QOTD 9-6 Backings

rosajoe_gwSeptember 6, 2011

Seeing Beverly's gorgeous backing made me think of this question.

I started as a hand quilter and my first quilt was a whole cloth quilt. The 'traditon' was a white (or solid color)backing so the quilting would show up. I'm stuck in that old habit, I rarely use prints for backing and I have never made one with blocks on the back.

Now, learning to machine quilt the prints come in handy to hide the mistakes (I'm still not good at FMQing lol).

I know some like Robbi are just starting out so they will probably be more adventurous with the backing.

I'm still favoring white muslin for backings and trying to get out of my comfort zone.

What did you start out with for backings and what do you prefer??


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I don't remember the first backing, but I often use a fabric that is in the top or barring that, a colour that ties in with the top. It is rarely a solid. And on occasion I have had to do some piecing because I did not have enough of that chosen fabric.
Just yesterday, I remade two beds in the guest room and I flipped the quilts over to their backsides to show that lovely print for a change of scenery.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 2:06PM
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I've always used a pattern print on the back of my quilts. It's what I had available when I was teaching myself to quilt.
Nowadays the back of my quilts are just as apt to be as decorative as some of the fronts.
With the price of fabric rising I'm using more bits and pieces to do the backs than ever before. It's kinda nice cause it gives me options when I use the quilts.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 2:26PM
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I've never used plain muslin or white, I use whatever is available in prints, plaids, TOT, sheet fabric, and most importantly....what is a good price! I have used flannel for the backing in baby quilts but now, mostly not.

The "manly" quilt I made recently included some large flying geese blocks on the back. I really liked that and will add blocks used on the front to the back again.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 3:29PM
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I've always used printed fabrics for the back and rarely pieced anything until recently. For me, the extra time it takes to piece the back is more time than I usually have. I'll put my efforts into the top.

In the last year I've done 3 quilts with pieced backs using up leftovers from the front. This took almost as much time to layout as the front! It is definitely a thrifty perspective, but not one I'll use all the time.

Another thought I've considered about a pieced back (flying geese, blocks, etc.) is getting it placed just right on the frame for quilting. If it weren't perfectly centered or straight it would bother me forever.

I've also thought to sew the label into the backing as a 'block', but I don't usually think about the label until I'm done and then it's too late. And again, it would take more time to plan/piece it than a large one-pieced backing.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 4:35PM
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I've always used a fabric from the quilt top for the backing. I do piece if necessary, but only 2 or 3 pieces of the same fabric.

Getting a back with pieced blocks loaded onto a frame system would be a nightmare - and like Jennifer said, it would bug the crap out of forever if they weren't straight and square.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 5:36PM
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To me, a pieced backing is like making another quilt top. By the time I get a top completed, I'm usually tired of it and don't want to prolong the process. If all I had were pieces for a backing, then I might consider it.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 6:42PM
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I started quilting with a class that said make top and backing similar colors so the bobbin and top thread can match. That way you won't see any little bits of color if the tension gets off. Then I learned the hard way that a solid color back shows all my mistakes. They say the best quilters use patterns on the back to hide all that.

So, I use a patterned backing, keep thread colors similar and often use invisible thread if the top is multicolors. I piece the backing only if I need to make fabric stretch. I haven't a lot of interest in the backing looking special.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 6:46PM
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When I started I used a plain fabric that was used on the top and borders but brached out to use flannel and fleece for childrens quilts. I have pieced a few but usually because I didn't have enough of the main fabric to do the job. One I did an elaborate back with pictures of family and multicolored strips as sashing, the front was a log cabin variation. Now for my bedsized quilts I mostly use wide backing so I don't have to deal with the seams and use a patterned TOT. I think the wide backs are the most economical way to go and there are so many different kinds to go with. I have used wide plain muslin and like the effect with scrap quilts. I am pretty open mined.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 8:11PM
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Interesting question!
I've always used a printed back that either complimented the top or was a fabric from the top. I'll use muslin for a wall hanging back but not on a quilt to be used. I would have to wash it too often!

Its kind of a new thing for me, but I'm enjoying doing some piecing on the back right now. I make sure to do it as an off-center design so I don't have to worry about lining it up with the top when quilting it.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 10:11PM
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Like many others, I've always used a print that complimented the top. Usually the only piecing was one center seam.

When I did my teeshirt quilt I didn't have quite enough backing fabric and added some border fabric in a diagonal stripe.

One year I did two birthday block swaps, each with 1930 repro fabrics. I had so many great blocks I decided to make two quilts and do them back to back. I have one side that's more pastels and the other is bolder. I like it so much I may do more that way--I'm running out of places to use quilts but still want to make them.

Using two at a time works for me right now.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 6:39AM
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I spend way too much time on my backs....the effect of reading to many blogs....lol....I like the offset look and whimsy it brings to the back. I have only used a solid one time - learned my lesson!! I don't care for the plain back, but none of my quilts are tradional.

The lesson I thought I learned was not to buy the fabric for the back until after the quilt was made or really close to being done. Last night I rejected the back (a coordinate) I had bought - it was too matchy-matchy, and the color would show every single stitch when quilting.
I should at least stick to my own rules! hahaha

Jayne - I looked at the wide backings offered at Fabric.com last night. Where do you find the best price on wide backings? It would make life much simpler. They even had flannel.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 8:42AM
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It was funny to see my name in your QOTD!! Since I am so new and only actually finished 2 quilts, I did solid backs. That's mostly because that's what they had at the quilt shop (so I didn't have to piece fabrics) . I'm working on a top now and already bought the back, and it is a print, but also 1 piece. I have a friend that is going to quilt this one, so I will mail all the pieces to her and let her sandwich and quilt it.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 9:26AM
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The quilts I grew up with had plain unprinted flour sacks pieced and used as backs. The printed sacks were used for the tops. The ones my grandmother made later in life had whatever fabric she had as backing. The fabric shops had a large collection of wide fabrics in simple patterns 40 years ago and she bought that by the bolt and used it till it was gone. Didn't matter if it matched the top or not.

For my quilts I have usually try to find a back that at least blends with the top, but if I cannot I will use a nice quality muslin. I usually use 2 widths of regular quilting fabric instead of purchasing wide backs, but my muslin I do get wide since seams will show with it. The red and white was my first back with blocks in it. It worked better than I thought it would and in the future I may use pieces left from the front and just sew "cuunks" together and border it for the backing.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 9:53AM
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Almost every on-line quilt fabric store has 108" backing fabrics and almost all of them have sales from time to time. You can even get wide batiks on sale. A couple of my favorite places are fabric.com and fatquartershop.com.

These are expensive but gorgeous with a border on each side. Imagine the awesome effect this would have! sewbatik.com double border 108" wide backing I haven't used one of these yet, but the day I find one on sale I'm going to buy it no matter what color it is and then I'll design a quilt top to go with it.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 4:17PM
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There an many places to get the extra wides. I just got one with pre-order from Hancock of Paducah for 5.89 a half yard. A great buy and the reason I got it was because it was 110" wide which was important for this quilt. That is very rare but H of P usually has interesting fabric and good prices.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 6:10PM
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The new Fall/Winter H of P catalog came in the mail today!!! Woo hoo! I was going to start painting the office tonight but ended up paging though that all evening. H of P has wonderful backing fabrics and good sales.

Another site I thought of is thousandsofbolts.com.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 8:19PM
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I got the backing for the wedding quilt from HoP. Wide and one of the fabrics in the top. It wasn't available here. I don't do much online shopping but this is one place I do go to. Shipping to Canada isn't always practical, cost-wise.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 8:03AM
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