Slideshow of quilts

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Guidelines for backing quilt

When I am backing a quilt I take the finished measurements of the quilt top.  For this example I will use a 60” square top. I add 5” to all four sides if I am having the quilt quilted on a long-arm quilting machine. So, I would need backing to cover and area of 70 X 70.  Most fabric is roughly 42” wide.  Because there have been times when I have purchased fabric that wasn’t as it should have been for the purposes of my calculations I use 40” wide, which provides me with a margin of error.  I always think it’s better to safe than sorry when purchasing fabric, I can always use extra but not having enough creates some problems! Each yard of fabric is 36” so 2 yards is 72”.  If I purchase 4 yards of fabric, I can make a quilt back for a quilt that measures 70 X 62.

40 + 40 = 80"
36 + 36 = 72"
5" add to each side for attaching to a long arm quilting machine. You sew the selvage edges of the fabric together to create a large piece of fabric.

Of course you can always buy the quilt backs, which come in a width of 108” by how many yards you desire.  Those work great although I really hate ironing them!  Another problem is they are limited in the colors and designs that are available so one might not meet your needs hence “piecing the back”.  When you are using two, two yard pieces of fabric be sure and check to see if there is a direction to the fabric so that both sides are going in the same direction before you sew them together!

Another favorite way to create a backing fabric is to use up some of your stash a make a patchwork back!  Sometimes they turn out just as wonderfully as the front and it’s hard to know which side you want as the top!  To do this I usually start with a square, the size varies depending with what I want to create.  It can be as small as you want up to 40” if that’s the look you want.  Then I just add strips of fabric to the sides until I get to the desired width. I also like to add the label before the quilt is quilted.  That way the label is quilted right into the quilt. Here are some examples of what I have done.  

the front of the quilt

left over fabric on the back

Using left over fabric to piece the back of the quilt.

the front of the quilt

This quilt shows the label quilted into the backing of the fabric before quilting.  Again I used fabric leftover from the front of the quilt.

If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to ask me I would be happy to help you!


Steel Scraps said...

Love your pieced backs! Thanks for sharing.

trinity said...

I love your black and white quilt, and would love to know if the pattern is available? its just so wow, lol thanks for showing it to us

MJ said...

Sorry Trinity the pattern for that quilt is in my storage unit in the USA. I am going home this summer (I hope) I pull it out then!

MJ said...

Thanks Steel! I love to piece my backs now, it was something I started as a necessity and now it's my preferred method!