Add some super softness to your quilts with Shannon Fabrics, exclusively distributed across Canada by TrendTex.
Shannon Fabrics is a US company based out of California, and they produce the softest and plushest fabrics you’ll ever work with. They’re best known for their super soft minky, called Cuddle®. You’re probably familiar with both the regular and dimple varieties, but you may be surprised to know that there are over 1,000 different colours, textures and prints available to choose from!
Cuddle® is a super soft and luxurious fabric made from polyester fibres knitted together. It’s available in two different widths—60” and 90”—as well as in many different design options. These range from plain to dimple and embossed designs to printed designs, including digital prints, which offer a wider and more varied colour range. One of the biggest advantages to Shannon Fabrics’ Cuddle®, as compared to other minky fabrics, is that with the exception of the dimple design, it has a two-way stretch instead of a four-way stretch. This makes it much easier to handle and to incorporate minky into more projects without it stretching out or puckering—very useful for quilt backings!
There are a few things to bear in mind with Cuddle®. Firstly, remember: the longer the pile, the more fibre mess will be created—and clean-up can be bothersome. To minimize this, mark out your shapes on the reverse, whether a pattern for a toy, or simple squares for piecing together. You are then going to take a pair of sharp scissors and cut through the backing fabric only. Not only does this help reduce flyaway fabric fuzz, but it will keep the fibres at the edges nice and long and prevent bald spots. You can use a rotary cutter with a new blade on the standard, lower pile Shannon Fabrics Cuddle if you wish. Once the project has been laundered, there will be no more loose fluff, so you can enjoy your finished pieces hassle-free!
When it comes to sewing pieces of cuddle together, use a slightly longer stitch length. That way if you need to free some of the fabric from the stitched seam, you can gently tease it out from under the stitches with a tool such as a stiletto or a seam ripper—if you are careful not to catch the stitches. This is particularly helpful if you’re sewing one of the Luxe Cuddle® fabrics, which have a deeper pile and texture.
Other notions that will make your sewing a lot more satisfying are pins and clips. Even if you’re not a regular pinner, this fabric has more stretch than a woven fabric, and so you will have more control if you pin. Likewise, it’s best to use a walking foot to move multiple layers under the sewing foot more evenly. Stretch needles are also recommended for knit fabrics to protect them from being damaged and to avoid skipped stitches.
Lastly, if you’re making toys, run your fingers over the Cuddle® to find the knap, or the direction that the fabric wants to lay in. Once you feel the direction of the fibres, make sure you mark and cut out the pattern pieces following the same direction, so the finished project is all the more professional. You won’t be able to keep your hands off of this super soft fabric!
Shannon Fabrics has lots more tips and tricks on working with Cuddle, so check them out on their blog to learn more!
Now that you know how to work with Shannon Fabrics’ Cuddle®, we’re sure you’re keen to make something new!
Cuddle® fabric is thicker and squishier than quilting cotton, so you will have more fun making projects with larger pieces. This isn’t the type of fabric you’ll want to use for quilts made up of tiny patchwork, but you could apply it to the backside to make it super snuggly.
Shannon Fabrics makes quilt or blanket kits which mix different colours, prints and often include a Luxe Cuddle® design. There are also some cute playmat designs that come in fun animal shapes including lambs, giraffes, and penguins!
Apart from quilt backs or blankets, you could try making fluffy pillows, beds for pampered pets, hats and scarves, or even housecoats. The thicker and double-sided Cuddle® fleece or Spa Cuddle® would be just perfect for this!
While we’ve focused here on Shannon Fabrics’ popular Cuddle fabrics, keep in mind that they also have a great range of faux fur, waffle knits, double gauze and terry cloth fabrics, which are distributed throughout Canada by TrendTex. We always encourage you to touch, feel, and experience the fabric you’ll use for your next creative project at your local quilt store.