The end is still folded over by ½". Lay the binding tail inside the unfolded binding head. Trim any excess binding from the end so the binding lays nice and flat against the blanket. 
  10. Re-fold the binding head back into its position, overlapping the tail with the head. Pin the overlapped binding to the raw edge of the blanket. 
  11. Finish your seam, matching the previous stitching line and making sure the raw edges of the fabric are flush. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.
    NOTE: We are summarizing the joining steps because everyone has their favorite way to complete their binding. If you are brand new to the technique, as we've mentioned above, take a look at our tutorial: A Complete Step-by-Step For Binding Quilts & Throws. We show detailed instructions for this overlap method of joining as well as an angle seam method. 
  12. Starting along one side, wrap the folded edge of the binding from the front around to the back of the project, making sure to go beyond the previous stitching line. 
  13. Thread a hand sewing needle and hand stitch the binding in place. 
  14. Yes... you could machine stitch the binding in place, but with the stretchiness and bulk of both the Minky and the velvet, we recommend finishing the binding by hand for the nicest finished look. 

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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Comments (6)

PJwhaletail said:
PJwhaletail's picture

Is this a single layer blanket? is the back side of the Minky nice enough to leave as is?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ PJwhaletail - Yes, as we mention above, we used single-siged Minky but you could use single or double sided. The back of quality single-sided Minky is usually just a solid color polyester, You can see the back in the instructional photos above where we show how to make the pocket and how to stitch the binding.

Jane Coombs said:
Jane Coombs's picture

Would minky work as a scalloped edge in a rag quilt like the one you have the tutorial for? Would it require a modification?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Jane Coombs - the scalloped rag quilt we did is meant to have raw edges (the scalloped edges) as well as raw interior seams, so you would need to make some changes. The minky can get bulky as a binding and as we mention above, it is stretchy. It might be a challenge to get crisp interior points on all those scallops.

Jane Coombs said:
Jane Coombs's picture

Thx for the input. I like the extra scalloped edge. I guess I will have to shop for more flannel. BTW, I have seem Minky priced from $7 a yard in the LA fashion District to $35 a yard at a high end dry goods store. What price range gives an acceptable product?

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

Absolutely the BEST tutorials!  thank you so much!

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