Where do you get your fabrics?
Lots of places! So let me break it down for you:
United States Resources:
JoAnn Fabrics: JoAnn’s is a good resource for fleece and some minky. They almost always have Anti-pill and Blizzard brand fleece in stock (just be sure to catch it when it’s on sale). They’re slowly coming out with more plush fabric options, though the colors can be limited. These include Sew Lush and Swirl faux fur. Their solid minky is a decent option, though it might feel a little thinner and not as stretchy if you’re used to higher quality stuff.
Fabric.com: This is a very reliable option for Shannon brand minky (often considered one of the better brands). They have nearly every color in the Shannon catalog, and carry many of the experimental faux fur & printed options from Shannon as well. You’ll also find minky fabrics from other brands, including Fabric.com’s own brand. The colors are very limited but the price is cheaper and the quality is honestly not that bad.
Fabric Empire: The minky here is also very similar to the store brand from Fabric.com. The price is also low, but the downside is there’s no free shipping option — which can get prohibitive.
Big Z Fabric: This is another site very similar to Fabric Empire in both the quality of the minky and the shipping costs.
Spoonflower: This service offers custom-printed fabric. I use it to make custom designs for minky, fleece, and cotton. You can create your own design or choose your own from their marketplace of designs submitted by others. The price can be a little high compared to solid fabric, but they do sometimes have sales and coupons to help soften the blow. The main issue with the fabric (and many custom-printed fabrics) is that the ink from the printer does not penetrate through the entirety of the fur. So the base of the fur still shows up white — especially in dark fabrics. One workaround is to use lighter colors, but also to opt for textural designs, especially ones with flecks of light colors. For example galaxy prints help you get away with the drawbacks of the fabric.
CaliQuiltCo: I have not personally tried this shop, but I’ve heard from others that they’re a great resource if you’re looking to buy small quantities of minky at a lower price since they offer ¼ yd. and ½ yard cuts as well as bundles.
I haven’t personally shopped with any of these international sellers, but I’ve heard good things from other sewists. So these weren’t found based on a simple Google search. Please do let me know if you have any others to recommend!
UK/Europe – Plush Addict
Germany/Europe – Spoonflower: It should be known that Spoonflower has locations in both North Carolina (USA) and Berlin, Germany. So international buyers are not completely left out from their site ♥
Canada – Funky Monkey Fabrics
What sewing machine do you use? Any recommendations?
I currently use a Husqvarna Viking Emerald 116. I’ve had it for over 10 years now and it still works very well despite what I put it through! It’s a mechanical machine that only does the basics, but it does them very well.
As far as where others should start, I do think others would be successful with a Viking brand machine, but I realize they are a little more expensive. My machine ran about $400 at the time. If you’re looking for something cheaper, the Brother brand has been gaining traction as a quality budget brand as of late. Though if you can manage to go to a dealer to try one for yourself, you’ll have a much better time.
What embroidery machine do you use? Any recommendations?
I currently use a Husqvarna Viking Topaz 50 for my embroidery machine. I’ve had it for over 2 years now and has heartily put up with everything I do to it, haha! As far as price, it’s a bit in the mid to high-range and ran me about $2000 refurbished. So I would not recommend it for someone just starting out and wants to spend less.
I have also used a Singer Futura in the past, which had a good handful of problems. It didn’t completely prevent me from embroidering, but I don’t believe it’s a brand I would return to.
For a beginner, once again the Brother brand has been gaining traction as a reliable budget brand. I have not personally used them myself, but I have heard good reviews personally from other embroiderers. Models like the SE400 or 600 and the PE770 or 800 have been well-received. Ideally, you should purchase a machine that has an embroidery hoop suited to the projects you’ll be making. In the case of plush toys, the minimum 4″ x 4″ will still work, but may limit you with many designs. A 5″ x 7″ hoop will give you much more freedom by comparison.
What embroidery software do you use? Any recommendations?
I currently use a program called Hatch by Wilcom. It’s in the mid to upper range as far as price, so it has a few more robust features as well as fewer bugs. Keep in mind, this is a digitizing program, so it allows you to create entirely new embroidery designs from scratch. Programs that just have editing capabilities (such as resizing, rotating, etc.) are much less expensive and often come for free with your embroidery machine.
As far as digitizing programs for beginners, I would recommend a program like Embird or Stitch Era Universal. Both of these offer free trials so you can get a feel for the program before you buy.
As for simple editing programs, there is a free program I have personally tried for testing purposes, called MyEditor. This program will allow you to make simple edits to existing embroidery, including combining files (really helpful if you want to build custom faces from separate eyes, noses, mouths, etc.).
