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Thread: Question about piecing the backing

  1. #1
    Super Member isnthatodd's Avatar
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    I am making a baby quilt that is about 50 inches wide. The fabric I chose for the backing is 44. I know I need to use 2 lengths and put them together, but my question is: Are there any guidelines about how to put them together? I don't really want a seam down the middle, but should I make the middle section larger than the sides, or do even thirds? I can do the body of the quilt in one piece and add a strip on each side the same width as the outside border. I have attached the picture of the top if this helps. This is the first time I have made a baby quilt wider than the backing. Thanks for any help.
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  2. #2
    SandraJennings's Avatar
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    Usually it is best to put it into thirds.There are two ways... 1. is equal pieces. and 2. is a larger middle piece with the other two equally divided on either side. In either case you want to insure you have measured the width and divided the pieces properly. Don't forget the seam allowance. then you can quilt and bind the little beauty. The choice is yours as to which works best for you.

  3. #3
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SandraJennings
    Usually it is best to put it into thirds.There are two ways... 1. is equal pieces. and 2. is a larger middle piece with the other two equally divided on either side. .
    I leave a full-width piece in the center, split the second piece for sides and cut off excess. I think that comes from hand quilting, having more elaborate stitching in the center of quilts - easier without extra seam bulking things up. I doubt if there would be any difference at all for machine quilting.

  4. #4
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    This is exactly what I would do. One reason to do it this way is because of the folding - If you fold a quilt in half and that's where the seam is, it puts a lot of stress on that thread. It also "pulls" on both sides of that single seam when you have a center seam, but if you use the full width in the center and two half-widths on the outside, there is very little "pull" on the seams when you handle the quilt while making the bed, sleeping, hanging it to dry or folding it for storage.

  5. #5
    Super Member isnthatodd's Avatar
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    My problem with a full width in the center is that the side pieces would be about 4 inches wide. That seems sort of awkward looking, but I agree about the center seam. I am going to hand quilt around the pictures along the inside frame, and put airplanes in the solids and rockets along the wide border. Not sure about the yellow border.

  6. #6
    Super Member vicki reno's Avatar
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    Well, follow that train of thought but possibly make the center piece a bit smaller than the full width of the fabric. You could save leftovers for a future scrappy quilt and still divide the other two pieces into equal pieces to fit the back. Its a darling quilt. You should be proud of it!

  7. #7
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    Yes - cut that center panel about 30" wide.

    That is SUCH a cute quilt! :)

  8. #8
    Super Member isnthatodd's Avatar
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    Thanks for your input. I think I will go with the 30". I really need to get going. I have about 12 days, minus 2 days of staff development and some time to sleep, before we leave to see the baby, and I really want to take it with us. I also do not want to do work while travelling, since I am the driver, but I can finish the binding if necessary while visiting others along the way. Thanks for all your kind comments. I'll post a picture after I get it quilted.

  9. #9
    Super Member vicki reno's Avatar
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    I think all the other drivers on the road will be pleased to hear that you won't work on it while on the road. LOL Its darling. Have a safe trip.

  10. #10
    Super Member isnthatodd's Avatar
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    Vicki, you have given my my first laugh of the morning :lol: Thanks.

  11. #11
    Senior Member pinecone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by isnthatodd
    ...I know I need to use 2 lengths and put them together, but my question is: Are there any guidelines about how to put them together?
    Well you might not need 2 lengths. John Flynn has a nifty idea. Have a look: http://www.flynnquilt.com/freepattern.html Scroll down about 1/2 way to the diagonal seam back. BTW, that quilt is gonna make some baby and proud parents happy. :D
    piney

  12. #12
    Super Member isnthatodd's Avatar
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    I got my back done, but I absolutely love the link to the diagonal back site. I am a mathematics lover, and this really appeals to me. I am going to try it just for fun with a much smaller size, just to see how it works. I am constantly amazed at the amount of knowledge to be found on this board.

    Thanks

  13. #13
    Senior Member pinecone's Avatar
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    I was on the math team in HS so I too, love a challenge in math. I was happy to hear of his method as I make many donation quilts for children and this way saves on the yardage.
    piney

  14. #14
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    That is very cool - thanks for sharing!

  15. #15
    Senior Member k_jupiter's Avatar
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    Just another thought...

    Yes the seam in the middle might get a bit of stress... but...

    You are quilting along this seam. You are quilting across this seam. Every point where you have thread tieing the front to the back reduces the stress along that single thread. Do we have any emphirical evidence of seam separation along a center seam quilt back that has been adequately quilted?

    Inquiring newby wants to know (as he goes out to get some 54 inch backing fabric).

    tim in san jose

  16. #16
    Senior Member pinecone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by k_jupiter
    Do we have any emphirical evidence of seam separation along a center seam quilt back that has been adequately quilted?

