There are so many choices for backing quilts these days. From regular quilting cottons to wide backs and don’t forget flannel. However, many quilters have abandoned these traditional options and have moved on to cozy synthetics such as Fireside. Fireside is a 150cm (60”) wide 100% polyester fabric with a soft, velvety hand. It’s less slippery than Minkee, so it’s a little easier to work with. While Minkee may be more appealing to children, Fireside may appeal to teens and adults. If you’re thinking about trying Fireside, here are some tips to help you find success:
1. “ To batt or not to batt. That is the question”
Because Fireside is already so cozy, you may decide you don’t need to put batting in your quilt. If you think you would still like a layer of batting, choose something thin to make it easier to quilt and so as not to overheat the person(s) using the quilt.
2. Stay sharp!
As with other synthetic fabrics such as Minkee or fleece, you may find that your needle dulls faster than it does when sewing with natural fibres such as cotton, wool, or silk. If you start with a fresh needle, you can avoid the pitfalls of dull needles such as breakage, skipped stitches, or the needle trying to push the fabric into the machine.
3. “Has anyone seen my quilting? It was here a second ago.”
Because of the velvety pile of Fireside, it may be hard to see the stitches on the back of your quilt as the stitches can get hidden in the pile. Use a slightly heavier thread, such as a 30wt, to create more impact with your quilting.
4. Don’t skimp on the basting!
Fireside is a knit fabric and, like most knit fabrics, it is stretchy. To keep it from stretching as you sew, it is important to do a good job basting your layers before you start quilting. If you are using quilters’ curved safety pins, you should have one pin every 4” (10cm) both vertically and horizontally. Basting spray is also a great tool when working with Fireside. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your spray (use in well ventilated area and beware of overspray – you could find yourself in a ‘sticky’ situation!)
5. Don’t forget the nap…
No, not THAT kind of nap. You can have a cozy snooze with your quilt once it’s finished. We’re talking about the nap on the fabric. The velvety pile on Fireside is directional. If you are piecing the quilt back, make sure that the nap on the panels is running in the same direction. Also, it is recommended that the nap run down the length of the quilt, i.e. it should feel smooth as you run your hand down from the top of the quilt.
Next time you’re in the store, check out our selection of Fireside. You may find it’s just soft and cozy enough to convince you to try using it on the back of a quilt.