I love working with Radiance fabric, a blend of silk and cotton. It can elevate the look of your work to new levels. I adore its rich sheen and luminescence. But, it’s a bit tricky to work with.
I’ve experimented with a couple of products to stabilize Radiance. I’ve included photos of each combination but unfortunately some of the photos are not as informative as I’d like them to be-but they’re still pretty!
I’ve tried four different ways of working with Radiance:
-Secured with bits of Misty Fuse placed about 2″ apart.
-Stabilized/basted with Misty Fuse.
-Stabilized with Pellon Bi-Stretch Lite. First a word about some of the products. Misty Fuse is a unique fusible product that has no paper backing, fuses both sides and has little impact on the hand of the fabric. It’s a delightful product, one that I have used for fusible applique with great success. Using Misty Fuse will both stabilize AND baste the layers together at the same time-a huge bonus! Pellon Bi-Stretch Lite (BSL) is a one-sided woven fusible stabilizing product I discovered after having tried many other stabilizers. BSL is very light weight and also does not alter the hand of the fabric.
I have also tried many other stabilizers but felt that they altered the hand of the Radiance enough to detract from its beauty. I think of Radiance as almost two separate fabrics-the top side behaves like silk charmeuse and the back behaves like cotton. When you quilt on Radiance, you will inevitably end up quilting some stitches on the bias (unless you do a grid). That’s when it can stretch.When I was working on Golden Moments, each of the gold corner pieces had a 28″ish bias on the medallion. No matter how careful I was, I was getting stretch. That’s what sent me on a quest for the best fusible or stabilizer. The first alternative, using no stabilizer, just wasn’t working for me. I know lots of quilters go this way, but for whatever reason, I was getting tucks and too much puff to easily control.I have read that some quilters put down little squares of Misty Fuse between their top and batting and bottom and batting. I tried that and put bits of Misty Fuse about 2″ apart. That did not work well for me-the whole sandwich seemed to move and wobble.I tried Misty Fuse on both the backing and top, the whole thing. This worked really well for stabilizing the sandwich, making it a dream to quilt-nothing to get in the way of my quilting-wahoo! But, because it adhered every bit of the top to the batting, the puff was altered just a bit. It created little lines on the Radiance, kinda like a panty line, not that you know what that is… However, I think it would work beautifully on cotton. My last attempt was to use Pellon Bi-Stretch Lite as a stabilizer. It worked beautifully, did not alter the hand or the puff, yet controlled the bias. The Pellon website says it controls fabric but allows a “luxurious hand” with good support.
A couple of caveats here. First, BSL is expensive-$5.50-$6.00/yd and it’s only 20″ wide-ouch! Oddly enough, I’ve found it at both JoAnn’s and Hancock’s so I wait to get a coupon or it goes on 50% off, and then I buy several bolts.
Secondly, it is tedious to fuse and you do have to be very mindful that you don’t fuse in a tuck. But I think the results are worth it: it controls the fabric without altering the hand.
I’ll be writing more on working with Radiance in the future. Hope this prompts you to try it-you will love the way your quilting looks on it!