Wednesday, September 18, 2019

10 Ways to Make a Quilt Back II

A couple of years ago I first shared 10 Ways to Make a Quilt Back, and it seems time to refresh it a bit. Part of the impetus is the #partyinthequiltback hosted by 3rd story workshop over on Instagram. "It's a festival with daily prizes, community, and fun," running from September 18-22. 

So here are some of the many ways I create quilt backs. It's rarely my favorite part of the quilting process, but a necessary one nonetheless. And it's definitely good to have options, right?

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.

And for this baby quilt, it was a chance to really show off a sweet print.

Baby Coin

2. Matched-seam backing is one of the newer techniques I've tried, and I'm still perfecting my skills. Of course, you need to have an extra long length of fabric, depending on the fabric's design, but it's totally worth it.

3. Two years later, it's still true. 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....

or repeated elements.

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 and I need to do it again!

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

Both the solid version above and the gingham one below completely use leftover fabrics from the front, a matchy-matchy approach I really love.

8. It's also great fun to super-size just one block from those on the quilt front.

9. And surprise surprise, sometimes an improvisationally pieced back is just the ticket. Oh yeah.

10. And lastly, why not 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 tell us about your go-to quilt back, will you? And consider joining in with
#partyinthequiltback. Fun times and inspiration to boot.


  1. Love all your suggestions! Actually, I think I've done every single one of them myself, at one time or another. Though, I no longer buy fat quarters, so that one isn't doable. And yes, I have used another quilt top as backing. It took quite a bit of time to make, as I'm sure your Bilateral quilt did (I really like that one!) but it nicely used-up more stash. I continue to sew and make from stash, though for backings I now most often go to wide backs or one yardage. My stashed fabrics have ALL been cut into, and are now proving difficult to work with because they just keep getting smaller and smaller! :-)

  2. I, too, have done most of your suggestions. Sometimes it totally depends on how I felt about the front. Some tops go together not quickly but easily. I just finished one (all Christmas mittens) where if it could go wrong (upside down thumbs, two left mittens), it did go wrong and by then it was going to be a simple back and I was going to bind that thing quickly! Other times it's fun being as creative on the back as I was on the front.

  3. I love all your creativity! I have so far only done a few timid big-block backs, choosing to mostly repeat a fabric from the front. But I like the idea! Thanks!

  4. What a fun post Debbie! I love your ideas both for front and backing. Thank you for sharing 😘

  5. I love pieced backings, but my go-to is mostly 1 print backings if at all possible. If I can't find a matched backing, and I have left over fabric from the front of the quilt - I can get a little creative, but only then :)! Love all your ideas - need to venture out more when creating my backings.

  6. Thanks for the ideas! I have used flat sheets, both decorative and plain, as quilt backs. Of course, cotton sheets are now almost more expensive than purchasing fabric by the yard.

  7. Timely post! I've always loved adding that extra twist on a quilt back. It can be big or small it doesn't really matter. Lately I've come to love a solid back that shows the contrasting thread of a design. But, the best part about pieced backs is using stray blocks or scraps!

  8. Excellent examples and a good nudge to be mindful about backings and impact. Sometimes getting it DONE is the overwhelming factor.

  9. Thanks for all of these great ideas~!

  10. I love to use up fabrics by using them in my backings - long strips or large 4 patches or 9 patches, this is a great way to use up yardage we might never use...

  11. Great ideas and seeing these made me realise how much I love strong graphic modern quilts. They are too lovely for backs!

  12. I like to look for panels on sale. I will invest in them and use them on my backs if the colors and theme work will together. It gives interest and fun on both sides.

  13. I like to use leftover blocks (with a lot of extra background).

  14. Yeah! Love them all! We do mostly charity quilts with donated fabric and it can be fun to "design" a backing! Thanks for the inspirations!

    1. Exactly! You obviously enjoy a pieced back too!