Friday, November 17, 2017

10 Ways to Make a Quilt Back

Not sure why quilt backs have been on my mind lately, especially considering the fact that by the time I finish a quilt top, I really don't want to give the back much of a thought. And I'd say the larger the quilt, the more I struggle with a quilt back plan. I guess it just is what it is. But for what it's worth, I've gathered up some options.


1. Whether it's purchasing a wide-back for a large quilt, or discovering an unexpected find in the ole stash that works perfectly with the smaller quilt top I've created, a whole-cloth is quick and satisfying. The time I used a panel from Jeni Baker's Nordika turned out really fun, showing off the quilting like it did.



2. Matched-seam backing is one of the newer techniques I've tried, and I'll work on perfecting it. Of course, you need to have an extra long length of fabric, depending on the design and all, but totally worth it now and then.



3. Seriously, if I made a backing of stashed fat quarters for all my future quilts, I think I'd be set for life. Simple to sew together, and a great stash buster.



4. Using a design repeated from the quilt front is probably my favorite way to create a quilt back.



5. A close second is using just an element from the front design.



6. Something I've just done a couple of times, but with great effect is the use of border prints. I was so pleased how this turned out!



7. Of course, the combination of simple geometric elements is always a win-win.



8. Once I chose to super-size just one block from the 100 on the front.



9. And of course, sometimes an improvisational pieced back is just the trick. Oh yeah.



10. And lastly, it's great fun to back a quilt top with another quilt top. Won't do a bona fide two-sided quilt every time, but I loved doing it here. And for those of you who have stacks of quilt tops ready to quilt.... well why not?

  

So do you have a go-to quilt back? Or do you have one that you're extraordinarily pleased with? Do you take your time with it, or get it over with as fast as you can? Do tell!

35 comments:

  1. For me, babies get the fanciest backings. The last 2 had the baby's name appliqued on the back. It's was fun to supersize the letters and the parents are surprised when they see it on the back. One baby's quilt had the leftover fabrics sewn into something that could have easily made a second quilt. For bed sized quilts, I like to use widebacks for the convenience.

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    1. Those are some great ideas. I’ll have to try some.

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  2. Those are all terrific backs! I often use up leftovers from the front to piece a back, have done stripes and super sized blocks, but for huge quilts a wideback is a relief not to have to make!

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  3. I haven't been very creative about my quilt backings at all in the past few years. I tend to love to have the backing be a solid so that the quilting shows off on the reverse side, and that's about it. These are great ideas!

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  4. This was a very informative little foray into backs. Loved the photos. Sewing fat quarters together -- wow, wish I'd thought of that (sometimes you really can't see the forest for the trees -- head smack :)!! Thanks for all the work you do to share your newsletter and these very helpful blog articles.

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  5. This is why I have so many tops just waiting to be quilted.its gotten a bit better with the availability of more wide backing fabrics. But thanks for some great new ideas!

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  6. Thanks, this is very timely! I'm currently using a combination of 3 and 9 but was wondering if it was 'ok' or wAs not the done thing - now I'll persevere and hope it's not too difficult to quilt through 2 layers of pieced blocks!

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  7. Loved your backing ideas. I have used leftover orphan blocks on several quilt. But mostly I just piece together whatever I have left over or in the stash.....you know, to just get it over with!

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  8. I especially like your huge block idea and the use of a border print. More often than not I want to be done and move on so I don't spend a lot of time on the back. I stock up on sale fabrics for backing so have a few to choose from. I'm piecing some leftover HST together today so the backing fabric I have will be enough. I like the look of a simple stripe of a contrasting fabric or two running down the back but other than that have only gotten fancy once and that was when I was purposefully trying to use up some older fabrics. What I really need to get better at is labeling. Am thinking about purchased ribbon labels but don't know which ones to try.

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  9. I especially like your huge block idea and the use of a border print. More often than not I want to be done and move on so I don't spend a lot of time on the back. I stock up on sale fabrics for backing so have a few to choose from. I'm piecing some leftover HST together today so the backing fabric I have will be enough. I like the look of a simple stripe of a contrasting fabric or two running down the back but other than that have only gotten fancy once and that was when I was purposefully trying to use up some older fabrics. What I really need to get better at is labeling. Am thinking about purchased ribbon labels but don't know which ones to try.

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  10. That poster in coral....just makes my heart sing. Backs...I love backs. Perfect place to play with a little improv, should one be somewhat hesitant about improv quilting.

    QAYG is perfect for ending up with interesting backs. I just make sure the colours play well with the front and what happens after that is what it is. Since I quilt my blocks before joining and I have no idea where they will end up in the quilt....random things happen and I love it.

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  11. Some are easier to quilt than others, but they are all beautiful, and all have a place in your library of techniques. Thank you!

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  12. Great ideas! I especially like using the border print. You find a border you've got to have and then it just sits in the your stash! Why not put it on the back!

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  13. I like to use uglies for the back that echo the color scheme of the front. Also like orphan blocks and leftovers!!! Love the Poster in Coral back,looks more like a front!!!

