Pieced Backings

rivkadrJanuary 24, 2011

I've been thinking about what to do for my future quilts -- it's not in my budget to buy extra wide backing for my quilts anymore, and most of my stash is only 2 yard cuts -- not long enough for anything but small quilts. Also not interested in using sheets as backing; just don't like it, and also it costs money. I want to work out of my stash, so piecing it is!

So what kind of pieced backings have any of you done? I'd really appreciate any pictures...

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(I do not have any pictures to show you.)
I have taken the left over fabric from my project and pieced them together randomly and made the backing from that. So it does blend well.
In my quild, members also do this, and this was actually where I got the idea. Others have done this for when making charity or baby quilts pieced the backing with suitable fabric from their stash pieces. Sound terrible to you??? Actually, it looks much better than it sounds.

This is a great way to use up small pieces of that wonderful fabric you have on hand.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 1:01PM
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I don't have any pics but I can tell you what I do. I start with a fairly good size rectangle then frame it with fabrics that go with the front till I have enough to make a back.
It's quick sewing. Makes for very few seams and adds some interest to the back plus it uses up leftovers from other projects.
Either that or I simply cut and stitch strips the length of the quilt back I need and just stitch them together till I have enough to go the whole width. Again I use what is on hand. Sometimes the back ends up being more fun to do than the front.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 1:12PM
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I saw quilts from a very well known professional who always had backs made up of whatever she had on hand, big pieces randomly joined. She said "who cares" and she's right. So, if people are doing it everywhere, why not. I love the idea of one big piece with leftovers framing it. That looks as good as a quilt top really.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 1:29PM
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On another board that I asked about this, someone suggested using 10" squares of fabric -- you can get 4 blocks out of a normal width of fabric, and I think that if the fabric was chosen wisely, it could look really good. It might be a good way to use up some of the fabric I have that I don't love as much anymore, and I think if it's done well, it could look almost as good as the front...

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 2:14PM
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I saw where someone sometimes uses Printed Panels as the focus fabric for her backings and pieced until large enough - they were very nice! I think it works in a theme or child's quilt. She was using up her stash of panels.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 9:30AM
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"I start with a fairly good size rectangle then frame it with fabrics that go with the front till I have enough to make a back."

Thanks for that idea,Carol. I'm always trying to find ways to piece backings and this is great. Like rivkadr, my budget is limited and this idea lets me use my stash and make a nice backing.


    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 9:40AM
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One method of piecing a backing fabric that's isn't full width of the quilt that appeals to me (haven't tried it because I haven't needed to yet), is cutting the backing fabric vertically at an angle, into trapezoidal pieces, then piecing them offset the necessary amount top to bottom so it's the correct width. The length of the backing fabric needs to be greater than the length of the top and how much depends on how much wider the top is than the backing fabric. There are of course spare pieces at top of one piece and bottom of other but these extras can just be part of your stash. Of course, the greater the discrepancy between width of top and width of backing, the more length you'll need to of backing fabric. I know there's a website explaining this but I don't have it handy right now.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 10:00AM
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Hi Rivka,

I just ran across the tute where the quilter suggests the 10" blocks pieced for the back, I can see where that might be nice.

In the last couple of years I've been dabbling in pieced backings, mostly for my own pleasure & delight (especially w/ bits of Batiks).

I've read about a technique of a solid back w/ a central strip comprised of strips & bits of components fabrics of the front of the quilt.

So I tried same for myself. Am showing the front so one can see the colors w/ which I was working.

Full front:

Closer up to see the fabrics:

closer still:

full back:

closer detail:

closest detail in back:

I grew to really love this piece (it was an exercise for a class in Color, not Quilting.)

It takes one strong stomach to handle working in purple, orange & yellow, especially for this NYer who usually wears a lot of black. I was in psychedelic color shock for a while, but thought the piece quite successful even tho' far outside my usual comfort zone.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 6:23PM
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I have enough quilts (gasp!) to last several lifetimes, but I like to quilt so I'm always working on another. What I've started doing is making two-side quilts. I piece a top and put it aside. I piece another and use it for the backing.

Here's the tutorial on using 45" fabric to make wide backs. Scroll down to Diagonal pieced back.

Here is a link that might be useful: Diagonal pieced back

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 6:04AM
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My one and only quilting friend, who passed away last year, did the same thing with her backings. She would make strips of either squares or HST's using the fabrics she put on the front and either put one near each end if it was a rectangular quilt or make a frame on all sides if it was a square quilt.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 6:50AM
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Here's pictures of how this lady does pieced backs.

I have taken strips and sewn them together to go a nice pieced back.

This has signed blocks in the center and pieced around those.


Here is a link that might be useful: pieced backs

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 6:54AM
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Here is the back of GD's quilt. I ran out of the blue and substituted leftover blocks and strips from the front.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 11:38AM
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I've done many pieced backs although I don't have a picture to share. I often combine leftovers from the front with muslin in some simple pattern. Only an heirloom type quilt that I'm paying for long arm quilting on gets a special fabric for the back.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 9:31AM
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