Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Backing fit for a Circle Game

Normally I'm not precious about backing because I can't afford to be.  Fabric in the UK is hideously expensive so backing a regular sized quilt in a designer print would cost something in the region of $70-$80.  So I tend to use old sheets, IKEA sheets or duvet covers or anything else that is free or cheap.  Until now.  This time, with the Circle Game quilt I spent so many hours and blood sweat and tears over, I decided to INVEST in a fabulicious backing.


I looked high, low, north, south, east, west and all over the internet.  I wanted to find the prefect thing.  I wanted something fun and funky with a bit of a retro feel and with plenty of pattern and personality and here's what I chose.  The too cool for school Going Coastal bottle tops designed by Emily (Crazy Old Ladies Quilts) for Michael Miller is my favourite print in her wonderful beachy / coastal line.


What do you think?  What backings do you tend to choose?

44 comments:

  1. Bsckingss are a nightmare, they work out so expensive. I haven't used any sheets yet, but I tend to buy yardage at shops when it is on offer. Even if it isn't my favourite, so I don't mind using it all for the back. And if I can find it, I like extra wide fabric as well as that usually works out better value.

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  2. Ikea Dvala sheets are fantastic. They used to do a really nice neutral beige, but it's harder to get hold of now. I have to admit I scour the charity shops. Last week I got 6 metres of ikea home dec weight fabric for £2.
    I like quit simple backs, so often it's plain with a stripe of fabric from the front just to tie the two sides together.

    Also if i find a sale I tend to hit it hard. East coast quilting closed down a few months ago and had Amy Butler soul blossoms half price with free postage. I'm just finishing it off now!

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  3. There are 2 schools of thought...

    - a) go cheap and cheerful, its only the back, and
    - b) buy what you love and looks great. after hours of work, why 'cheapen' the process.

    Personally, I look at the individual project and evaluate that way, but usually, I opt for option b).

    I try and tie in the backing eg. circle game would have some sort of circular pattern/fabric.

    I think your choice is perfect.

    kx

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  4. That fabric is gorgeous! I tend to go for, like you, whatever I can afford. That's half the reason my big fat dresden (your QAL) quilt is not finished. I really want to back it in a deep purple flanel for my mom, but can't afford to buy the 6ish yards that I would need. Bum. It's her birthday at the end of the month though, so it would be good if I could finish it.

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  5. Wow, I think I've got a new favourite fabric, what a fabu-licious choice!

    I find choosing quilt backs really quite tricky because of the price! I tend to piece smaller bits of fabric, so it doesn't feel like I'm using quite so much yardage (yes, I know I still am using the same amount, but it feels better!)

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  6. Although buying backings in Holland is probably as hideously expensive as in the UK I wait for local quiltshop sales and buy down priced fabrics, or I buy solids, cause they are cheaper. I also like to use leftover fabrics to piece a part of the backing to save some money.
    It depends on the quilt. When there has been a lot of work involved in the top, I just want the backing to be made of good stuff.

    I have never bought yeards from online shops in the USA, cause I have to pay so much VAT and custom service. Is that the same for you in the UK?

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  7. I've only made three quilts so the answer to the backing question is easy: I had bright yellow backing for a strip-pieced quilt (36" square) that included the yellow; a pieced backing for a 50" square using some of the same fabrics that were on the front (I bought too much and wanted to use them up), and a checked green flannel because the quilt top was appliqued checked houses on a green background.

    Fabric in Australia is also expensive but there are some alternatives - depending on how much we want to spend: we have two big box stores in the local area where fabric starts at $9.99 (Australian) and goes up to $19.99. One of them also sometimes has clearance stock at $6.00 or $8.00 a metre. The fabric for my first two quilts came from one of these two chain stores. There are four independent LQS where fabric is around $22 a metre. And my "sometimes" teacher sells discontinued lines at $5 or $10 (minimum cut 1 metre). For the latter, I have to drive one and a half hours across Sydney or pay postage. Most of the fabric for my third quilt was bought here whilst I was attending a class.

