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Thread: Preparing the backing fabric should be easy, but...

  1. #1
    Member Kimarene's Avatar
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    Preparing the backing fabric should be easy, but...

    Hello all! I have a 94"x104" quilt top ready to sandwich. The pattern called for 8-1/2 yards of backing fabric, I bought 9 yards in an effort to "be safe." Cut it apart, sewed the pieces together - it's not wide enough. I guess I should have figured this out beforehand - if the fabric is 44" wide, when you cut it and sew the two pieces together, it could never be more than 88" wide, including the selvages.

    I am so frustrated, as it seems that I always have an issue of the backing coming up short. What am I missing?
    If I had known how much fun I could have quilting, I would have started 40 years ago!

  2. #2
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    backing fabric

    I think you should have cut the fabric into three pcs of 3 yds each. and sewed them together. That way it would have ended up 108" wide by approx. 120 in long. I always figure fabric never to be more than 40 in. wide.

  3. #3
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    You may find yourself liking to make similar sized quilts. Therefore, draw out how to cut you backing once and keep your notes for the next time.

    Yes, there are quite a few basic books out there that will help this you with this as well as probably some videos. However you do it, keep notes for next time.
    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.
    ali

  4. #4
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    You also could have pieced it diagonally.

    http://www.quiltingboard.com/main-f1...k-t130313.html

  5. #5
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    all I can say is "live and learn" I hate to admit that I did the same thing more than once before I learned!

  6. #6
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peckish View Post
    You also could have pieced it diagonally.

    http://www.quiltingboard.com/main-f1...k-t130313.html
    yes you can piece eack 1/2 diagonally but you will still have to seam down the middle too

  7. #7
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    I have started buying the 108" quilt back fabric. In the long run it works out to be less expensive then buying 44" wide fabric especially when you find it on sale, and you usually don't have to piece it. Thousands of bolts regularly carries 108" wide backing fabric and Hancocks of Paducah is currently having a sale with many of them being $9 or $10 per yard. 2 1/2 yards at $10 per yard is only $25.00 as opposed to 9 yards of 44" wide at $4.95 if you managed to find a fabric that inexpensive works out to be $44.55

  8. #8
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    Here is an excellent way to piece backing. Many times I use three different fabrics or piece anyway I like it.

    http://www.reddawn.net/quilt/backings.htm

  9. #9
    Super Member Emma S's Avatar
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    KiMarene: Another answer would to be put borders on the back so that you can use what you already have without spending to much more money. I am trying to use up some of my stash so I am experimenting with many different ideas for backs, it makes the second side almost as much fun as the front.

  10. #10
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    If I understand right, you cut and laid your backing vertically (lengthwise). Therefore, like you said, your backing could only be 88". If you turn the backing horizontally, you might be able to save the backing you cut. You will have to cut off the excess and make that the 3rd horizontal panel, pieced, but it should workout.
    This should help
    http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/techni...lt-back_1.html
    Good luck.

  11. #11
    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
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    Sorry for your frustrations, but unpick that baby and then cut it into approx 3 yard pieces from the longer parts & piece the other part into approx. a 3 yard piece and then stitch these 3 pieces together :-)

  12. #12
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kathy View Post
    yes you can piece eack 1/2 diagonally but you will still have to seam down the middle too
    Your reply confuses me. I'm not sure what you mean by "each half". If you piece the back diagonally, you will have one single seam running diagonally, for instance from the top left corner to the bottom right corner. There will be no seam running down the middle.

  13. #13
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    I probably make more work for myself, but here's what I do....I lay out my quilt top on the largest flat surface available. I have only used regular 44-45" wide fabric - not wide backing. I then take my backing fabric and lay it on top of the top. I will fold the backing in half to see that I have enough length (and usually have more than enough). The fold the quilt in half. Does my backing show? By how much? If not, unfold everything and then do in thirds. Keep folding and unfolding until the proportions work out correctly. I'll then usually grab a pair of scissors and cut the pieces as they lay so I don't 'mis-remember' how it's supposed to be folded/sewn. So far this process has worked well for me and is far less taxing on my brain than doing calculations!

  14. #14
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    Never accept the yardage listed in a pattern as gospel. It's quite simple to figure yardage for your backing. Measure the width of your top, divide it by 40 (width of 44 inch fabric less selvage and shrinkage). That will give you the number of widths for your backing. (This may be larger than you need, but you can trim. Extra fabric can be used for binding or go into your stash.) Then, measure the length of your top. I add 6 inches to allow for any shrinkage due to the quilting. That will give you the length of each width. Then you sew the three panels together. If you need to trim, cut or tear off excess from two outer panels. I also leave 3 extra inches to each side as well as the length. In other words, if my top is 94 x 104 I make sure my backing measures 100 x 110.