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  14. Love your backing ideas! I've often thought of making two quilt 'tops' and using one for the backing, since I especially enjoy making the top part of each quilt....but I also enjoy rummaging in my stash to find a fun backing. Usually I look for a fabric piece large enough to use for backing, but lately I have started to mix and match a few fabric pieces to make the backings more interesting. You have given me more ideas - thank you :)!

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  15. Love all of these! I like to raid the sale pages when searching for quilt backings. I usually piece them with a strip of a coordinating solid or print so that I don't have to spend too much time pattern matching. I like using wide-backs as well - so quick and easy! I have a few 100% cotton IKEA flat sheets and duvet covers that I plan on using too. You can't beat their prices and with the duvet covers, you basically get two quilt backs for the price of one.

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  16. Love all of those options!! I usually have left over scraps or blocks from the fronts and I try to use up the fabric in the same quilt and love making a big block of the front element or just piecing to use up coordinating fabric. Wonderful post.

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  17. Wonderful and informative post. You’ve given me options I hadn’t thought of before. Thank you

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  18. I don’t usually give my backs a whole lot of thought - by the time the top is finished, I’m pretty much ready to get to the fun part - the quilting! So I like using a wholecloth for the back (wide backs are especially useful for that), but I used fat quarters a couple of times now and really like it.

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  19. With a cupboard full of fabric I'm a big fan of a pieced back. It makes a quilt just that much better to flip it back and see the extra design. It's worth the extra effort in my opinion!

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  20. I like the idea of using FQs. I have a bunch that I'm not terribly fond of but they could work well as a back. I scored an IKEA duvet once with the black and white letters. It was just big enough to make a back without seams. Yay! I also use leftover trimmings from blocks to run a strip down the center of a plain back; I don't have to worry about matching seams and it alleviates the plain feeling of the back. I love that mod-Irish back.

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  21. I just love to use my leftovers, a block or something, or a further "Explanations" to the quilt. So I piece the back according to the top.

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  22. Love how you have summarized this! If I have the time, I prefer to make the backs interesting, part of the quilt story. But lately I am guilty of going with wide back fabrics for ease and speed!

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  23. If a top is just a little too wide for a single width of backing fabric (pretty common for throw-sized quilt) I cut the backing fabric in half vertically and insert a stack of coins panel made with scraps from the front, and coordinating solids, if needed.

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  24. Ooo, I've done what Ellen suggested several times before.

    I used to be all "carefully designed backing" and "use lots of scraps/leftovers." But then I was lucky enough to meet Victoria Findlay Wolfe and Kathleen Riggins who were both "wide back or a single seam." Get it done quickly so that you can move on to the next quilt. Haven't looked back yet!

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  25. It depends on whether I am hand quilting or machine quilting. When I am quilting by hand, I like fewer seams on the back and often do a whole cloth backing. Also, if it is baby or lap sized, I often take extra care in making it two-sided because both sides will be seen and used.

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  26. Back when the earth was warm, I learned a technique to do a matched seam backing, as in your Venti. Press down one of your backing seams (1/4" or some do 1/2"). Wind a bobbin with fusible thread. Stitch on the back seam (within the edge of fabric and the just pressed seam line) right side of fabric facing down (so that the fusible bobbin thread appears on the right side of fabric). Now with the other backing piece laying flat, right side up, you can easily view the pattern you are trying to match, against the previously pressed, fusible threaded backing, then lightly fuse together. The fusible thread disappears in the fibers of the fabric, holding it together long enough for you to sew the backing seam........remove fusible BOBBIN and LABEL OR MARK IT "FUSIBLE". Put in a bobbin of thread. Sew an accurate seam allowance (1/4" or 1/2"). Now you have perfectly matched seams.

    I love your ideas for unique backings. I delight in turning over a quilt, to find some exciting creation on the back!!!

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  27. I'm a fan of using low thread-count flat sheets from Target or Ikea. Have to make sure they're 100% cotton, but usually cheaper than the wideback yardage. OR you can even use a duvet cover, again, Ikea has the best prices and nice low-threadcounts.

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  28. Good article, you sharing is awesome, love it!

    GlassesShop

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  29. This is a great post . . . there is no reason that the back can not be as pretty as the front. I love quilts that can be reversed and used both ways. The biggest problem that I have with that is not knowing where to put the label. Maybe you could share some inspiring ideas on that as well. You have such an amazing talent and your quilts are all treasures. Thank you for this sweet post. I am going to bookmark it and refer back to it again and again.
    Happy quilting!
    Connie :)

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  30. Inspirational!! Thank you! ( Fat quarters, duh. Palm slapping forehead).

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  31. They are all amazing and now I have to fire up my sewing machine.💜

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  32. Whenever possible I like to use what's left from the front on the back so I don't have to add it to my scraps. Sometimes figuring out something interesting for the back is really time consuming, but always worth it. Thanks for the Show and Tell. Every one of these ideas is great.

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  33. All such great ideas! I love the border print one and also the fat quarters. I often use the leftover fabric from the quilt top and piece it into a back. Stash busting for the win!

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