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Pieced backing for quilt

by Gloria

Gloria writes...

When you have to piece the back for a quilt, is it okay to just join in the middle or should it be done in thirds.

Julie replies...

Good question!

My preference is to put the seam anywhere but the center of the quilt back.

Without thinking (and I do know better!) I'll fold a quilt in half and in half again...right on top of that seam allowance. Conventional wisdom says folding the quilt that way puts extra stress on the seam and I agree.

Here are a couple of techniques to keep the seam out of the center.
  • Because I view the back as another excuse to buy fabric and most of my quilts are large enough to require a pieced back, I'll often buy two different fabrics (two is better than one, right?!) The fabrics are cut into wide, lengthwise grain strips. The strips are alternated and sewn together to create the backing 'fabric'.

    Especially when the quilt is meant to hang on a wall, it's a good thing to have the stronger, lengthwise grain run from top to bottom to reduce stretching or sagging over time.

  • Piece your large square and rectangular scraps together to create a cheap don't have to spend any extra for it...and use up a fabric that won't find a home in another quilt. I use this alot when I'm using 'kid' flannels.

  • The tried and true method is to split the second length of fabric in two and sew one to each side of the full width center length of fabric.
All these methods will keep the seam out of the center, and I believe that's the thing to do!

Readers, your thoughts and opinions are valuable to us. Please feel free to share them via the 'Comments' link below.

Thank you!

Comments for Pieced backing for quilt

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Art Backs
by: Julie Harstad

I love the opportunity to create an "art back", a back where you didn't have enough of any one fabric, or it is not wide enough. It adds a little surprise to the quilt. I like coordinating fabrics for the back and I usually have lots of extra yardage because I over buy when I am creating my top. Sometimes I work in an extra block or strips.

When constructing the back it is just as important to put the time into making it correctly. Remove salvages. Use a half inch seam. Press well. Make sure your back is square, with no rippling. All these things facilitates loading it on the long arm machine and makes the finished product all you envisioned. Also, it is difficult to center a horizontal pattern on a long arm, so if possible plan on a vertical pattern for the back.

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