My fellow fabric lovers, today's post is an ode to beautiful fabric and how to make it shine in your quilts. Below I have lots of photos illustrating my 3 tips for using prints with the Fireside quilt pattern. Some of these quilts even have accompanying fabric kits, so be on the lookout for those links.
Fireside includes Queen/Full, Twin, Throw, and Baby quilt sizes. One very important thing I want to bring to your attention — Fireside scales larger and smaller just like its companion design, Campfire. This means that no matter what size you make, the layout is exactly the same, only the size of the strips will change.
Why do I bring this up? The width of your strips will change the look of your printed fabric. Large-scale prints will get chopped more in a baby quilt than in a queen quilt. Small-scale prints will look even chintzier in a wide strip than in a narrow strip.
As we jump into my 3 tips for using prints with the Fireside pattern, keep in mind what size you will be making because that will impact how your prints look.
Fireside Fabric Requirements
Below are the Fireside fabric requirements. Visit Fireside Quilt Pattern: Color & Layout Variations for more color options, layout variations, and lots of Fireside quilt pics!
Tip #1: Pick prints that vary in scale.
Keep it simple by thinking of all prints as either small, medium, or large in scale. A great way to achieve balance in a quilt while using prints is to use a variety of sizes. The quilt top below focuses on medium and small-scale prints.
Catalina, the maker of this beautiful Fireside quilt, found prints in shades of denim blue and red/orange. She not only used a variety of scales, she also used a variety of different kinds of prints including:
- Subtle blender fabric (more on that later)
- Novelty objects (navy vases fabric)
NOTE: Don't forget that your quilt is a 3-dimensional object so the scale of the backing fabric print should be taken into account too.
This large-scale floral backing print coordinates nicely with the small and medium-scale fabric in the quilt top.
This Fireside uses two different light and dark prints that are the same in scale. They still work well together in this quilt for two reasons:
- One fabric is light and the other dark, creating a lot of contrast, but even more importantly
- Solid fabrics are making a buffer between them so they don't clash.
NOTE: I used some 100% linen and also some linen/cotton blends in this quilt. After finishing it I do not recommend using 100% linen because it moved and stretches too much for this kind of linear design. Linen blends are easier to work with, but still not as easy as broadcloth quilting cotton.
If you are unsure about sewing with various substrates and especially with linen, this is not the pattern to try out those fabrics. If you are new to quilting, only use broadcloth quilting cotton when making a Fireside quilt.
In the quilt below, Lisa of Lavender Fields Co. used a large-scale print as her Color 5 fabric. Notice that the larger the print, the more "blended" the pieced strips look. This is because you obviously see the print getting cut up which can "blur" the lines of the pieces.
With smaller prints, you do not notice this blurring effect as much. Many quilters purposefully use lots of large-scale prints to create a "watercolor quilt." Fabric designer Kaffe Fassett is famous for this style.
Tip #2: Pair prints with solids.
Having a hard time knowing if your prints vary in scale enough? Try pairing a print with a coordinating solid. This takes the guesswork out of it and doing so makes printed fabric pop. You'll notice that a lot of these Fireside samples mix prints with solids.
This is a Christmas quilt made by Lilo of Trace Creek Quilting. She used fabric from the Rifle Paper Co. holiday collection along with coordinating Art Gallery Fabric solids. The quilting is a pantograph called Retro Christmas by Mistletoe Quilting.
Lilo is offering 25% off longarm quilting on all Fireside patterns through November.
Lilo arranged her fabrics so that a print is always sandwiched between solids. Her Fireside fabric looks like this:
- Color 1: print (Poinsettia in Cream by Rifle Paper Co.)
- Color 2: solid (Aurora Red by Art Gallery Fabrics PURE Solids)
- Color 3: solid (Eggshell by Moda Fabrics Bella Solids)
- Color 4: print (Mistletoe in Red by Rifle Paper Co.)
- Color 5: solid (Eggshell by Moda Fabrics Bella Solids)
- Color 6: print (Mistletoe in Evergreen by Rifle Paper Co.)
- Color 7: print (Colette in Mint by Rifle Paper Co.)
- Color 8: solid (Hunter Fields by Art Gallery Fabrics PURE Solids)
- Color 9: print (Colette in Cream by Rifle Paper Co.)
- Color 10: solid (Sienna Brick by Art Gallery Fabrics PURE Solids)
NOTE: Some prints are so subtle they read as solids. Take a look at Color 3 (white and navy line print), Color 4 (orange print with white dots), and Color 7 (dark blue and navy crosshatch print) in the quilt below. These subtle prints add dimension to the quilt but can be used alongside louder prints as if they were simple solids.
NOTE: Don't forget about the binding! Prints are a wonderful option for binding. Even though the binding is small, it is the only part of the quilt sewn to both the front and back — so use it to tie everything together.
Stripes are a popular print for binding because the pattern is easily seen on a small scale and they fall into the "blender fabric" category.
This next quilt frames the blocks using solid fabric with floral binding and the blocks using floral fabric with solid binding, adding a fun detail that only the observant eye would notice.
Tip #3: Pick a foundational fabric or collection.
Foundational fabric, hero fabric, whatever you want to call it, the purpose stays the same — pick one fabric you love and build on that. Make the fabric picking process even easier by picking an entire fabric collection and then adding or subtracting fabrics from there.
Sarah of Sarah Made used the Sevenberry collection, comprised of small vintage-inspired florals, as the foundation of her Fireside. After picking five floral prints, she coordinated Art Gallery Solids with each one to make the blocks. Kits can be purchased for a limited time here. Her fabrics are:
- Color 1: Sevenberry yellow floral
- Color 2: Turmeric by Art Gallery Fabrics PURE Solids
- Color 3: Sweet Fig by Art Gallery Fabrics PURE Solids
- Color 4: Sevenberry lavender floral
- Color 5: Rock Candy by Art Gallery Fabrics PURE Solids
- Color 6: Sevenberry yellow/pink floral
- Color 7: Sevenberry blue floral
- Color 8: Ocean by Art Gallery Fabrics PURE Solids
- Color 9: Sevenberry pink/purple floral
- Color 10: Dried Carrot by Art Gallery Fabrics PURE Solids
Do all of these variations feel like option overload? Do you worry you have too many ideas to fit into one quilt? Oh, I know that feeling! Just remember that you can't do it all in one quilt. You just have to make more quilts! 😉
And any time you start to feel insecure about your fabric choices, just come back to the three tips:
- Pick prints that vary in scale.
- Pair prints with solids (or prints that read as solids).
- Pick a foundational fabric or collection.
You got this!