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June 29, 2010



The back of my quilt is very important to me and I will pay full price for just the right backing. The only time I won't if I have enough fabric left over from a quilt to make a scrappy back, but a lot of times my quilts are folded down on the bed and I want the back to look just as wonderful as the front. My husband knows this too well about me - like the month I needed backing fabrics for a few baby, anniversary quilts, etc. The bill came in at $800 - he almost had a stroke. Now I plan ahead and stagger that bill out.

Pesky Patti

I don't quilt, but sure enjoy seeing your projects. I'm wondering if anyone ever uses a bed sheet as a backing? Seems like the cheapest way to go...especially if you get it at a Thrift store...


Wide backed fabrics are the best value, You get 108" wide vs 42", so 2 1/2 times the width, but you don't pay 2 1/2 times the money, Good quality wide backs are $15/yd.

Lisa D.

I often use something that's on the front for the back, too. I like everything to coordinate and sometimes I even pay full price for the back (gasp!).

Have you ever used the wide backings that Moda produces to go with some of their collections? I think I used one for one of my quilts, but a customer came in to the shop and said "have you noticed how these don't feel the same as the regular quilting cottons?" and she's right, they don't. They feel thinner, more like a sheet. Now I'm not so sure I like them.

Cathy Burk

I think that the quality of the back is as important as the front...Piecing the back from leftovers is great as long as it's the same quality fabric that's on the front and it matches or coordinates. It does get pricy though, especially when doing big quilts. But after all that work I want my quilt to last!!!


The back has to look good! I feel like the back has to look good otherwise it cheapens the time and effort I put into the front. I usually try to use fabric for the back that matches one of the fabrics on the front, but if I can't match it exactly that's okay too.
I especially love pieced backs for throw quilts, and I buy the fabric for the back at the same time as the front so it is sure to match.


Absolutely! Quilts are like people. If we like the front view, we'll probably take a quick peek at the rear view. ;)

I sometimes think I spend as much time choosing the backing fabric as I did choosing the fabrics for the front! If the quilt front is mostly a collection, then the backing will probably also be fron the collection. I also love putting something "unexpected" on the back ~ a twill stripe for a mostly floral quilt. And there are fabrics that I love but don't use much for the front of a quilt ~ that fabulous sampler print that Blackbird Designs did a few years ago... love that fabric.

And when I can't decide which fabric to use... I'll get lengths of a couple different prints and piece those.

And absolutely, it has to be of the same quality fabric as the front. Sale fabric is good, "discount store" fabric is not. And I don't care for the fabric quality in the extra-wide backings either. It just feels different to me.

One other thing, I also take the batting I want to use in the quilt into consideration when I'm picking my backing fabric. If the front of the quilt has lots of white or light space and I want to use a thinner cotton batting, I won't choose a dark backing fabric. And I tend not to use wool batting with darker backings either. :)


Most of my quilts are made with reproduction fabrics. I usually make the backing out of quality muslin. So many times after the quilting is finished I will lay it on my bed back side up so I can admire the quilting.
I think the back should reflect something of the front and I feel muslin does that for me. If I were making something with batiks or hand dyed fabrics I would use a batik or hand dyed for the backing.


I think the back is really important and I usually try to buy something that coordinates with the front. When the quilting is beautiful I've been known to put the back side up just to show it off.


I don't go with a lower quality (always quilt shop quality for MY quilts! LOL) but I do buy large 5-6 yd. pieces when I find fabric at a good price. THEN I try to get it as coordinated as possibly with the front (though that doesn't always work out) and occasionally do a little creative piecing to make it a little more interesting.

LaRue Jones

I am not QUITE as fussy. But I do want my backing to go with the front in color and theme. My most expensive quilt cost me a whole lot because it was was a Block of the Month in kits, and I paid a premium to have it heirloom machine quilted. However, when the top was done and I went to buy the backing, I got it on a great sale, but It coordinated really well. I was lucky.
When all was said and done, it is a gorgeous quilt, and the backing looks as good at the top.


I like my back to coordinate, but it doesn't have to be from the same line. I can almost always find something that will go well enough from the sale racks :) Luckily, we have some really good sales around here.

Amy C

I am just as particular about the back as I am the front.


