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Thread: Piecing backing

  1. #1
    Super Member annesthreads's Avatar
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    Piecing backing

    My backing fabric isn't wide enough for the quilt, so I need to piece it. That's set me wondering - is there a best way to do this, assuming I have plenty of fabric? 2 pieces or 3? Seam placement? Would be interested to know how people approach this.

  2. #2
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    it depends on how it is to be finished- if a long-armer is going to quilt it the seams should be horizontal- (so a center seam does not build up as it is rolled on the take up bar---causing floppy sides) if you are using a domestic machine or hand quilting that part is not such an issue- unless you are using a frame where the quilt is rolled up piece by peice.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  3. #3
    Super Member woody's Avatar
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    I piece it which ever way wastes the least amount of fabric LOL it's too expensive here in Australia to waste even a little bit. But I do a larger seam ( around 1/2 "). It's probably not the right way but it works for me.
    The biggest risk is the one not taken

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    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    Some people use the width of the fabric as a center panel and narrower strips on the sides to split the seams out. They say having a seam down the center puts stress on the quilt. I've never had a problem with that myself and I've made many with center seams. What I tend to do now is to add a strip of extra blocks or coordinating fabric between the backing pieces. Sometimes I use up what's left from the front, sometimes it's different, but goes well with the front and binding. There's another method (John Flynn?) where you cut the fabric on the diagonal and slide one piece down until it makes more of a square than a rectangle. The calculations gave me a headache, so I haven't tried it yet. It's your quilt, do whatever you want! The only time it would really be an issue is if it's for a show. I've never done a show quilt, so I don't know what they prefer. I suppose it could vary from show to show.

  5. #5
    Super Member annesthreads's Avatar
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    Thanks for these replies. It'll be quilted on a domestic sewing machine. I was taught to go for 3 pieces rather than 2, and to avoid a centre seam- I was just wondering if that's what other people do. I like the idea of making the seam allowance bigger than usual. I tend to think that off-centre seams are a bit less noticeable than having one down the middle of the quilt. For a while I tried to use the 108in wide fabric for backings, but it can be hard to find in the UK and the range is so limited. This quilt isn't a precious one, and using stash fabric is the priority.

  6. #6
    Super Member annesthreads's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by woody View Post
    I piece it which ever way wastes the least amount of fabric LOL it's too expensive here in Australia to waste even a little bit. But I do a larger seam ( around 1/2 "). It's probably not the right way but it works for me.
    Here too! I try to find the best combination of appearance and economy, and use stash fabric wherever possible.

  7. #7
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    Check out John Flyyn's method of piecing on the diagonal. Takes less fabric depending on the finished size. You can stretch 44" fabric out to 60"
    Go to his web site. I'm not sure which section it is under but believe it is workshops or classes. for 44" fabric it takes about 3/4 yd more to make it 60"

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    Have never used this method before, like to piece the back to make the back interesting, but when I started quilting this method was used. Most of the experienced quilters used plain muslin, it was available in wide widths. Cut the muslin in the length desired, two pieces. Remove the selvages and sew the two pieces together, face to face, lengthwise, both sides. What you have is a tube the length of the quilt, cut one layer of the tube down the middle. What you have is a large backing with seams on each side.

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    If you're interested in John Flynn's method of diagonal piecing a back (that Holice mentioned in her post), here's the link:
    http://www.flynnquilt.com/workshop/FreeLessons/

    Scroll down just a bit on the page, and you'll find it.

  10. #10
    Super Member ArtsyOne's Avatar
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    I make mostly square quilts about 48" x 48", so for the back of those I usually cut a 40" square of the main fabric and then add an 8" border of the fabric I used for the front border. If I were making a rectangular quilt I'd just make a center rectangle of a pleasing size and then add borders to it.
    A fabric stash is always missing that one fabric needed to finish the quilt on which you're working.

  11. #11
    Super Member pollyjvan9's Avatar
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    When I piece backs I usually put the added piece in the middle because I have a really hard time getting the side and top and bottom pieces the same size. If I add the extra in the middle I don't have to worry about that problem.

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    I get confused on how to add other fabric to backing and get backing centered on quilt. Any suggestions?

  13. #13
    Senior Member lfletcher's Avatar
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    I piece it the way that uses the fabric the most efficiently. If the fabric is different, I also try to make some sort of a design even if it is just a large 4-patch.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by woody View Post
    I piece it which ever way wastes the least amount of fabric LOL it's too expensive here in Australia to waste even a little bit. But I do a larger seam ( around 1/2 "). It's probably not the right way but it works for me.
    Using a 1/2" seam when piecing a backing seems sensibile to me. There must be a lot of strain on that one seam, and a 1/4 inch seam seems just too close to the edge! Actually I have used a 5/8" seam there (just like in sewing clothing)
    and then have pressed the seam open. I suppose that weakens it a bit, but I don't want to be sewing over 3 thicknesses on the back as well as 3 thicknesses on the front! I do press the seams to the side on the front.

  15. #15
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I do backing this way for solid and pieced. No need to have wide backing using this method.

    http://www.reddawn.net/quilt/backings.htm
    Got fabric?

  16. #16
    Super Member annesthreads's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by judi wess View Post
    Have never used this method before, like to piece the back to make the back interesting, but when I started quilting this method was used. Most of the experienced quilters used plain muslin, it was available in wide widths. Cut the muslin in the length desired, two pieces. Remove the selvages and sew the two pieces together, face to face, lengthwise, both sides. What you have is a tube the length of the quilt, cut one layer of the tube down the middle. What you have is a large backing with seams on each side.
    Now that is ingenious!

  17. #17
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    If my width of fabric isn't wide enough, I split it lenthwise then add a piece/pieces in the middle. One time I had 1/2 yd pieces leftover from a bargello ...I squared them up and sewed them all together and made the backing. It had all the colors from the front side and looked great! There are no "rules" for backings....do what you feel looks good for your quilt.

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