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Thread: Do you have good tips for making the backing of your quilt?

  1. #26
    Super Member ArtsyOne's Avatar
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    I usually add a border to the back of my quilts to add some interest, but that gives me the problem of centering everything. I work on my living room hardwood floor. First I lay out the batting which is always much larger than the front of my quilt. I spray it with basting spray and then lay and flatten the top onto it face up. Then on the batting I measure 5" around the outside of my top and cut along that line all the way around. Then I flip it over so that all I see is the batting. I use a marker to mark 5" in from the edge and now I know where the front reaches. From that, I can mark the center if I want to or I can just use spray adhesive to lay the backing face up onto the batting using that 5" line as my guide to keep the backing in the same position as the front.
    Last edited by ArtsyOne; 11-03-2012 at 04:15 AM.
    A fabric stash is always missing that one fabric needed to finish the quilt on which you're working.

  2. #27
    Vat
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    One of the best solutions these days is to buy Fat Backs. That is fabrics that are 108" wide. They are wonderful and you don't have to do any piecing.

  3. #28
    Super Member duckydo's Avatar
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    There are lots of ways to make a backing, if you are going to send it out to a LA, it makes it so much easier on the LA if you make the backing at least 8" longer and 8" wider, then if there is any shrinkage when quilting there will be enough fabric. Also if it is squared up it is easier and faster for the LA to get your quilt on the quilter. I charge extra if I have to square up a backing..
    If I have any fabric leftover from the quilt I try to use it in the backing. But the best way for me to make a backing is to measure the length, plus 8", then double that amount. Take one length of fabric plus 8" cut cut off the selvages, then measure the width of that fabric, subtract that from the measurement of the width of the quilt, divide that number by 2, then with the second length of fabric, trim off the selvage and cut two pieces of fabric and sew one piece to each side of the first length. Clear as mud, huh. You can also google how to make a quilt backing and it will explain it better than I just did.

  4. #29
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    I usually go to www.backsidefabrics.com. This site deals only with wide fabrics, usually 108" or wider. She has a good range of fabrics at reasonable prices, plus often has good sales. I buy these even when the quilt I'm backing is 60". I take what's left over and may use it for a pillowcase or generally I put these large pieces aside and later donate them to a group that makes quilts for homeless children.

  5. #30
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    I agree that the best solution to the problem is buy the 108 in. fabric. It really is less expensive, looks better, and is easier. As a LA quilter I so often see quilts with pieced backing where the seams are stitched too tightly. This can result in skipped stitches.

  6. #31
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Piecing a back is not a problem for me. I usually try to add something of interest, if possible, like a "spine" of the scraps from the front, or maybe just a block of them. After all the piecing on the front, the simple back is a a piece of cake! Plus I love the anticipation of the "surprise" to be had when the quilt is turned over.
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  7. #32
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    [QUOTE=duckydo;5631321]There are lots of ways to make a backing, if you are going to send it out to a LA, it makes it so much easier on the LA if you make the backing at least 8" longer and 8" wider, then if there is any shrinkage when quilting there will be enough fabric.----(snip)--

    And may I add, those extra inches on the side give the LAer a place to check the tension. If I forget to
    have the quilter bring a few scraps of the fabric that is used in the top I raid my stash for similar weight & weave of fabric and stitch them out to the side on the extra backing & batting for tension checks.

  8. #33
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    I was machine quilting just this week and had the backing seam running the length of the quilt as it was mounted on the frame. My quilting mentor told me it's better to have it run horizontally on the frame since the seam doesn't stretch as it's being quilted (unlike the rest of the backing which will give a little as it's quilted). So if you're machine quilting, that might make a difference in how you plan your backings - it will for me :-)

  9. #34
    Super Member JoanneS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janette View Post
    I usually go to www.backsidefabrics.com. This site deals only with wide fabrics, usually 108" or wider. She has a good range of fabrics at reasonable prices, plus often has good sales. I buy these even when the quilt I'm backing is 60". I take what's left over and may use it for a pillowcase or generally I put these large pieces aside and later donate them to a group that makes quilts for homeless children.
    Thanks - I didn't know about this company. She has all the 'name' fabric companies.

  10. #35
    Senior Member Scraplady's Avatar
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    I am fond of pieced backs. It's like getting two quilts while only having to quilt one! I do my own quilting on my DSM. I do buy the wide backs sometimes and have been known to use quality cotton sheets for backs if the fabric is perfect. I love the prints in the old vintage sheets from the days when they were all 100% cotton and people used to iron them (my grandma always did). I love browsing thrift shops for them but always check them carefully for holes/wear/stains and wash them two or three times b4 using them. (I took a class with Bonnie Hunter and was tickled when she told us she buys vintage clothing and sheets at thrift shops and estate sales to use in her quilts. I had begun to think I might be just a little weird! Well, maybe I am, but if she can do it, I can too!)
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    "Piecin' a quilt's like livin' a life...The Lord sends us the pieces, but we can cut 'em out and put 'em together pretty much to suit ourselves, and there's a heap more in the cuttin' and the sewin' than there is in the caliker...I've had a heap of comfort all my life making quilts, and now in my old age I wouldn't take a fortune for them." (Eliza Calvert Hall, Aunt Jane of Kentucky)

  11. #36
    Senior Member captlynhall's Avatar
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    I always choose a fabric that will coordinate somehow with the pieced front, so that my quilts are really two sided. I also make three panels on the back, with the outside two smaller than the middle so that folding won't stress the seams. But I would love to find really nice backing fabrics in one piece. It is so hard for me to handle big pieces of fabric and have to sew long seams. I will check out some of the suggested places to find wide fabrics. Thanks for the information.
    When a dying man asked his pastor "How long does it take to die?" his pastor's heartfelt reply was "A lifetime." Live life to the fullest, but stop now and then to enjoy the sunset.
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  12. #37
    Super Member quiltmom04's Avatar
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    I love to piece the back with fabrics from the front. I generally use graph paper to lay out a design and figure out the best way to sew it together. I have moved to thinking that the back of a quilt is just about as important as the front. After all, when you pull the quilt up over you, what do you see? The back!

