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Thread: Need assist on cutting out the quilt back. Am really stuck for what to do.

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Need assist on cutting out the quilt back. Am really stuck for what to do.

    I really need help. I'm a new clothing-sewer-turned-quilter and have put together a quilt top for my grandson's Christmas present this year. I had to buy more material that normal because the backing I chose is directional and I had to match the pattern in the seams.

    This whole process left me with a huge, huge backing which now needs to be paired down to size. It is way bigger than the quilt top all the way around. The quilt top is 51x69 and the back is about 15 inches larger all the way around.

    I need it to be square or it will look weird. Right?

    I just get weak in the knees when I look at it because I don't know how to cut it out. For instance I am 66 and can't get up and down off the floor, so i can't get down there, which means I need to get it up on my table somehow.

    Also the swatch (because of the need to match fabric repeats) is not equal on each end. It looks something like this, but each side of the seam is a full 42 inches wide.:
    (I hope this illustration below turns out when I post this.)

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    x x
    x x
    x------------------------------------------------------x (this is the seam line)
    x x
    x x
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Any one able to help me here?

    Thanks in advance,
    Dray from Oklahoma

  2. #2
    Junior Member
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    Well...my quilt top illustration didn't turn out like I'd hoped, but I think you get the idea. There is on long flap and one short flap on each side due to having to match the fabric repeat. I know that needs to be trimmed...but .....feeling overwhelmed with all that material.

  3. #3
    Super Member
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    Can't help you with the dimensions because I don't get them (!) but as far as working with your backing piece, I tear it in the irght place. There is no way I can get on the floor (and I am only 63! ahem) nor do I have a large space to lay it on.

  4. #4
    Senior Member fatquarters's Avatar
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    I would NOT tear it, sometimes it tears crooked. I would trim the ends straight but leave the size until after the quilt is and sandwinched on top, and trim after. The seam does not necessarily have to be in the middle, especially when you are matching the print.
    fatquarters

  5. #5
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Hmm. Well, personally I have never cared that much about my backing matching up, because most people only look at the front, but that's just me. I like scrappy backs. Your next course of action depends on how you are going to finish it. No matter what you do, I'd wait to "square" it until after it's quilted or tied.

    If you will be machine quilting it, or sending it to a longarmer, you don't have to square it, you only have to make sure you have enough backing to load it on a frame. Most longarmers request the backing to be 6" larger than the top, but if you're sending it out, be sure to check with your longarmer before trimming. I know of one longarmer who requests 8" on the top because of the equipment she uses. This number doesn't have to be exact, the quilt police won't come after you if it's 7" instead of 6". After it's quilted, then square the quilt up and bind it.

    If you want to turn the backing to the front and bind it that way, I'd wait until it's quilted and then trim the backing to your desired width.

    Does that help?

  6. #6
    Super Member PenniF's Avatar
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    Hi..and welcome. Right there with you....the floor gets further away every year !!!!
    I have a fold up cardboard "thingy" with a grid printed on it that measures about 44" x 72" - you can buy them at JoAnn's. I'm sure it has a simple name - but like the floor - nouns are getting harder to find !!! They are fairly cheap. I put that on my table - and it extends the size of the work surface...(and protects the table) That might help.
    But if it were me...i'd use the Elmer's school glue method to put my backing, batting and top together. You have to work in segments anyway with the glue - i usually start with laying out my batting and folding the backing in 1/4 segments. Glue - let dry - then repeat with the top. I always make my backing larger than my top by a 3-4 inches - and don't cut away the excess til it's quilted and ready to bind. Shorted myself one to many times once the quilting was done. Best of good luck !!!
    Of all the things i've lost, i miss my mind the most.

  7. #7
    Junior Member loisf's Avatar
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    Are you planning to send the quilt to a long-arm quilter to quilt? If so, you don't have to do a thing. Just send the backing to her/him folded up along with the top. If you are quilting it yourself, you might want to cut it down a little, but be sure to leave about 6" all around the edge. That cut doesn't have to be very accurate, but you need to have excess around the edges, because the quilting often eats up backing yardage. After it's quilted, then you have to find a place to square it up (unless your long-arm quilter does it for you). I'm afraid I'm still doing the crawl around on the floor thing, but since I'm 68, I suppose it won't be for too much longer.

  8. #8
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    I know what you mean about the floor thing. If I ever got down there, they would have to call a truck with a lifter to get me up. My knees are too sore to get down there, then I can't get up. LOL

  9. #9
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    I have pieced backs with large directional fabrics where I wanted to match the fabric. What I do is to cut one edge straight for starters. Then I would ignore where the seam falls and just cut my backing 8" larger both ways than the top, which would give you 4" on either side. If you are taking to a LA quilter, that could vary based on their requirements. If I don't have a table big enough, I fold my top and backing into 4ths (one fold each direction), match up the folded edges on both the top and backing and cut the backing down from there. I don't worry if it's not exactly 4" or even if it ends up a little more or less on either cut. As long as there is enough extra in case it shifts a little. You can do the same with the batting too, just cut a little smaller than the backing.

    You may have some smaller pieces leftover, but you can use them in another project.

  10. #10
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    I also feel that there is no law (that I know of) that says the seam has to be down the center of the back. In fact, I think it is preferable to have it considerably off center!

    I prefer to have one larger piece left over than two smaller ones.

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