    Inquiring newby wants to know (as he goes out to get some 54 inch backing fabric).
    Hmmmm 54" backing fabric? I hadn't noticed that width. Learn something new every day. Is it pink?? :wink:
    So far the seams have been fine and many of my quilts have taken a spin or three in the washer ~ not really TLC handling. Now there might be a seam issue with toes on the loose. :lol:

    piney

  17. #17
    community benefactor ShellyQ's Avatar
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    Pinecone LOL
    Tim,Never had any trouble with seams coming apart on back, but avoid them for hand quilting cause I loathe hand quilting over them. For an unpieced back I usually use super wide calico, comes in widths up to 8' which is pretty wide, pretty reasonable too at around $8 - $10 per metre (compared to $20 for the stuff on the front :lol: ) depending on width. Comes up beautiful after a really hot wash and dry on the line, Quilts like a dream. If you want it coloured you can always dye it. Over here dyeing is a good alternative because of the price of quilting fabric.

    Might be called something different there though, I've noticed alot of things have different names. What is called muslin here, you wouldn't dream of putting in your quilts :lol: is a fine mesh type stuff used for draining jellies, wrapping old fashioned puddings to cook,baby wipes, that sort of thing

  18. #18
    Senior Member k_jupiter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShellyQ
    Pinecone LOL
    Tim,Never had any trouble with seams coming apart on back, but avoid them for hand quilting cause I loathe hand quilting over them. For an unpieced back I usually use super wide calico, comes in widths up to 8' which is pretty wide, pretty reasonable too at around $8 - $10 per metre (compared to $20 for the stuff on the front :lol: ) depending on width. Comes up beautiful after a really hot wash and dry on the line, Quilts like a dream. If you want it coloured you can always dye it. Over here dyeing is a good alternative because of the price of quilting fabric.

    Might be called something different there though, I've noticed alot of things have different names. What is called muslin here, you wouldn't dream of putting in your quilts :lol: is a fine mesh type stuff used for draining jellies, wrapping old fashioned puddings to cook,baby wipes, that sort of thing
    You strain through Cheese cloth. Muslin is what you call calico. Calico usually has a pattern on it here.

    I picked up the 54 inch stuff at Calico Corners. They specialize in home furnishings fabrics, for drapes, table cloths, furniture covers and upholstery. This particukar fabric is lightweight, slightly off white with a three pattrn of dark blue fine lines going through on a 90 degree hatch.

    tim in san jose

  19. #19
    community benefactor ShellyQ's Avatar
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    Thanks for the clarification :) Is funny though how even when people speak the same overall language, words can have different meanings in different areas.

  20. #20
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    I was told not to have one seam on a backing because it puts too much stress on that one seam. Lynda Howell from the Stitch Connection always puts several seams in her backing and they look wonderful. I do it all the time now. Besides it uses up my extra fabric so I can buy more :)

  21. #21
    Super Member Joan's Avatar
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    Your crib quilt is darling! I am just finishing the top for a crib quilt for my first grandbaby, too, and have pondered the backing question. I am backing it with flannel and didn't realize their could be oh so many ways to piece it together! LOL If I had it to do over again (the flannel is already purchased), I would have just purchased a flat twin sheet. It would be wide enough and no seams would be needed. I think it would work okay???? Have a good trip and kiss that new baby for me!

  22. #22
    live2teach's Avatar
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    Just came across this post. Your crib quilt is beautiful. Great Job!

  23. #23
    lin
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    Thanks for posting that link pinecone. That's gonna come in handy. I wish I'd known about that technique awhile back when I was just a little short on a particular fabric and didn't want to make a pieced backing. I'll be using this idea at some point I'm sure.

    Piecing the backing can solve the problem of having fabric that is just shy of your width too, if you're up to doing a little more piecing. Just bring some of the fabrics that you've used on your top around to the back to make an interesting back. I've seen some really wonderful pieced backs. I've made one that I really liked. Usually by the time I'm done with the top, I don't want to make another "top" for the back, but it can be a great back "widener" and make the back more interesting, and you don't have to make it all that complicated. You can also just add a wide enough strip of some of the fabric used on the top if you have any left, or a fabric that would compliment it. I try not to have to buy the double length if I'm only a few inches shy. :)

    Gosh, I nearly forgot to mention how absolutely adorable that quilt top is!! It's very sweet.

  24. #24
    Norah's Avatar
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    One solution for a quilt that need narrow additions on each side is to use scraps from the front and piece a matching border on the back. I think it would look cute.
    As for the one seam on the back, I was not aware of the strain on the seam, so I have been doing mine with one seam for 30 years, and have never, repeat, never had one pull out, break a thread, wear wierd, or anything else. It works well for me. And I would rather hand quilt over one back seam than two or three. But, I also do whatever saves the most fabric, unless I want to use the backing for something else. That's my opinion and I am sticking to it.

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by lin
    Thanks for posting that link pinecone.
    I had that link bookmarked for a long time and was going to use it today, the diagonal piecing. Got the formula all done and tried it on a small piece of scrap. I must really be dense but I can't see how it will work (I think the instructions are not well written for my understanding). I only have so much fabric and I refuse to drive another 100 miles to replace it, especially since I bought the end of the bolt and didn't see anything else I liked as much.

    I need specific instructions, I think he left a lot for one to assume. Don't mean any slamming, I just need step by step with nothing for the mind to assume cuz my assuming and someone else's are usually very different.

    Donna

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