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Thread: Backing fabric - how to piece?

  1. #1
    Super Member annesthreads's Avatar
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    Backing fabric - how to piece?

    I'm asking this because I'm curious to know what approach people would take. I've just finished a quilt top that is 56in by 49in. I have over 4 yards of my backing fabric, which is 44in wide. The look of the finished quilt matters more to me than being economical with the fabric. How would you cut and piece it?

  2. #2
    Senior Member SuziSew's Avatar
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    I'm curious about this as well and look forward to the replies. Thanks for asking a great question!
    Sue

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    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    I was under the impression it should be a full width of fabric in the center and the lesser equal ones on the sides.

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    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    This is the best way I know to make it look good.
    https://siterepository.s3.amazonaws....onalpb1103.pdf
    Nancy in western NY
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  5. #5
    Super Member soccertxi's Avatar
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    I usually cut backing piece and insert something pieced to get more width. I like to use up orphan blocks or leftover scraps from the front. If you are sending your quilt to a longarmer, ask her/him if they have any preferences on seams. I prefer mine vertical if possible. I am also a sucker for a pieced back (I HATE to piece them, but LOVE them when they are done! Go figure!) Piecing backs appeals to my thriftier side. I like to use up the scrappy stuff, so I can save the longer yardage for big quilts or borders.
    Beth in AZ
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    Senior Member SuziSew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltnNan View Post
    This is the best way I know to make it look good.
    https://siterepository.s3.amazonaws....onalpb1103.pdf
    .
    Who says learning algebra is a waste of time?! Saving this in my "good to know" file! Thanks!
    Sue

  7. #7
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I don't care for the John Flynn method because of the long diagonal. It's hard to cut, hard to sew, and even harder to keep it from stretching.

    Assuming a 3" extra all around (so the backing needs to be 62"x55") I would cut one length that is 62"xWOF, cut off selvages, and make the second piece 62"x whatever is needed to make the width 55". I really wouldn't expect to notice where the seams are on the back, but I would prefer that one not be too close to the edge of the finished quilt.

    The exception to this would be if the quilt is going on a longarm. In that case the backing seam should run parallel to the rails. You might need to change the direction of the seams in that case, depending on the quilting design, and then I would definitely think about keeping that backing seam away from the edge of the top, which might require a different layout.

  8. #8
    Super Member Cari-in-Oly's Avatar
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    When I'm going to do a pieced backing from one large piece of yardage like you have, I will cut the fabric in half, giving me two 2yd pieces, turn them sideways, and sew them together on the selvedge edge. This gives you a large enough backing.

    Cari

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    I do what Cari does... I measure a piece of fabric the (smaller) width of my quilt x the width of the fabric (40-44 inches wide). So I would need 2 times the width plus about 6 inches that I cut in half. Then I trim and sew the selvedge side to either another selvedge side or my favorite is to piece a width of the quilt with fabric scraps from the front. So that I don't have to match the fabric on the back and the seam isnt' as noticeable across.
    here's one I did that way: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/118782508899891458/

    Often that way I can also decide to use two different fabrics altogether! Here's one such example:
    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/118782508903439498/

    The only time it doesn't work is if you use directional fabric!

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    eta to my last post - I quilt on either my domestic sewing machine or a sitdown quilting machine (not long arm). If you use a long arm, you might check to see if the horizontal seams on the backing will be an issue. But personally I would think the vertical seams would be more of an issue depending on how the quilt was loaded to be quilted on the long arm. just one more reason I love my sitdown!

  11. #11
    Senior Member AVFD215's Avatar
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    Alas, I use a local FMQ and she has wide backing fabric. I am usually not too concerned about the backing color/design.
    On the other hand, when piecing the backing (it has been awhile), I think I was told to iron the seams OPEN.
    Not sure I remembered that correctly.

  12. #12
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    IMO, your first consideration should be if you are using a longarm or not. If you're using a longarm, or sending it out to a longarmer, this picture illustrates why you should piece the backing seams horizontally.



    Second, if the look of the quilt was more important to me than the economics, I would pick a busy backing fabric that wouldn't show seams. The ideal fabric would be dark with a small and very busy print. Here's a good example:


  13. #13
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
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    I took this picture at a show some years ago. I thought it was very inventive of the quilter to make the back so lovely as the front.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Life is not a movie. No one is going to yell "CUT" when you make a mistake. - Anne L. Fulton

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  14. #14
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
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    This is the front.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Life is not a movie. No one is going to yell "CUT" when you make a mistake. - Anne L. Fulton

    I am from the South....39 miles south of Boston.

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    I insert a vertical stripe or leftover squares out of the same fabric as the front. Simple 4 patches work vertically. I like to think that if the front were to get damaged, the back could be used to repair the front.

  16. #16
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    It is very difficult to get a backing exactly centered with a top.

    In my opinion, it is less hassle to have a design, extra strips, whatever- in a backing - off-centered so that a couple of inches one way or another will not matter.

  17. #17
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Wow, Boston, that is a lovely quilt!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boston1954 View Post
    This is the front.
    That is a great quilt - I love the way I keep seeing different "blocks" when I look at it.

  19. #19
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I would most likely find some corresponding fabric and some blocks and sew a strip down the 44" length (somewhere about 2/3rds across) to extend the width. I love back art.
    Martina
    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric!

  20. #20
    Super Member Onebyone's Avatar
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    The look of the finished quilt matters more to me than being economical with the fabric.
    Good for you! It's really annoying to have a quilt just a few inches too small to fit a backing. I usually buy wide backing to save me the hassle for a small quilt and piece a backing for a big quilt. I do pieced backing this way. The LA can turn the quilt to have the seams going the best way to quilt it.

    http://www.reddawn.net/quilt/backings.htm
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cari-in-Oly View Post
    When I'm going to do a pieced backing from one large piece of yardage like you have, I will cut the fabric in half, giving me two 2yd pieces, turn them sideways, and sew them together on the selvedge edge. This gives you a large enough backing.

    Cari
    Yep, me too. simplest and least obtrusive way.
    Ageing is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been............David Bowie

  22. #22
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    I'm made the backing for a recent oriental quilt and used blocks down the center with 1 inch black sashing on each side and then an oriental print on each side. (same fabric)

  23. #23
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    I like the wider backing fabric.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandra in Minnesota View Post
    I like the wider backing fabric.

    When given the choice, so do I, and usually what I use.
    Ageing is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been............David Bowie

  25. #25
    Super Member coopah's Avatar
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    Has anyone mentioned John Flynn's method?
    "A woman is like a tea bag-you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt

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