Sewing with plush fabric can present challenges. But, overcoming them is fairly easy and the results (soft and cuddly quilts) are definitely worth the extra effort.
Plush fabric quilt backing makes quilts extra snuggly. But, they also present some challenges that you wouldn’t normally have with cotton or other fabrics. Long-arm machine quilter, Nancy Sharr, offers the following tips for working with plush fabrics. The adorable fabric in these stitched samples are from A.E. Nathan Co.’s Coral Fleece collection.
After cutting plush fabric, machine-dry the pieces for a few minutes to remove the “fluffies” or “pills.”
Plush fabric stretches across the width, but not on the length.
Use a new needle.
Clean your throat plate, feed dogs, and bobbin case often.
Watch the nap of the fabric, especially if you want it to smooth out in the same direction.
When sewing plush fabric to another type of fabric, put the plush fabric on the bottom.
Plush fabric tends to curl when piecing, use a slightly larger seam allowance, from 3/8 to 1/2 inch. Press your seams open.
Use a longer stitch length, such as 3.0, when piecing plush fabric.
Use a walking foot.
Keep your bobbin case clean.
Set your stitch length to approximately 8 stitches per inch when quilting plush fabric. This allows the thread to sink into the fabric.
Use a lightweight, low loft batting.
Try to avoid the corner intersections when quilting, the thickness of the seams is very difficult to get your hopping foot over, it may jam your machine, or break your needle.
Only stretch the top enough to smooth it out.
Use a new needle; a titanium 80/12 should work well. The titanium needles stay sharper longer, and don’t get as hot as other needles.
If possible, load the plush fabric so that the selvage is parallel to your leaders. This will help reduce the stretching of the plush fabric. If you cannot load parallel to selvage, don’t crank the leaders super tight, just tighten them enough so the back is smooth.
Cut your binding strips slightly wider (about 2-3/4” wide) when binding quilts that have plush fabric. I prefer a binding that starts out at least.
Machine-baste the edges of your quilt before applying the binding to provide more stability and make the binding application easier.