Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Wednesday top tip

So this week's top tip is all about quilt backs.  What to choose and how to pattern match the back.  These two are somewhat of an obsession with me.  When you've put all that hard work into the front of a quilt, doesn't the back deserve something really special?  I appreciate cost is always a concern for a quilt back but there are plenty of options here:

1.  Keep an eye on the sale pages of your favourite quilt stores.  When I want to stock up on backs, I go to the 50% off sale pages at Fat Quarter Shop and get some amazing bargains.

2.   IKEA do great large scale prints as well as having some great bargains in their bedding department.

3.   I've never found great vintage sheets in second hand shops but I know lots of you have - another great place to hunt for a cheap quilt back.

For me, the larger the scale of a print, the better for a back - that way, when the quilt is turned over, it's as interesting on the back as on the front.

And finally, if you are using a large scale print, it's worth taking the time and trouble to align the print.  To do this, you will need to make sure you have additional yardage equivalent to the size of the repeat.  So, if the repeat is 6", you will need 6" more to make sure you will be able to line the two prints up.

Step 1     Remove the selvedges on the fabric (usually you will have two lengths of fabric).  

Step 2     Press aproximately 1" over along the long side of one of the pieces.

Step 3     Lay that piece on top of the second piece and pin slowly and carefully so that the pattern matches.

Step 4     Slowly and carefully top stitch along the folded edge as close to the edge as possible, using a thread that blends as well as possible and adjusting the fabrics as you go to get the match as close to perfect as possible.

Step 5     Stand back and admire - hopefully the join will all but have disappeared!

If you have any tips to making backing, please add them in the comments to this post, I always learn so much from the comments you leave on these posts!


  1. I love the idea of hiding the join. I usually use left over strips or blocks from the front to join my two lengths together.

  2. I like the tip of topstitching at the join. I've always sewn a regular seam there, but I think the topstitch would be easier.

  3. This is one great tip that I cannot wait to use! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Your joins are beautiful! Thanks for showing us how to do them.

  5. Great post! I never thought about specifically looking for large scale prints for quilt backings, but I love IKEA prints and am delighted that an IKEA store will be opening nearby in the fall of this year. Another tip- I like to buy extra wide yardage on sale to avoid having to seam the backs and beautiful inexpensive 100% cotton extra wide lightweight fabrics are abundant in the upholstery fabric stores. Extra wides are great for long "seamless" borders and bindings, too. Check out the great $1 thrift store vintage 100% cotton queen size flat sheet that I found for a quilt backing here ---> I avoid the poly/cottons.

  6. I agree about using nice fabric for backs - I can also recommend dyeing a brushed cotton flat sheet and you get a lovely heavy quilt! I top stitched the join in the borders of my Christmas Cherry quilt ( as it was the only way to get the dots to (just about) line up - I should have known I was channelling you!

  7. I always make the backing pretty and coordinate with the top whether it be one fabric or a pieced backing. I just can't bring myself to do anything else.


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