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Thread: backing fabric

  1. #1
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    backing fabric

    Do you prefer to buy "real" backing fabric, or do you piece the backs of your quilts? I have done both, but I am wondering if one is "preferred." I realize either works. I have rarely bought backing fabric, as I have found it expensive. I did notice last weekend that Hobby Lobby now carries backing fabric, and not just the wider muslin like they had before. I may be using my coupon and splurging more on the wider backing fabric.

    So, that is my question. Do you lean towards the wider backing fabric or do you piece the backs...or do you prefer one more than the other?

    Just curious, I guess, and I realize it doesn't make any real difference.

    Dina

  2. #2
    Senior Member FURBALLS's Avatar
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    I have always bought the wide backing although I have several 8 plus yards of fabric that I have bought at yard sales and such and will cut and sew to make a large backing piece.

  3. #3
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    I check my stash and often that is one reason I buy extra yardage.

  4. #4
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    ​I prefer wide backing as you don't have to worry about the seams being straight. I will go for the colour I want over no seam though.

  5. #5
    Super Member Jeanne S's Avatar
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    I have done both, it just depends upon the quilt, it's purpose, where it is going and my budget. If I have the coordinating fabric, I love to do a little piecing in the back to add interest and 'tie it together'. If I am pressed for time or budget constrained, I like to buy used cotton sheets from the thrift store and use them for a back--can't beat $3 for a back. Other times if I don't have any inspiration, I use a wide muslin backing with no seams.

  6. #6
    Super Member AngeliaNR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeanne S View Post
    I have done both, it just depends upon the quilt, it's purpose, where it is going and my budget. If I have the coordinating fabric, I love to do a little piecing in the back to add interest and 'tie it together'. If I am pressed for time or budget constrained, I like to buy used cotton sheets from the thrift store and use them for a back--can't beat $3 for a back. Other times if I don't have any inspiration, I use a wide muslin backing with no seams.
    This is also my way--depends on the situation. I do often buy wide flannel backing (I make LOTS of flannel quilts); the piecing seams on the back can be a little bulky sometimes, depending on the number and placement of seams on the top.
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  7. #7
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    I recently bought some wider muslin for backing, but that is the only time I've used wider fabric for backing. Some quilts seem best backed in one fabric, while others lend themselves to a pieced backing. I do enjoy doing a bit of piecing for the back when appropriate. But I also love a plain muslin back when it seems most suitable.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Terri D.'s Avatar
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    I love piecing my backs with leftovers from the top plus fabric pulled from my stash, if needed to bring it to the proper size. It's fun to put the puzzle together and it makes for an interesting surprise when you flip it over.

  9. #9
    Super Member Charming's Avatar
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    It really depends on the colors or theme of the quilt top I am making simply because colors of the backing fabric are limiting and sometimes the theme or the print just does not want to blend with the top. Another thing that helps me decide is if i have a collection of coordinating fabric to do the top and i know i have enough yardage of one that can be pieced for the backing, i prefer to do that even if i can find backing color to match my top, I'd rather use the same collection.
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  10. #10
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    When I have a quilt custom quilted, I use a wide backing of a solid or near solid color. The back of the quilt looks like a whole cloth quilt.

  11. #11
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    I do both as well. And many times I will do a completely pieced back (basically a double sided quilt) with leftovers from the front, supplemented by stash. However, given a choice, I really like the convenience of wide backing. And it really is not more expensive. Most the time I can find it on sale for around $10 Per yard. When I go to Mennonite shops I have picked up wide muslin for $6. But even at full price it is usually more cost effective to buy the wide back.

    For example, A Queen size quilt measuring 90 x 100 would require a minimum purchase of 6.75 yards of 44" wide fabric at $7 per yard. This is assuming 3 seams and also assuming the WOF is really 44". I am seeing more and more fabric measuring at 42" or less in width once you cut selvage off. At $7 per yard it will run you $47 (rounding to nearest whole dollar). We are not taking into account your time and effort to cut it down as needed and sew it back together. You will need even more if you are sending to a LAQ who needs extra backing to attach to leaders.

