Backing Your Quilt
For a truly frugal quilt, the
backing of a quilt can also be pieced. However, after doing all
the work on the top, most quilters prefer to use a solid piece of
One quick way to back a quilt is to
buy fabric that is extra wide (usually 108-inches wide).
Most fabric is 44-inches wide.
This means that unless you are making a small quilt, you are going to
have to seam the back. You will buy your backing fabric twice as
long as the quilt (and some to spare; 4-inches per side) and then seam
the long pieces together.
There are 2 ways to seam the back
piece. You can make one seam that runs straight down the back of
the quilt, or you can tear half of the back piece in half, and sew 2
seams, as pictured on the right.
Although it takes a little
longer, it is worth the effort to sew the extra seam. If you put
the seam down the middle. If you seam it down the center, you may find that because the quilt is often
folded at that position, your quilt will start standing up like a tent,
or folding over like a greeting card!
Be sure and buy a fabric that you
like for the backing, because you will have a lot of it left over from
the sides. Also, if you are making a lap quilt, the backing is
going to be seen, and you will want a nicer fabric.
I like to piece my back, but in large blocks of fabric.
This gives it a more homespun feeling, and helps me use up my
You will find a lot of experienced
quilters use a small print on the back. This is because a small print will
help disguise small quilting mistakes.
When you are just starting out, and
you are making your first big quilt and are facing buying 6 or more
yards of fabric for the backing, you will find yourself looking very
closely at discount fabric when it is on sale.
Be sure that the "feel" of the
backing matches the personality of the quilt. You wouldn't want to
put an autumn print on the back of a pink baby quilt.
of the print and color of the fabric. In an ideal world, the
backing would be made from one of the prints on the front of the quilt.
This is also a good place to use
large prints, stripes, plaids, and checks.
If you plan on learning how to
quilt freehand with your machine, here is a tip. Look for prints
that have a good quilting design. You can do your quilting upside
down, following the lines on the design of the backing fabric. This eliminates
the need to do any marking.
If you look at the fabric on the
top of the page, you can see how you could easily follow the lines on
the pattern - with several options.
Be sure and read the section of
fabric and quality
You can find bargains and acceptable fabric suitable for the backing of
your quilt, but you must choose carefully.