  13. #38
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    If I'm machine quilting a bed-sized quilt, I usually do it in sections, which makes piecing the back a bit easier. I usually use a busy fabric on the back when I machine quilt so my stitches don't show! I buy fabric I like on sale for just that purpose (6-7 yds usually).

  14. #39
    Super Member karate lady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pocoellie View Post
    For backings I just use the wide muslin.
    my choice too. Too me unbleached muslin is the only backing to use. smile. (except for little guy quilts)

  15. #40
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    It is worth it to get the wide backing, and there is so much more choice now than there used to be. But one other option, if you want a particular fabric, is to use the diagonal cut method. Just buy a little extra in length, cut in half diagonally and slide one side down until the width is right. This way, the seam is evenly distributed the length of the quilt. Here is a calculator: http://www.multi-patch.com/html/diag...calculator.php

  16. #41
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    That address didn't come out right. Try again:
    http://www.multi-patch.com/html/diag...calculator.php

    Better.

  17. #42
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jemma View Post
    1/2 inch seams on the backing--makes life much easier--[tip given to me by an 84 year old hand quilter]
    Also press the seams open and bulk is spread more evenly.
    Another Phyllis
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  18. #43
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyPeezy View Post
    Did you mean "always cut off the selvage" instead of "seam allowance"?
    I only cut off the selvage on the pieces I need to sew together, when making 2 or three large pieces and put the remaining selvage on the outside. It gets trimmed off when I trim the quilted top for the binding. This makes it easier for me not to get confused as to where I need to sew the sections together.
    Another Phyllis
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  19. #44
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelbie View Post
    Sheets work very well for backings. I know that there are some quilters who will disagree but I have often used them. They machine quilt easily, wash and wear well and come in a multitude of colours. I look for the cotton rich sheets in King size so that I have extra to make matching pillowcases. Quilting fabric is at least $15 a metre in Canada and it's hard to justify the extra cost when a sheet can be purchased for about $10 if bought on sale. I buy them at Len's Mills, Giant Tiger (small department store) or Sears and they all sometimes have seconds available (can't often tell why they are a second) and that's when I stock up. We use sheets all the time for the back of our Community Quilts stitched by our quilt guild.
    Great money saving tip.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  20. #45
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtsyOne View Post
    I usually add a border to the back of my quilts to add some interest, but that gives me the problem of centering everything. I work on my living room hardwood floor. First I lay out the batting which is always much larger than the front of my quilt. I spray it with basting spray and then lay and flatten the top onto it face up. Then on the batting I measure 5" around the outside of my top and cut along that line all the way around. Then I flip it over so that all I see is the batting. I use a marker to mark 5" in from the edge and now I know where the front reaches. From that, I can mark the center if I want to or I can just use spray adhesive to lay the backing face up onto the batting using that 5" line as my guide to keep the backing in the same position as the front.
    I love this tip and will use it for pieced backs. Thank you.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  21. #46
    Senior Member leighway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelbie View Post
    Sheets work very well for backings. I know that there are some quilters who will disagree but I have often used them. They machine quilt easily, wash and wear well and come in a multitude of colours. I look for the cotton rich sheets in King size so that I have extra to make matching pillowcases. Quilting fabric is at least $15 a metre in Canada and it's hard to justify the extra cost when a sheet can be purchased for about $10 if bought on sale. I buy them at Len's Mills, Giant Tiger (small department store) or Sears and they all sometimes have seconds available (can't often tell why they are a second) and that's when I stock up. We use sheets all the time for the back of our Community Quilts stitched by our quilt guild.
    When my children were little, I used sheets to back their quilts and while the tops have long ago worn in places, those backings are as good as they day they were added. It's something to consider. They also feel really good when I use one for a nap. I'd consider a sheet again if I didn't have so blasted much fabric in my stash!

  22. #47
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    I have used sheets in the past but have to be careful the sheet is not too haevy or thick as this makes quilting a little tough.
    "Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late".

    Benjamin Franklin

  23. #48
    Senior Member Landers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janette View Post
    I usually go to www.backsidefabrics.com. This site deals only with wide fabrics, usually 108" or wider. She has a good range of fabrics at reasonable prices, plus often has good sales. I buy these even when the quilt I'm backing is 60". I take what's left over and may use it for a pillowcase or generally I put these large pieces aside and later donate them to a group that makes quilts for homeless children.
    Thanks so much!!!! This is a great site! I would rather use wide backing than piece a backing.
    Carolyn

  24. #49
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    When I'm handquilting a project, I like to have as few seams as possible. But when I machine quilt, I love to do interesting things to the back. Mix & match pieces, add extra blocks......it adds an element of "surprise" to the quilt. And after the first few times you do it, your brain starts to think outside of the box. At least mine does.....when I'm machine quilting it.

  25. #50
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    OC quilter, do you mean cut the selvedge off? I don't think you mean to cut the seam allowance off because that is what you need to sew the pieces together.

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