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How do you back your charity quilts?

How do you back your charity quilts?

Old 06-22-2021, 03:14 AM
  #41  
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Pieced backs is probably worth a thread of its own! I've done many things with backs, Gemm, and I find the best thing if you can is to deliberately off center when you can so that nobody knows when you are being off-kilter. Notice in my earlier picture of a back made of two very different fabrics, it was all offset. We also typically want to avoid having a seam straight down the middle or in a typical fold location.

While it can be done without quilt as you go, it's pretty darn difficult to stack things solidly/consistently if that is the final result you want -- especially if you want to match a stitch in the ditch on both sides!

When trying to line up a special/fancy/pieced back, I find I typically have to start from the top and slowly, carefully work down to the bottom. Typically I do prefer to work from the middle and then out to the sides, I deal with the wrinkles on the back better that way.

In the attached picture, I made life much harder on myself than it appears by taking a border print and using it for the back of a crib quilt -- there are so many easier ways to do this, like putting the border print down the middle instead of the edges. I like the effect I got but it did definitely add to the complexity of the project!
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Old 06-22-2021, 05:44 AM
  #42  
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I am not sure what you mean by "squared up to the top" Are you talking about making sure that fabric grain is straight for each piece in the backing? Are you asking how to align the various fabrics so they are even on the back visually? Are you cutting the backing the same size as the top? my answers is for the first, you just make sure when you trim the pieces for piecing the back that you make sure you know where the length wise straight of grain is which can be determined by gently pulling the fabric scrap in different directions until you find the one with the least amount of stretch. That is the lengthwise straight of grain in most cases. As for the second question...if it is visually, that is very hard to do on a backing. If I piece various scrap fabrics together to make a backing, I generally purposely offset them a bit so it looks intentional. As you quilt, the backing material does shift a little as the batting takes up space and it is just very difficult to keep everything lined up perfectly on the backing as you can not see it and generally are trying to keep the top lined up. As for the third, I make my backings about 3-4 inches wider on all sides to make sure I have enough backing all around. Most longarm quilters will require your backing to be 6-8 inches wider and longer than your top.
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Old 06-22-2021, 06:31 AM
  #43  
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I like to use flannel because I love its cuddly feel. But when economy is a consideration, go to solids. They cost wayyyy less than prints.

As mentioned, 108" are good value, and you can usually find some in the sale bin ie. the online fabric houses.
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Old 06-22-2021, 07:01 AM
  #44  
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Thanks for the reassurance and insights Iceblossom and Sewingpup - I'm having issues trying to attach an image here, but I think I'm getting some great advice for the next time I give this a try so am feeling a bit more confident. Maybe I also need to stop looking for the imperfections in my work... :-) I really appreciate the responses!
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Old 06-22-2021, 07:12 AM
  #45  
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It can take a bit to figure out how to post here, there are some great stickied help over here:
https://www.quiltingboard.com/qb-help-center-f27/

For backs, the best solution is always to have "plenty" whatever that means to you. Obviously if you are working on a small wall project an 1" might be plenty whereas on a king sized top that would make any of us choke (plus the fabric contracts and such as it is quilted...). But this idea of having plenty, well, that gets costly which is part of this thread. I love the extra wide fabrics but I also like being straight of grain. I've found that to make sure my piece is not some sort of parallelogram and I can do a ripped edge, I need to order an extra half yard/18 inches of fabric! Can't tell you how many times the pieces are cut badly and it is not all on the shops but also on how it is wound/folded on the bolts.

When you have to seam, I think generally a 1/2" open pressed seam is advised for backs. Yes, use a nice small stitch and cut off selvedges.

A small busy print hides many imperfections and is a perfect choice for a back!

There is nothing that will point out every imperfection so nicely as a plain white sheet. Just don't do it!

For all of us, we work so closely with our projects and are aware of every imperfection. We know we bobbled that line down there or whatever and so we see it. Once you get back a bit in either space or time, it all gets harder to see. We have a quilting saying about being good enough if you can gallop past on a horse and not see it. And that your friends either don't tell you or don't see it anyway -- or maybe they weren't your friends in the first place.
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Old 06-22-2021, 07:22 AM
  #46  
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Okay - trying again with the picture. It's not really necessary now that I've got such good advice, but I've been trying to troubleshoot the picture uploading thing and figured this was as good a time as any to take the plunge. Thanks for your patience, people - hope this works. :-)
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Old 06-22-2021, 07:31 AM
  #47  
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That's great! Both the posting and the picture, and sorry for changing directions, Lindaschipper.

I seem to be constitutionally unable to make tops that can be finished with one width of fabric, so I'm often confronted with how to get just a bit more back than what I have available. Or that I have excess fabric from the top of the quilt that I want to use up. More and more I'm putting stuff like that on the back on purpose.

Just like you did with the contrast strip, I would make the center strip something that doesn't relate to the top at all, so if there is a center seam and the blocks are based on a 3" grid, I'd make the center strip like 8" and then try and center the top along the middle without worrying much.

Being in some sort of thirds usually works well, another option would be to put on edges on both sides. I know it seems counter intuitive but you would actually trim some of the main fabric so it was obvious that yes, there are supposed to be bars of fabric here. So, instead of a 40" with two 2" strips, cut the 40" down to 36 or so with 6 inch strips.
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Old 06-22-2021, 08:37 AM
  #48  
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Thanks again, and my apologies as well, Lindaschipper.
To bring it back in line with your initial post, I will say that the white fabric was a thrift store find at about $4/m - sadly, when I got it home I discovered that there was a small hole ripped through the centre of all of the layers (they'd nicely folded the fabric so I didn't see it in my cursory inspection at the store), so I ended cutting the entire length in half parallel to the selvedges. That being said, I really like it anyway - it's such a fun, quirky print. The navy solid was stolen from another intended project and had been sitting in my stash for years. I've been using it as a border on these quilts as well so there was some connection between the top and the back. It really makes sense to me to try to find sales on lengths or to creatively source backing fabric - when I've ended up spending more on the backing than I have on the top, I feel a bit let down to think it probably will never be looked at. I do agree that "ugly" fabric doesn't really belong there, though, whether it's an unattractive print or poor quality - the backing is still an important piece of the quilt! :-)
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Old 06-22-2021, 12:15 PM
  #49  
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Back-in-the-day, we were always told not to use sheets as backing, as they have such a high thread count they were difficult to hand quilt through. However, for machine quilting I would think a good quality sheet would work well.
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Old 06-22-2021, 04:12 PM
  #50  
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I make quilts for foster kids in my county. Most are 43" x 68" and use my own fabrics for the tops and buy 108" wide backing fabric from Hobby Lobby @ 11.99 per yard. If I buy 2 yards I can get two backing out of it and some left over.

I make mostly scrappy quilts as I don't know what colors they like. I make scrappy quilts for myself also. Since I am using up a lot of my stash they work out best. I buy everything for the quilts myself and use the same as I would/do for my own.

Since this is all the donations I give I don't worry about the cost. Last year I made and gave 33 quilts. I try to make as many as I can.
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