How to know when to buy yards and yards of fabrics for backing?
Do you stash fabrics that are specifically for backing a quilt?
They need to be a large piece for sure and buying large pieces of fabrics is risky.
In the end, it may seems that all of your quilt doesn’t match the backing fabric you have in stash. Have you been in this situation before?
And if there are any fabrics, the fabric is not enough to back a quilt. Ughhh.
That’s me. Cause I rarely ever buy more than 3 yards of the same fabric. Not even on when they’re on sale.
I think 3 yards is the max.
Unless it’s a white solid. I buy those on bolts.
In today’s post, I’ll let you know how I get around with that and share with you some of the ways to work mix matching fabrics to make a quilt back large enough for your quilt.
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#1 Featured Column
This is my favourite way to make the backing. A 44″ wide fabric is often not wide enough as a backing. Lengthwise might be okay since if you have 2.5 yards of fabric, then you’ll have about 90″. To make the 44″ up wide fabric up to the standard size of a queen quilt width (about 54-60″) then you’ll need to add 10-16″ to it.
Don’t forget, remove selvedges.
You can simply add a feature column that is 10-16″ wide or even bigger if your quilt is wider.
It can be all patchwork blocks, or you can mix it up with just plain solid bars.
Let me show you some ideas with this graphic:
I have used this for many of my quilts including I heart Quilt, double wedding ring quilt and my Irish chain quilt.
#2 Simple Cross
I love this idea for any size quilts.
Since you can add in extra collumn and row, you can adjust the size to make your quilt back large enough easily.
You can make a simple solid cross, or use some of this idea of mix matching the next time you try it:
#3 Bar Style
I love this simple way to add length to the fabrics that you have. Perfect for those twin size where you just need to add length to the fabrics you already have in hand.
But of course with all the other ideas, you can always apply this for a larger size quilts too, but you’ll have to piece two of the centre together.
Check out this tutorial on how to piece together backing fabrics and match the patterns!
Here are some ideas:
#4 Staggered Bars
Got a bigger quilt?
Add in bars in each column, this can just be the right amount to get away with whatever you have in hand. Add in 3 bars of 12″ width makes up an extra yard.
#5 Scrappy Style
I have tried a scrappy back once with my union jack quilt. I may have gone a little over-board with the scrappiness or maybe the pieces were just too scattered. Well, I did not like it very much, but it was sure a fun way to make backings using smaller pieces of fabrics I have in hand.
If I were to do this next time, I may set a little rule like having all of the pieces the same width or have one thing uniform to anchor the scrappiness a little better.
Do you have a favourite way to do backing? Or do you like wide backings instead? Let me know in the comment- would love to hear from you.
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Fabulous post and so helpful! thank you!
Lovely post with good ideas. Thank you
I make 6 or 8 extra blocks when I am piecing my top then run them in a panel either down the back or sideways , running a few sashings to help make up the size.Been quilting almost 20 years and all my quilts get this treatment, it’s like getting two quilts in one and I can hide my slightly wonky first block on the back .Never understood why backs have to be boring.Thanks for this blog, it keeps my brain going.
Thanks so much for the idea of not enough material for backing. I love the idea.
Thank you for this topic. It gave me fresh ideas for backings. I thoroughly enjoy coffee, Amira, and I also love receiving your ideas.
Thank you for this topic and examples!
Thank you for some terrific ideas. I know I will be using several of them in the near future.
This is a great help! I have just run into the problem of not enough backing fabric and found your page. Now the back will look like I chose to back it that way and not look like I ran out of fabric! 🙂
Thank you Amira, great information, especially for new quilters. I liked Beth Holness’ comment About making a few extra blocks for the back to tie it all in. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for some fresh new ideas. I volunteer in a Thrift store every Friday and I like to purchase vintage cotton sheets to use as a backing. We get some wonderful cotton or flannel sheets in and I take advantage of them.Sometimes if I use the large portion of the sheet I save the rest and your idea will be most helpful for another project.
I’ve enjoyed your ideas on backing quilts.my g-ma always used a print on the back of her quilts. I’ll be using these ideas thank you. Sharon.
I have way too many scraps so I have
started using the left-over fabric from
the top to add to the backing – even
when I have enough for the back.
Sometimes I make squares to run
down the center and sometimes I just
sew all the scraps together.
Thanx for the backing ideas! I am inspired again and it will help get rid of leftovers!!
I have been adding “interest”to the backs of my quilts for some time noe. I try not to duplicate anything I have done before. If I could attach some photos, I would share them with you. Recently I had a quilt top finished and the perfect backing fabric, but it was about 5” too narrow, so I used your technique of adding a pieced strip the length of the backing and solved the problem!
Thank you Amira.
Hi. Thanks for the ideas. I love the idea of using what I have so on several recent quilts I have mimicked the block (or a couple of blocks) on the back of the quilt, but the blocks are just much larger. For example, I had a 9 patch quilt that had 80 blocks on the front, I found material in my stash and made 4 large 9 patches for the back. It is a challenge I have with myself not to go buy fabric for the back.
Hi. I’m a newbie quilter and I’ve never removed the selvages for my backing HAHA. Is there a reason why we have to?
The selvedges shrink and can pucker your seam.
Thank you for the great ideas Anita. I am fairly new to quilting and always have a hard time knowing if I bought enough backing. The ideas are very helpful tips.
Sorry your name came up incorrectly
I use pieces that are approximately fat quarter size although they are usually cut from my stash. Depending on the size of the quilt, they run either vertical or horizontal. This way I can save the cost of purchasing backing fabric. And it goes together pretty quickly with such large pieces.
Very useful. Thank you.
Thank you! I love your ideas. I plan to incorporate your ideas into my future quilts!