My quilt shop didn't want to cut special sizes for me. They were a good shop but had funny quirks like that. It seemed as time went on they were there to make money and not to have good "customer service" to make money. That attitude turned me off from them and I haven't been back for 5 dollar quilts which turned into 200 dollar quilt after everything they wanted us to buy from their store. When I could do what I want I spent much more money at the shop, when I was forced to only use the "desired" look I seemed to stay away.
As for quilt backs.. for me it is determined what it is for. If it is for something specific I try to match or coordinate. If it is a scrappy quilt.. then I use scrappy back.. It just depends..


I love to have a perfectly coordinated back, preferrably with some of the same fabrics. However, you talk about getting it on clearance if it takes you long enough to do the quilt top - I am more likely to not even start the quilt until you can no longer get the fabric. I am relatively new at quilting and am learning the hard way to purchase it all if I have my heart set on something. Thanks for the tip on having the fabric store cut my purchase for me.


I don't often do bed-sized quilts, because I have no place to sandwich and baste them--except the floor and the knees won't let me do that anymore. When I've done them in the past, I use quilt-shop quality fabric, because the back is seen, too, either when the person rolls up in it, or turns it back to get up, etc. I stubbornly refuse to buy fabric "lines", preferring to choose my own fabrics, so the back is usually some fabric that color coordinates with the front.

Pieced backs are fine, but when I do that, I either make the whole quilt reversible, or do the back with some sort of pattern. Just putting fabrics or blocks together willy-nilly is not my style. For wall-hangings, I am leaning towards nice muslin, but table-toppers are often reversible with a different seasonal fabric on the back to make decorating easier.

What a good idea to ask the quilt shops to cut the fabric to size! I'll bet my shop would do that, but I've never thought to ask them.

Gail Sciortino

I like the backing to be somehow "related" to the front.
I can't remember ever paying full price, as in 10$ per yard.
We have a Beverly's fabrics & crafts store here, and
they will accept most coupons, (Bev's takes 30% off even if a coupon says 50%) thats thier new-ish policy...
I shop carefully, and stock up if a fabric is of a neutral color.
Most quilt shops have a clearance section, and I stock up there also for backings...


I just went to a quilt show this weekend and was amazed at what was on the back of some quilts. The quilts were wonderful but when you looked at the back - it was like "what where they thinking" - and they must not have been thinking.
I don't do matchy, matchy but I like a good look on the back. Lots of time involved in the front - the back needs to show some thought too.


I always use backing that is the same quality as the fabric for the rest of the quilt (usually MODA!!!) Most of the time, I buy coordinating fabric too. If I can find it on sale, I buy Moda wide backing fabric. Sometimes I cut stash into 10" squares and sew it together so I can use up stash and buy more. I never do plain white or muslin because I have black cats and tabby cats who think every quilt is theirs and shed!

Cathy McMann

I'm with you, I like the back to coordinate because you never know when it is going to show. And while I'm all for saving money, I don't like to use cheap fabric after all the work I put into a quilt; I want to be assured the back will last as long as the front. For large quilts, like queen bed size, I like to buy the extra wide backing (usually 108" wide), which eliminates the need to piece the back. Other times, I piece the back "creatively" to use up leftovers from piecing the top.


I like to use flannel for the backs... I watch for sales and then will buy some to put away. I try to get different colors so I can try to match the quilt I am finishing.

I didn't realize fabric in Europe (Switzerland!) was so $$



Loved this post! What a great topic for discussion. I actually read this in the morning but just came back so I could read the comments! I like scrappy backs...if it fits the quilt...but sometimes you just need full yardage of one of the fabrics from the front. I got lucky a couple of weeks ago and got 7 1/4 yards of martinique for a back at 30 per cent off...but I've been known to pay full price if I can't find a sale!


I try to buy discounted fabric (as said before, often from a previous line) and use that as the backing. As long as it looks OK with the binding, I think that's close still makes it reversible!


I love matching my back with one of the fabrics used in my front. It just seems to tie it all together. I came across instructions for a Diagonal Pieced Backing at under free patterns. It works awesome!! It really has saved me tons of $$ on fabrics for backing.


Oh, I wish I could put just anything on the backs of my quilts, it would save me so much money. I do scrappy backs if I can coordinate but, like today, I frequently buy a complete back. However, today what I found was on SALE. How cool was that?

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