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  8. Obviously I meant yards, and I forgot to tell you that the circle game quilt is gorgeous!!

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  9. Great choice Lynne! I usually go with Ikea fabrics as they are so cheap and funky but I have been known to buy designer for the back for special projects :-)

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  10. This is one of the reasons I shy away from making big quilts and the majority of the quilts I do make are backed with solids like Kona which still works out expensive when you need yards of the stuff. I have been known to use sheets although more and more these days they are polycotton blends not pure cotton so that's not always an easy option.

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  11. Looks like I may be in the minority, I'm in KX's "b" group - "buy what you love and looks great. after hours of work, why 'cheapen' the process."

    All my quilts have designer backings that match the fronts. Sometimes they've been bought on sale (my 6m for your dresdens was a Pink Chalk bargain at about four quid a yard) but more often than not it's full price yardage. I like pretty backs and the one time I used a sheet (on your Hexagon Park pattern) it was such a hideous quilting experience I vowed never again! It may be my only fabric purchase that month but I like choosing something nice that compliments the top but that I love, too.

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  12. WOW! That is one gorgeous quilt. Amazing! I love that fabric for the backing, it looks so fun.
    Having only completed one quilt but working on more, my backing is from anywhere with a SALE!
    Please check out my new blog if you get a chance ;)
    xxxx

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  13. It depends on what it is. Wall hangings get calico or bits that need finishing off. Larger quilts get fabric I've bought in a sale, or Ikea fabric, or pieced pieces that I'm bored with looking at. I can't afford to buy full price fabric for the backings.

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  14. I guess is also depends on how many quilts you finish each year and how big that "quilting fund" happens to be . . . right? I'm with you . . . I think some are worth the investment and your choice is fabulous in every way.

    What I've done is, during those times when we've been very blessed (hubby is in sales) I did a lot of shopping online and searching out sales and closeouts . . . choosing fabrics for backings. It's nice now, during tough times I happen to have quality fabrics in my stash for backings. Can't wait to see it backed!

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  15. Perfect backing ... love it.

    I am in camp 'b' too ... I actually think, for me, both sides are equally important. If you've gone to all that trouble why skimp on the back?

    I'm not a great fan of randomly pieced backs ... Now I've gravitated towards plain coloured linen for my backing and sashing I feel much happier.

    I like to hand quilt something boldly geometric to bring some interest to the back ... I'd love just to do a wholecloth quilt that looks like it's been pieced on the front ...

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  16. Perfect choice! Like you budget restraints mean cheap/recycled backing materials, which I'm ok with cos it's usually the front that gets admired/displayed/enjoyed anyways. Jxo

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  17. Love, love, love the front.....but the back? Who cares, everyone will be looking at the front!

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  18. I think you chose a great fabric backing.

    I typically choose a backing that coordinates in either theme, color or style with the front. It's not necessarily something "designer." I also have used scraps from the quilt top pieced with solids to stretch the back. Generally speaking, though, I shop for sales and try to match up something that I love. I have tried the Ikea sheet and have mixed feelings about them. Some seem so thin but then, sometimes thin doesn't matter.

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  19. I seldom buy backing specifically for the quilt, but I always try to make it work together. I live in the US so I have access to less expensive fabrics, and I watch for big sales at the local quilt shop or some online stores. I search the deep discount fabric for ANYTHING even remotely attractive and buy 7 - 10 yards at a time. A few years ago one LQS was offering some Moda bolts at $2 a yard! I bought about 50 yards that day, about half of which is still in my stash. I also like to do pieced backs, incorporating some of the scraps from the front into a few blocks on the back. It helps that I have a ridiculously large stash - I can use two or three large pieces on the back and tie them together with the pieced blocks.

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  20. I love the fabric you chose. It is my favorite in the line too.

    My favorite backings are the ones that feel good when you sleep under them. Of late I've been very happy with extra wide high count muslin from Hancocks of Paduchah. It is super soft, silky, and is a bit less expensive than prints.

