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June 29, 2010


Sue Bennett

Oh I am with you on this one. You put so much design into the front. I want the back to look as good as the front. I try to get something out of the same line of fabric that I am working with.

Helen in Switzerland

I guess I'm really old-fashioned on this. 99% of the time I use a natural calico - I just love the feel, the colour, the oldness of it. I have been known to piece backs to include extra blocks and have then colour-co-ordinated. What I really couldn't do is just use any old piece of fabric that is hanging around or a whole lot of left-overs pieced together. I agree with Sue that with all the work that goes into the front I sure as heck don't want anything that stops the back looking great.
On the positive side - be thankful you don't live over here in Switzerland. For $200 I could probably only get fabric for one quilt back - thank goodness for internet shopping. It's way cheaper for me to buy online in the States and pay shipping and import duty than buy locally. Crazy world....


After putting all that work in the front of the quilt, I think it deserves a nice back. I often pay full price for backing. Yes, it's expensive, but so was the front. Asking the quilt shop to cut the backing fabric into pieces is a great idea!


I like to add a surprise to the back of my quilt, and don't really make a quilt from one collection of fabrics. The back of the quilt is for me the place where I can have some fun, so usually add a completely different fabric that ( sometimes ) coordinates with, or add leftovers from the front. I won't skimp on quality however, so the back can cost a pretty penny, especially since I live in Holland and fabrics are pretty expensive here so, like Helen, still save by buying online from the States. You are fortunate that you can get backing for three quilts for that price!


I too want my back to look as nice as the front....that front was a lot of work!! I will use a Kona solid for the back...

I have always asked my LQS to cut the back into pieces for me...even my local Hobby Lobby will do it... and take the coupon!


Me too. I like my back to relate to the front. It doesn't need to be the same line but it does need to tie in with the front. Have you tried wide backs? There are some lovely wide back fabrics around.


I agree on that point - I want to have a matching backing as doesn't have to be the same fabric collection nor does it have to be only one fabric - if I find a solid that matches the fabrics of the front I'd probably choose it b/c after all, it's a matter of $, too...especially living in a country with exorbitant fabric prices...
Sometimes I piece the backing on purpose (rows of coins/checkerboard/including extra blocks from the front...) but I would never only randomly piece leftovers that don't match at all together as I have seen on many's just not my personality ;o).
Thanks for asking - I always love to read the answers.


I also care about the backs of my quilts. I want it to coordinate with the front. Sometimes I piece a simple backing from quilt leftovers. I also will pay whatever for a backing that uses a fabric that I just LOVE. Then I get to see lots of it!


I agree; a quilt needs a backing that fits with the front. I tend to work within a fabric range, so I always get a matching backing.

I cut my fabric myself; just spread it out along the loungeroom floor, measure with a tape measure and cut with scissors, then neaten up with the rotary cutter. I've also learnt to use less backing by cutting 2/3:1/3 and piecing with three sections. Anything to save a little $$.


In my house the quilts get used and you often see the backs. With all the work I put in the top, I want the whole thing to look good. If it's to hang on the wall - I'm not so fussy. Wide backs are convenient, but they are rarely the nicest of greige goods. This has to do with the mills that can produce textiles of that width. I'd rather make the seams and be assured of good quality all the way around.


Being new to quilting, I have only made a few quilts and the backing fabrics are one of the co-ordinates. Yes, it is expensive here in Australia but why piece a beatuiful front and ignore the back which you do see as well. Buying good fabric on special is great, but if not available at the time I would not buy cheap fabric because it won't last just like cheap furniture, linen, shoes, clothes etc. The cheap are throw-away and who wants to throw-away their quilt after a couple of years.

Sue Watters

The back is almost as important as the front because sometimes quilts have to be folded at the bottom of the bed.

I often strip piece my backs with to colors that coordinate with the front so it often looks like a welsh strippy quilt.
Your hobby in the USA is not as expensive as the UK - Ouch
Lovely fabrics you have chosen.


The back of the quilt is as important as the front is to me. Now wall hangings are a little different. I may use a fabric that coordinates but not as exactly as one that I would use on the back of a quilt. I ALWAYS use shop quality fabric. After putting the time, effort and love into a quilt, why cheat on the backing for just a few dollars?

Maria Stahl

I like cozy quilts, so I frequently use flannel for the backs. I buy 90- or 120-inch-wide flannel by the bolt from James Thompson so it's always on hand.