  15. #15
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    Suggestions for piecing a quilt backing:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Jan in VA
    Living in the foothills
    peacefully colors my world.
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/members...bums19552.html

  16. #16
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    First, Jan in VA, I always appreciate your pictures. I suppose I'm more visual and you've helped me understand things several times.

    Second, I was just struggling with figuring out the math for a backing earlier this evening so I sympathize with you. I have no advice or input (if I did, I wouldn't struggle so much myself), but wanted you to know you aren't the only one. Why is it that I can make an intricate top with a gazillion pieces, but can't make a backing with 2 or 3 pieces?

  17. #17
    Super Member Dedemac's Avatar
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    I don't know if you have ever visited the Craftsy web site but there is a free class by Elizabeth Hartman called Creative quilt backs that explain a lot of the measurements and what to do if you don't have enough of one fabric. I am still learning about the back side of the quilt. So far I have only done Lap quilts so usually I'm safe with one solid length.

  18. #18
    Super Member Anael's Avatar
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    Jan, wonderful. Thanks! I do love pictures too.

    Dedemac, thanks for pointing this out. I didn't see that class but will go there and have a look.
    Eat, quilt, bike, sleep and repeat



  19. #19
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    Marshall Dry Goods Has 108"backing fabric for $7.99/yard
    Sheena

  20. #20
    Super Member carslo's Avatar
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    The first thing I did was look up where Paradise was incase you were close to Anaheim and didn't know about M & L Fabric Discount store, but you are too far away to go there on a whim. I piece my backs because I can find quality fabric (Kaufmann) in the flat fold section for $2.49. I also check out what Connecting Threads has in their discounted fabrics also, and lastly what folks are seeing here on the QB reasonably. For any bed size quilt I always buy 10 yards, this gives me enough for the backing, binding and a couple of pillowcases usually. Any left overs go in the scrap heap for scrappy quilts. I have bought 108 inch wide fabric also but not as a rule. Back art is popular at our Guild and members use a multiple of fabrics for backings and the effect can be really nice. Good luck!
    A bed without a quilt is like the night sky without stars.

    http://californiaquilting.blogspot.com/

  21. #21
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    you need three pieces of fabric sewn together. that would be three yards long which is 108 inches. you should have enough for length and width.
    "From hence only infer that an Englishman, of all men, ought not to despise foreigners as such and I think the inference is just, since what they are today, we were yesterday, and tomorrow they will be like us"
    Daniel De Foe -The True Englishman

  22. #22
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    I almost NEVER have enough fabric to do my entire backing - I use up my leftovers from the front and come up with a simple design and just "make it work" That is actually one of the fun parts - designing a bit on the fly.

  23. #23
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    nine yards is exactly what is needed for her quilt though. cut into three yard lengths and sewn together.
    "From hence only infer that an Englishman, of all men, ought not to despise foreigners as such and I think the inference is just, since what they are today, we were yesterday, and tomorrow they will be like us"
    Daniel De Foe -The True Englishman

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peckish View Post
    Your reply confuses me. I'm not sure what you mean by "each half". If you piece the back diagonally, you will have one single seam running diagonally, for instance from the top left corner to the bottom right corner. There will be no seam running down the middle.
    If you look VERY CAREFULLY at the directions for diagonal piecing, somewhere in the small print, it says if you use 44 in fabric, you can only make a back that is 150% of the width, which is 63 inches. So in this case, she would have to take each half and diagonal-piece it, or piece one diagonally and leave the other one plain.

    Depending on whether or not the back is already cut to length, there are several things I would do. If it is already cut, one would be to pick out the seam, use the cut off fabric to make a strip for the middle, but somewhere along this strip, add a block (or two or three) that matches the front (or not. Maybe you have an orphan block that would work). That way it would look planned.
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

  25. #25
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    This is an interesting thread because of such varied experiences. I especially enjoy Jan's diagrams. I have made backs in many ways both lengthwise and horizontally. I have used wide backing and I have used 44" fabric. I use graph paper to draw it out sometimes. I really like to use 'left overs' from the front to 'enhance' the back. Therefore, I incorporate left over blocks (or I make extra blocks) or strips made from the scraps to use. Sometimes, I add them in a precise manner and sometimes I cut the backing and add the strips randomly. I enjoy the comments of recipients about the backs. This creates conversation but it also cuts down on growing baskets of scraps.

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