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  21. I think that back fabric will be very fun for your quilt, I am looking forward to seeing how you quilt it. I often piece the back from leftover blocks or bits from the front and bits of the fabrics that were left or ended up not being used and then buy a bit of something to finish it off. I try to buy large pieces of sale fabrics I like for future backs as well.

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  22. If I can find a really good deal on 250-300 count sheets I'll buy a king sized set and use the flat one for backing(s) and keep the fitted one for my bed. Everyone wins! For baby quilts and lap sized and whatnot I almost never make a pretty, pieced back (it's so much work after making my gorgeous top!). I'll usually just try and find some inexpensive, but lovely fabric and piece as much together as I need to make it fit.

    And I'm totally irritated at how much you have to spend on fabric! That is highway robbery.

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  23. Perfect backing choice.
    I usually use up what I have on hand, and sometimes wish my backs were a bit more coordinated.
    Nedra

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  24. It's stunning. I go for plain backs usually or whatever is around in same colour family. That one is nice, but reminds me of beer bottle tops! I like the polka dot for the back. :)

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  25. Oh. I love it. For my backings I tend to use solids bought on sale, pieced with scraps from the quilt top and a few choice bits. Sometimes I upcycle -- I spent a good hour at the thrift shop yesterday looking for good quality linens for backs.

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  26. Great choice - it goes really well!!
    I usually do the Ikea sheet thing, or a retro sheet but I did do a special quilt within a Kaffe Fassett workshop and wanted to splash out - but I bought the absolute bare minimum of one of his designs, used a fab ebay buy of a Martha Negley and eeked it all out with using scraps from the front to make up a colourful stripe in the middle.

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  27. It really depends. Often it is a solid Kona with leftovers from the front but smaller quilts are very precious ones do get a backing with patterned fabric. I love Going coastal and also have several yards of bottle top print ready for a back.

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  28. I use sheets mainly for the same reasons as you have stated, unless it's a mini quilt (like my BQS mini) then I use whatever I have available (and not necessarily a designer print!)

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  29. I really like the fabric you chose! It has so much personality, which matches the top so well.

    I tend to use a scrappy backing. I like to try to incorporate the scraps of extra blocks of my quilts into the back to continue the story of the quilt.

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  30. Unless it's a wall hanging (I usually use calico or plain black) I tend to balance what I can afford/am prepared to pay with what I want. I look out for backing in the sales and whenever I go to the shop in Scarborough - £4.80/m - which isn't often. I often choose a solid or a Moda Marble (MM are lovely to hand quilt through) as my first choice, particularly if I'm adding a pieced strip, etc. to the back. I also like my binding to be the same as my backing so that makes choosing slightly more difficult. I backed my Sashiko sampler in a solid and every time I turn it over I wish I'd splashed out the extra £2/m to get the fabric I really wanted...I love the fabric you've chosen, it's going to look great!

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  31. The backing fabric is lovely. I haven't finished many quilts yet and the larger ones I have done were gifts where I have tended to use solids and some of the leftover fabric from the front (but it depends on the quilting as I find that solids don't hide mistakes as well!). I have far too much fabric and am starting to try and use it up so my latest finishes are going to have pieced backs from my stash which also avoids having to try to match up the pattern too.

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  32. After my first quilt, from a LQS class, I now almost buy fabric when it's on sale - and I mean the final sale. Just this morning I used some yardage for a back that I got at my LQS last year on sale for $1.99/yd. If it's under $5/yd, then it's a great backing deal! At that price, 100% sheets are more expensive for me to use.

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  33. My early quilts were backed using plain old cotton muslin, because that's all I knew. Now, I like for my quilt backs to be as interesting as the quilt front, so I may piece the back using fabrics leftover from the front OR back the quilt in an interesting fabric (like your bottle caps) that coordinates with the front. I keep my eyes peeled for pretty 100% cotton sheets at the local thrift shop and my first stop at the local fabric store is always the remnant/sale bins.