21 thoughts on “FAQ – Fabric Suppliers and Tools”
I love CaliQuiltCo! I bought some super fluffy faux fur minky from them for a plush and the fabric is super soft and high quality. I highly reccomend them if you live in the US a d would want to get fabric relatively quickly. The fabric is amazing in color and texture, check them out and try it on a smaller size plush if you buy their faux fur minky fabric. If you do buy that kind of fabric, be careful as the fur will get everywhere when you cut it
I’m from Australia, and I buy minky fleece from a brand called Minky n More.
They’re an Australian brand, which is amazing, and while they have a smaller range than Shannon fabrics, they are continually expanding it.
They primarily sell smooth minky in a variety of colours, and dot minky in a few less colour, but also have a collection of printed and embossed fabrics and quilt panels, as well as selling labels and tags, and offcut bundles (amazing for plushies).
They are a family run business, customer service is great, and their fabrics are cheaper than Shannon minky here in Australia. Minky n More is about $13/m, while Shannon fabrics are about $20/m.
This is a fantastic site! It’s very helpful and easy to navigate too ♥ Thank you for sharing this resource!
I bought some great plush at Royal Look a Dutch online shop in the Netherlands. But also on Aliepress you can find great fabric voor plush animals
Funky monkey is hands down the best minky I’ve found in my search for nice minky. It’s super soft and easy to use (imo) so I definitely recommend for Canadian buyers.
Hey! It’s me again, I wanted to ask a quick question that I have always wondered and I thought you of all people might know, how are plushies mass produced? Like, do people hand-sew each one? or do machines do it?
For the most part, the process of sewing and stuffing still isn’t something that can be automated. So humans sew most of the item and it’s the really basic steps that are turned over to machines. Cutting fabric is one example — the pieces are usually punch cut out of several layers of fabric. Embroidery is of course done by machine too. But actually assembling the tiny pieces and stuffing the piece is still done by humans — just with more heavy duty machines and in an assembly line style.
I hope that clears things up!
For people looking for a fabric supply in Germany – i can totally recommend stoffhummel.de. They used to sell their own minky fabric only, which is good quality as far as i can tell, but are also stocking up on Shannon Minky at the moment (currently they have around 40 different colours). Shipping to other countries inside the EU is affordable, unfortunately shipping to the US gets expensive quickly.
I am excited to learn how to make plushies! I make lots of amigurumi but never learned how to sew.
I was wondering what opinion you have of Brother AE1700, do you think would be suitable for plushies?
I am an absolute beginner and I don’t want to spend a lot of money on a sewer machine.
Hello! I haven’t personally used that make or model, but I know many other sewists have good opinions regarding the Brother brand 😊 If your machine has trouble sewing plush fabrics right away, consider using a needle for stretch fabrics or knits, since that’s a common issue that seems like the machine’s fault but is really just the needle. I hope that helps!
I have made a few plushies. The patterns are amazing. The hardest time I have is cutting. I think Minky might be too fluffy for me. Joanns is my preferred local fabric supplier—is sew lush the best, easiest to work with fabric? Thanks.
Hello! I haven’t used Sew Lush a lot, but I can confidently say it’s fluffier than minky and does like to shed a lot. It still makes great plush, but if you’re looking for something easier to work with, I usually recommend fleece 😊
Hello 😀 I was wondering if perhaps you were using a machine to cut your patterns kind of like a cricut machine? With stretchy fabrics i find myself with uneven pieces sometimes and I thought it might help?
Hello! I don’t personally have a cutting machine — just a pair of fabric scissors 😅 If the stretchy fabric is giving you trouble, you could try cutting it in two layers or using a layer of scrap paper beneath for some stability 😊
Thank you for this list. I would like to ask you to add what brands of thread you use for sewing and embroidery.
My sewing thread keeps unraveling and snapping. The tension is not the problem as it does it when just unwinding to get some for ladder stitching and snaps when trying to ladderstitch.
Thank you again for all you do.
Oh wow, I’m so sorry it’s doing that to you! I personally use Gutermann or Coats and Clark for my basic sewing thread. And for embroidery I mostly use Sulky.
That said, it is possible for thread to get too old and that can cause breakage, especially if you live in a drier climate. I hope that might help!
Thank you. I will try those.
My thread is just cheap I think.
Thank you again for everything.
Do you sell just the embroidered eyes? I don’t have an embroidery machine. Most of the eyes in your patterns can be replicated in felt but I would love patches for the facial features that on some.
I’m using your koala pattern to make Quokkas! Can’t get the face quite puffy enough so can you add Quokka to your list of potential future patterns?
Unfortunately at this time I don’t sell any embroidered eyes, but I’ll certainly keep it in mind for the future! And thank you as well for the quokka suggestion!
Now that fabric.com is shut down, is there a place you recommend for getting minky in the USA? I found Howl fabrics but they charge a lot for shipping.
I’ve been able to shop at CaliQuiltCo a few times now and they’ve been great 😊 https://www.etsy.com/shop/CaliQuiltCo?ref=§ion_id=14153505