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Thread: Quilt backing-need help please

  1. #1
    puppypants's Avatar
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    Hello. This is probably a dumb question, but I need the answer nonetheless. My fabric isn't wide enough for the back so I'll have to piece something together. Do I just put the seam right down the middle of the backside, or is there a more clever way to do it?

  2. #2
    Moderator sharon b's Avatar
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    From what I have heard , you don't want the seam in the middle because that is where the most stress is. Are you thinking of having the seam go horizontal or vertical ?

  3. #3
    puppypants's Avatar
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    Well, I wasn't really thinking anything yet. I have the front of the quilt done-just a simple one to get me back into the swing of things. Now I just need to finish the back.

  4. #4
    Moderator sharon b's Avatar
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    Let me see if I can explain this so you understand : You can cut the fabric and make it in thirds horizontally. If vertical use the long piece and then when you add the side piece to make it wider that should be off center. Does that make sense ?

  5. #5
    Super Member omak's Avatar
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    I had never done a backing horizontally until last year when my Sister in law sent me backs that weren't long enough to go vertical. I had never thought of it, but it seemed to me that she got more bang for her buck by doing that version.
    Either way, what sharon was trying to explain ... was: (I think )
    You dont want the seam directly in the middle, because it will break down rapidly (or so I have heard)
    so, either way, what you do to avoid that problem is to cut two pieces of fabric either horizontally or vertically ... so for the horizontal, I am going to measure the length of my quilt, cut part of my backing to the length, open it up and take the OTHER part of the backing, cut it in half, sew one half one one side of the whole piece, and the second half on the other side (where is a drawing when I need one?)
    there will be two seams, but they will not be in the middle, now, will they only show up part way over on your quilt.
    When you do it vertically, of course, everything is done according to the width of the quilt top ...
    again, you measure the width, cut a piece of fabric that measurement, take the other piece that measures that same measurement, cut the second piece in half, sewing one half on either side of the complete piece, which is laying open.
    Remember ... when you are getting ready to baste the quilt before actually quilting it, or when you are loading it on to your frame, the backing needs to be at least three inches bigger ALL AROUND the quilt ... and six inches is a better amount ... the reason for that is because the stitching you do while quilting, starts using up the backing.
    I can't explain it ... I just believe it
    Can hardly wait to see your finished project! :wink:

  6. #6
    Super Member omak's Avatar
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    http://www.alwaysquilting.com.au/mak...quilt_back.htm

    THis is a start of a diagram showing what we are talking about.

  7. #7
    puppypants's Avatar
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    Thank you sooo much for this link. It was 100% what I needed with simple step-by-step instructions. And thank you very much for taking the time to help me!

  8. #8
    puppypants's Avatar
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    It makes complete sense and now, thanks to you and Omak, I can finish my quilt. It's really a simple little thing to get me back into quilting (I've only done two quilts before), but I'll post a pic so you and Omak can see. Thank you for your help!

  9. #9
    Super Member omak's Avatar
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    Good for you!
    Am looking forward to your pictures.
    By the way - - did you consider that quilt shops usually sell backing fabric which ranges from 96" to 120" wide?
    Buy two yards of that (or whatever it takes to get to the width you need) and you have a back with no seams. Plus, you will usually have some fabric leftover for your "stash" ...
    It is just another option to look into for your next quilt.

  10. #10
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    an easy way after step four is to match the seams.
    iron one of the new folds.
    cut off 1/4".
    open and you will have equal spaced pieces added.
    hope this makes sense.

  11. #11
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    Never pieced a back before except down the center. At one of the quilt seminars one of the teachers told us not to piece the backing across the width of the quilt but only down the center length wise. I have never had trouble with this. But I like the pieced look shown and also have seen reversable quilts with another quilt top on the back. Very interesting.

  12. #12
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    I really like the look of backing made from 3 or more vertical "stripes". I used three for my 9 patch quilt for my own queen sized bed. I fold back the top a little to show the stripes when I make the bed each morning. My next quilt will have at least 5 vertical strips.