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  34. When I seriously started quilting (in 2000), I matched the color/theme of the back to the front, which mean quilt shop quality fabrics. Sometimes I would piece the back with leftover chunks of the top fabrics. I must admit, the backs looked fabulous. :-)

    Let's fast forward to today (and the recently previous years). I no longer have the luxury of affording quilt shop quality fabric for the back ... an area that will hardly ever been seen. Since I now have my own longarm machine, I realize what an utter *pain* pieced backs are and I try to minimize any piecing.

    What I use now is wide backing fabric. Typically, they are 108" (occasionally wider) and it is such a JOY to have that seamless fabric as a backing! The wide backing fabric that I normally use now is simple muslin.

    The muslin makes the back of my quilts very plain, but the more I thought about it (probably to justify the decision), the more I realized muslin is a very traditional backing for quilts. Additionally, having a solid fabric for the backing makes the quilting motifs more visible, so that you could think of the back as a "whole cloth" quilt. :-)

    But mostly I use the wide muslin because it's so (relatively) inexpensive compared to fashion fabric. :-)

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  35. I seem to be headed towards double sided quilts. I am so mean I want my wadding to work hard for me and I seem to use the same fabrics/colours but a very different design. I quilt it as the front dictates and the back still seems to look good! I am set to carry on this way...only exceptions seems to be quilts with very small pieces.

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  36. I like great backs....but hate to use my full price fabric for them. I'm always on the hunt for priced down quality fabrics, so when I find them I stock up....no I mean really stock up. The words I'll take the whole bolt have been known to come out of my mouth a time or two. Great choice!!

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  37. I love this circle game quilt, I knew I should have done that bom!! Fabulous backing Lynne. I like putting my leftover fabrics from my quilt top into my backing...takes longer though!!! xo

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  38. Love the fabric you've chosen.... I was thinking of buying some of the crab fabric to make a new beach bag.

    I have very few large pieces of fabric in my stash so backing quilts is always a challenge. I like many others keep an eye out for bargains....... Like John Lewis who have been selling Tanya Whelan at £5.12 per metre.....or buy larger width plain fabrics. Right now I am making my daughter a sherbet pips quilt and I found some polka dot fabrics that I bought from ikea about 10 years ago which I have pieced with some plain red and I think it is perfect. I say go with the flow I think the quilts talk to us and tell us when they want a special back!!!!

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  39. I have always gone down the economical route for backing..........but, if it is an extra special quilt, would push the boat out. Our shop traded once at a Guild Regional Day and we were selling off older cottons at low prices - we got trampled in the rush - folk were buying 8m at a time, for backing. I like the trend towards pieced backs and have used up a selection of orphan fat 1/4s in this way........always, always cotton tho!

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  40. I love a print for a backing. You have a new follower! This quilt is really speaking to me.. I can't tell you how much I LOVE love love it. :) And love the backing you chose.
    xo
    Kelli

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  41. I actually really like plain backings, so sheets for me, are perfect. I like how you can see the quilting in a 'whole cloth' form on the back. They also wear brilliantly, and you don't need to make any seams on most quilts.
    But all too often I use whatever I have leftover from the quilt top and piece a backing. The cost part of things I don't bother so much about - the quilt top has cost a fortune, so I don't begrudge paying for a backing fabric...I just LOVE the look of a solid and I love no seams so sheets tend to fit the bill (and I have asked moda why we can't have really nice extra wides just for the purpose of backing modern quilts...I'm waiting on an answer).

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  42. I am also in love with the coastal bottle caps.
    I've always done *new fabric to match the front* quilt backs, but I'm starting to like a simple pieced back. Like a stripe of coordinating fabric or a few leftover blocks.

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  43. I think you chose perfectly. I am not precious about my backs, but I don't like quilting through sheets (the thread count is too high and my machine hates it), so I tend to piece smaller bits together, OR buy 6 yards of something off the $5 rack at my LQS. I backed a queen sized blooming 9-patch batik (gasp!) quilt with a vintage bowling print.

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  44. I've tried all the different backings mentioned. I won't do sheets again. I made two quilts backed with yardage that I just loved. Now I like to use all the fabric bought for the front, and piece it with lots of colours from my stash. I love your backing!

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