Flannel makes a quilt stay on the bed, too. Also a plus.


I figure I take so much time piecing the front...I might as well take the time to piece the back. I LOVE pieced backings...sometimes that have the front's leftovers, sometimes just fabric that 'goes' with the front. I like to make giant-sized blocks on the back, too...if I've made a pattern with stars on the front, I'll make a giant star on the back. I've also done a 'novelty' back, for instance, for my daughter's graduation quilt, I pieced a back that had novelty fabrics that had some significance in her life...sports, activities, favorite cartoon characters. On that quilt the back was more fun to piece than the front! I rarely do just one fabric on the the variety of many.


I buy white backing by the bolt and hand dye it to go with the front. I always seem to have leftovers pieces since I always cut the backing longer and wider to account for shrinkage. When I was making a lot of quilts for my brother's bosses and his best friend's bosses (they both toured with major rock bands) I would save the leftover pieces and labeled them. I have made a couple of quilts for myself and the backs are a sampling of all these different leftover backing pieces labeled with the date and the artist. I love turning the quilts over and remembering all those quilts!


I tend to go cheap because of necessity as opposed to not caring. I'd love to be able to co-ordinate the top to the back but it often isn't in the cards, so unless I wait until things are on clearance, which does happen sometimes, I go to the discount store. Though I really wish I didn't have to.


I'm usually on the lookout for backing fabrics that coordinate with the top. They don't necessarily have to be matchy-matchy. For instance, if I'm working on a 3 Sisters top, I can usually find prints from a previous 3 Sisters line at a discount for the backing that coordinates - kind of like what you were talking about with all the Fig Tree lines coordinating so well a few weeks back.


I generally piece my backings with a variety of fabric. I like it to at least match the front but it doesn't have to be from the same line. I always use top quality fabric. I odn't want to spend my time and money to make a beautiful quilt top then put inferior fabrci on the back.
So much depends on how I plan to quilt it.

I've never thought of asking the quilt shop to cut the fabric for me- what a great idea!!!


I believe in using the best quality of fabric for my quilt backs. Even if it is plain white, I use a really nice muslin. As a matter of fact, I once made a quilt that I wasn't all that excited about until I added the backing in a coordinating fabric. The backing made the quilt for me!

Question: Do you piece your backing so that the seam runs vertically down the middle or horizontally across the middle?

Lynn Wilder

The back of my quilt is just as important to me at the front. It is all in the finishing....a reflection of me as a quilter. More often than not, I piece the backs of my quilts with coordinated scraps. The cost is minimal compared to purchasing six to seven yards of fabric. At In Between Stitches we will cut the backing for you in any length you wish.


Have you seen wide backing fabric? We make a trip or two each year out to Amish country, and I pick up 3 yards of several different backings. At first I didn't care for the quality - but I think that it has improved considerably since I first tried it (at least 4 years ago). I like nice backings, but a neutral that coordinates with the quilt does work for me.


I love to put a 'surprise' on the back using the same fabric and a similar pattern as the front. I put some thought in what to do to make the back fun while I'm still piecing the top! or, I'll do a checkerboard down the middle...even wall hangings get something! As for the backing fabric--I make sure to buy plenty of 'matchy-matchy' when I'm buying for the top. I often buy from on-line vendors (Fat Quarter Shop!!) and a few others (e-bay has some really nice ones). If I'm going to spend my time and money I want it to be long-lasting and pretty at the same time!


I do like a nice backing-something soft. Sometimes I do flannel if for a fall/winter baby. I do like it to go with the front but if I don't find what I like, I do white or neutral. To me the key is a "feel good" fabric as my quilts are made to be used. I always use quilt shop fabric.
I haven't asked about cutting the backs but I have had them cut fabric in sections for me (for whatever reason) and they have ALWAYS done it cheerfully-no matter what shop I've been in.

Barbara Anne

I have some wide backings and sometimes piece my backing but always, all are bought on sale. It doesn't matter to me if the backing fabric is the same as the front, as long as it's good quality and it coordinates well, I'll be happy with it.

For my very simple or old-fashioned looking quilts, I often use muslin for the backing.

I'm doing that 9 Patch-a-day challenge and waited so late to start that I made all 32 in 2 days! This sweet quilt may get a muslin backing unless I have a backing fabric that will work well.


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