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What do you use for the back of your quilts?

What do you use for the back of your quilts?

Old 06-17-2020, 04:37 PM
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Default What do you use for the back of your quilts?

Usually I just buy some quilting fabric and sew it together to fit the quilt. Typically I would buy cheaper fabric for the back since I wasn't doing any piecework and would only buy medium quality if I felt the piece was special and a gift. I have made enough quilts that now I feel like buying at least medium quality for all quilts...

But do you all use quilting fabric or something else? Ive heard you can buy quilt backing which is just wider. I went to Fabricland (quality is halfway between Joannes and a quilt store) last week and asked for this and she gestures to a dozen rolls. There was a bright orange that I loved...the tag said "100% cotton sheeting" and I bought it without thinking much or really examining it.

I get home and omg does it ever feel cheap and strange! Almost feels like the fabric of a tent? It's also quite stiff...I'm worried that it will be hard to quilt, my machine only has 5" of space so is challenging enough.

Does anyone use cotton sheeting for the back? I'm worried to use it as I put more effort in this bedquilt than I usually do and don't want to ruin the quilt.

What do you put on the back? I make bed, lap and baby quilts, all meant for active use.

ps would you just get rid of this fabric? I kind of want to but feel quilty wasting it...
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Old 06-17-2020, 05:08 PM
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I would wash the orange fabric you bought and then decide. They may have put a lot of sizing in it that will wash out so it feels softer. Also it may shrink a bit, and it may not be color fast....so I would toss it in the washer and dryer, see how it looks and feels and then decide. I have bought fabric that I have done that to...some turns out...some I toss...one red batik I bought bled every time I washed it and I washed it three times. I ended up putting it in a garage sale with a note on it "not colorfast" and a price that was about 10% of what I paid for it. I usually just use quilting cotton for the backing....but I am not a matchy type person so what I often do is look at the clearance/sale section of the quilt shop and if I see a fabric with enough yardage that tickles my fancy...I will buy it even if I don't have a top yet for it. So I have a stash now of potential quilt backings and mostly I have been satisfied with one that will work and even a few times where it was amazing how good it looked. I especially like to keep my eye open for flannel material that would work as a backing as my family loves flannel even if it is just on the back of the quilt. I just can't pay full price for flannel for a backing for a queen or king sized quilt.
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Old 06-17-2020, 05:12 PM
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oh...and I have had mixed results buying the extra wide backing for quilting. Some of it has been fine and some is definitely of poorer quality. One thing I have learned with the extra wide backings is to buy a good amount of extra at least a half yard but maybe even a full yard to be safe as often it seems to be wound on the bolt crooked and is not straight at all. One quilt shop I went to always torn extra wide backings as the owner felt that it made the backing straighter and not as much fabric was needed.
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Old 06-17-2020, 05:51 PM
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If it’s a huge quilt, I usually buy a wide back. I like to pick them out in person so I can check the quality at my quilt shop. If it is a smaller quilt less then 45 inches wide, I use quilting cotton. If it is more then 45 but not huge, I piece a back with quilting cotton.
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Old 06-17-2020, 05:55 PM
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I quilt on a long arm and prefer using wideback--with pieced backing I've found that if someone has pieced with some length of grain and some width of grain going different ways that you sometimes get puckers on the LA. But I would also suggest you wash it--I find that some widebacks have of sizing in them to make it easier to get on the boards without stretching so much. The wideback won't be any harder to quilt on your machine than any other backing--if you cut the backing so that it's right for you quilt.

One tip I'll share that I've learned from others--the backing is really the foundation of your quilt, a good backing will make it easier to quilt and make the quilt last longer too.

Last edited by QuiltnNan; 06-18-2020 at 03:24 AM. Reason: shouting/all caps
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Old 06-17-2020, 06:55 PM
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Ugh I hate the idea of washing and drying the fabric. I live in an apartment and an extra load is annoying...im very frugal.

If a bad backing makes for a bad quilt, I probably shouldn't use it, I really love the quilt I made. Maybe I'll go back and see if they have backing in better quality and if not I'll just piece from quilting fabric
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Old 06-17-2020, 09:25 PM
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I usually use either a sheet or 108" wide muslin.
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Old 06-17-2020, 09:40 PM
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I sometimes use good quality wide backs, but normally I use quilting quality cotton. I often piece the back using leftovers from the front of the quilt and supplementing as necessary with matching pieces from stash. I used to find that wide backs weren't the same quality as quilting cotton, but lately I've had no issues with them.
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Old 06-17-2020, 09:47 PM
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I nearly always buy sheets for backing. They are less than a third of the price of quilting fabric. Some are up to 50pc poly and they quilt up fine, but higher poly content I will not touch.
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Old 06-17-2020, 10:56 PM
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Usually, I use what's left over from the front, and try to keep the grains going the same direction. I've used a wide back only once (before I had a long arm). I had a hard time keeping it straight when pin basting. Did quilt one on the long arm-no problems. Over time some wall quilts sag. To hopefully prevent that I use the straight of grain up and down and quilt ~ every 2 inchs.

Last edited by QuiltnNan; 06-18-2020 at 03:25 AM.
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