    However, you would only have to buy 2.75 yards of wide back at $15 per yard so the cost is $41.25 and you will have enough left over to make binding and add to stash and the added bonus of not having to cut it or seam it. AND the extra length is already there for a LAQ but you might need to buy more for the width to adjust side clamps so even if you upped to 3 yards it still comes to a tiny bit less ($45) than the standard width stuff.

  12. #12
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    Usually when I make a quilt I buy flannel to match the front and I don't buy it until the quilt is finished. I have bought the extra wide fabric and it is a lot more difficult to iron, even with my wide ironing board.

  13. #13
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeanne S View Post
    I have done both, it just depends upon the quilt, it's purpose, where it is going and my budget.
    I agree with Jeanne. If the quilt has a lot of seams like in a bargello, I prefer a backing that doesn't have any piecing. But on charity quilts, I try to use up what I have left over from the donated fabric.
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  14. #14
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    I love to come up with a design for the back myself, so mostly will use leftover fabric from the top. If there is something that has a nice big print, will often use that for the back if I don't have a good idea, or no leftovers. I've never bought backing fabric.

  15. #15
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
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    If I had loads of money, I would go for the 108" wide fabric. I love the look of a back that is one big piece, whether it matches the front or not, I just think it's pretty.
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  16. #16
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    As I rarely make quilts as large as the backing fabrics cover, I usually piece my backings from my stash.
    When I *do* buy backing fabrics, there is much left over that can be used for piecing blocks or other even other backs. That just adds again to the stash!

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  17. #17
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    I am currently stalling on finishing a great quilt because I am balking at paying more for backing

  18. #18
    Super Member soccertxi's Avatar
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    Both here as well If I have leftover fabric that matches and the top is not too seam intensive, I might get the bug and piece the backing. If on the other hand, its a Bonnie Hunter mystery such as Celtic Solstice- all bets are off and off I go to find a nice wide back that matches! Gets me to quilting faster!
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  19. #19
    Super Member Doggramma's Avatar
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    I really like the wide backings, but I'm also trying to use up the "unloved" gaudy fabrics I've purchased over the years from the sale bolts. I usually don't care if the back coordinates with the front.
    Lori

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  20. #20
    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    I find a pieced backing is a good way to use leftovers from the front. Also, it's a good way to get rid of those "What was I thinking?" fabrics. Somehow they seem to be OK as the backing.

  21. #21
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    I prefer to use the wide backings, if possible. Check out marshalldrygoods, carolinacottoncompany, and backsidefabrics--their prices are very reasonable. I agree with felinefanatic that it is cheaper in the long run (and much less time-consuming) to use the wide fabrics.

  22. #22
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    If I have enough left over material I piece the backing. I really love pieced backings. Next I go to my stash to see if I have something that will work. I don't always use a coordinating material. Sometimes I like a surprise when the quilt is turned over.

  23. #23
    dd
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    Super Member dd's Avatar
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    I made a Christmas quilt for my sister and pieced the back. Now I'm second guessing because I think it looks like I was too cheap to buy backing fabric. I used left over fabric, left over blocks and embroidered the label right onto the back. I did have enough to make the binding all red. I love the pieced bindings but didn't want to piece both backing and binding. Hope she likes it.
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  24. #24
    Super Member EmiliasNana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    ​I prefer wide backing as you don't have to worry about the seams being straight. I will go for the colour I want over no seam though.
    Me too, though I always seem to gravitate to a fabric used on the quilt top, and piece if necessary. On my Mom's birthday quilt I had to use every last scrap to make it wide enough for the long armer. I thought it came out cute though, as the front was all churn dash blocks.

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  25. #25
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    I prefer a pieced backing. It makes the quilt reversible. Two for one.

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