    One thing I like about this method is that it is easy to make a square backing. This is the one instance where I use tearing to get straight of grain seams. To me, these seams make a good reference point while basting the sandwich to keep the backing on the straight of grain.

  13. #13
    Super Member huntannette's Avatar
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    Thank you...this post helped me as well...I put the link in my favorites!!

  14. #14
    Super Member omak's Avatar
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    I have wondered about striping the backs horizontally, since while I am using the quilting frame, those seams are taking quite a pressure. It is pretty amazing how tight you can get the fabric when you are anchored at one end and have a ratchet style catch on each end of the cross pieces.
    So, when I read "only vertically", it made sense to me ... but then they started to using all sorts of seams to make the backing, and when you realize the top (which has all sorts of seams) goes through the same pressure ...
    all of my reservations disappeared.
    Probably the most important thing to remember is the stitch size as you are doing the seams. The bigger the stitch length? the less tension it can handle.

  15. #15
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
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    I have never had much luck getting the seam straight down the middle so I do not try. I just hope that it blends enough so that it is not noticable.

  16. #16
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    OOPS...I don't know how to delete this message!

  17. #17
    rosyramon's Avatar
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    I frequently have to piece fabric to have enough for the back. I buy enough for the width of the quilt including 8" (4" on each side for the quilter...or whatever your quilter needs). First I iron the fabric making sure I iron out the fold, then fold it in half (the opposite of the way it comes folded), make sure you the fabric is face to face, then sew along that line. Cut through the end you just sewed and open it up. I iron the seam open, not to one side as you do piecing your quilt so it doesn't add bulk. After it's quilted that seem will hardly be noticed and the quilting should add strength. If you have a very large quilt you may need to buy enough for the length (or width, whichever works out better), plus whatever the quilter needs and seam it with 3 panels. I can't wait to see your quilt!

  18. #18
    Super Member Olivia's Grammy's Avatar
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    Somtimes I like to do two tops, one slighty bigger. That way I have two quilts for the space of one. Sometimes I use big pieces of what ever is left over from the front. I am however having trouble understanding why you can't seam down the middle. How is it going to come apart with all the quilting?

  19. #19
    rosyramon's Avatar
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    I don't understand either. I've never had a problem with my quilts when I've put the seam down the middle, although there's less of a seam making it the width instead of the length. I've also used leftover fabric from the front to put on the back...it's a nice surprise when you turn the quilt over.

  20. #20
    rosyramon's Avatar
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    I'm sorry, I told you to sew and cut the FOLDED end. You need to sew ONE SIDE of the fabric then cut the folded side (leaving it folded rather than cutting before sewing, helps keep the fabric even), so when it's opened you have a seam across the middle of the quilt back. I hope I didn't confuse you too much!

  21. #21
    puppypants's Avatar
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    It makes sense that quilting shops sell the wider fabric. That must be why I don't remember having to piece the back.

  22. #22
    Super Member omak's Avatar
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    The seam in the center isn't about a seam coming apart. It is that most people start folding quilts in half ... half of a whole is the middle .
    Also ... when people use a quilt, they usually put the middle over themselves. Think of where all bedsheets, etc wear out ... in the middle.
    It could be that "instructors" are being too over cautious, but the other item is also the line going straight.
    A more relaxed mental attitude probably wouldn't hurt in these matters.
    A way to allieviate the concern over a straight seam, or that the seam would be really noticeable, is to select fabric that has a lot of pattern to it, as in calico ... the busyness of the little figures hides the seam - - usually ... there are always exceptions to every rule.

  23. #23
    Senior Member zkosh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by siss
    an easy way after step four is to match the seams.
    iron one of the new folds.
    cut off 1/4".
    open and you will have equal spaced pieces added.
    hope this makes sense.
    I like your suggestion about pressing a fold and then cutting it off. That would be a lot quicker and easier than cutting the pieces beforehand and then sewing them on. :-) Thanks for the tip!! :D

  24. #24
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    zkosh
    i am glad you understood my suggestion, wasn't sure it was clear.

  25. #25
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    What few that I have done I have had the seams going horizontal because you actually save material that way.

    Billy

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