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June 29, 2010



I'm not as bothered about the back. I like it to match but I'm not willing to pay premium money for the back fabric. I look for sales or I will use something from a chain fabric store.


I used to piece my backs out of all my leftovers from the quilt . . . or I would use fabric from the same collection . . . and do as you do . . . sew 2 or 3 pieces together . . .

not anymore . . .

my favorite fabric store now carries a nice selection of extra wide fabrics . . . they range from 108" to 120" . . . all I do is buy the length I need and send it to the quilter with my quilt . . .

there is always a couple of nice long strips leftover that she gives back to me and I can use it for piecing in another quilt . . . so I carefully choose my fabric pattern with this in mind . . .

and the price is really good too . . . usually less than $15 a yard . . . and most times I only need 3 yards at the most . . . sometimes less . . .

a lot of online stores also carry this extra wide fabric . . .


I forgot to say . . . using the extra wide backing fabric . . . I get to see the quilting design and it's usually beautiful . . . it looks like a whole cloth quilt . . .

so I make sure my binding can enhance both sides and sometimes use the back on the beds for a change off . . . they look beautiful because of the quilting . . .


Nicole, I know that many of my quilting friends also feel it is 'just the back' of the quilt so it doesn't matter but they still want a quality fabric on the back. I sometimes spend as much time chosing backing as I do the fabric for the quilt top because I like a nice fabric that will reflect the theme or personality of the top. Another thing that is alway in my thoughts when chosing my backings is "would this backing work to make my quilt 'reversible' (so to speak) if I wanted to use it that way. If the fabric meets those expectations, it is right for me. Your right too, this is an expensive art form we have chosen and it is nice to save where we can, but for all the effort and love that goes into a quilt top, I just can't make myself use...well, something like muslin for the backing, except on table toppers or wall hangings. There is nothing wrong with it for those that do. It is just not my choice for what I feel is the 'finishing touch' on my quilts.


Absolute heaven is finding a wide backing that compliments my top. I don't mind getting artsy on the back of smaller quilts, but the last thing I want to do on a king or queen is to have to wrestle with even more fabric to finish it off. That doesn't mean I won't do it, I would just prefer not to. I've also found a pretty good place to order wide backings -- or Fatbacks, as they call them. You might want to check them out:


I feel that backs should be of the same quality as the top. Why work so hard on the front just to have the back disintegrate rendering the quilt unusable? I usually match my backs to the front, usually with one of the fabrics used in the top.


I forgot to mention that I am very fortunate that most of the local quilt shops in my area carry the 108" backings fabrics. The choices are very limited, but occasionally you'll find one that is just what your looking for. The backing for my large 2009 Thimbleberries BOM quilt is the 108" fabric. It was from the two years Thimbleberries BOM for 2007 and it was $3.99 yrd. Same rich color as the one for my BOM just a different print. I saved a bundle on that one and it worked out beautifully. Just can't pass up a bargain like that!!!

Anne Ida

Hi, Nicole! An interesting question you post here, and I have enjoyed reading the other's comments - thought I'd put my two cents in too. For me the choice of backing really has to do with what the quilt is for. If it is to hang on a wall, I really don't care what the backing looks like, my only criteria is that it will quilt smoothly, e.i. not too thick or not too loosely woven. If it is a quilt to bring to picnics/use outdoors/on the ground, I tend to go for some heavy cottons, perhaps a pretty sheet or a duvet cover that will wash easily (check shrinkage, though). But if it is a bed quilt or a lap quilt where both front and back will show I want it to be good quality, pretty and match the top, and I might include some pieced bits and pieces just to add a bit of interest ;o)


I like my backings to look "happy" with the front. I do alot of scrappy quilts, so I've also pieced backs with two or three large pieces from my stash, but they still have to look like they belong to the front. I've also gotten out my tub of fat quarters, and sewn those together that look right, until I have a backing piece big enough for the quilt. Have fun with it all.

I love the big 108" wide backing fabrics - get 3 yards, and they fit any quilt I'd ever make, and - usually some yardage left over to go into my stash. Sometimes I've bought 3 yards of backing fabrics just because I like the look of them, and know they'll go with something at some point - have a nice stack of those waiting for the right quilt. I call it my "spec" fabric (like building "spec" houses).
I have a friend who deliberately uses funky, or mis-matched backing fabrics for her quilts, and it seems to work for her!

Nancy, Near Philadelphia

Sometimes I use good quality bleached or unbleached muslin for the backs. Sometimes I buy extra wide backing from Hancocks -- either extra wide that is part of the line I've used for the top or an extra wide that goes nicely with the top. I can't afford to buy full price yardage to match for the back. I wish I could. Sometimes I put left-over fabric or blocks from the top together and put that as part of the back. I like the back to look nice and to coordinate with the front if possible, but not to the extent of buying yardage.

Denise in PA

Yes, this hobby IS expensive - whew! Since I really do not like to piece backings and since it's a bit cheaper, I'll go for the 'widebacks' over matching fabrics for the back generally (as much as I really love a matching back, I think cheaper wins out most of the time o:) I usually do pretty well at finding a coordinating backing since I have a number of sources where I buy my backing fabric.


Back is just as important as the front. As a little girl I remember hiding under my grandma's old quilts and looking up at the backing. Heck half of the quilts ended up being called, by the kids who used them, something that reflected the backing. Those quilts are part of the reason I decided to start quilting.

kim naylor

i like mine to coordinate too. Be part of the collection or look like it is part of the collection. I HATE muslin backing.
but my favorite is homespun allover backing.
Joann from JAm likes to that.

kim from san diego


Love your quilts! I love to use wide quilt backs because I hate to wrestle piecing them. If I have something in stash that's big enough, I will piece one, but usually I don't. The quality on extra wide fabric has gone up greatly in the last few years. I find that most of the wear on my quilts happens to the binding. I'll use a coupon to get a cheaper, wide quilt back at JoAnn's, then use quilt shop quality for the binding. I also check carefully at the large quilt shows. There's almost always one booth that has pre-cut backs on sale.


Me? My quilt backs are just as important as the front ... most of my quilts are made to be used, and therefore the back is visible at at any point in time. In fact, I have started with the back fabric and designed a quilt to go with it! (I'm working on one right now where the back inspired the front).

Yes, I will pay full price for good quilting cotton fabrics for my backs ... no questions asked.

Hope Campbell

I normally try to have my backs "go" with the fronts. I have had two quilt tops just waiting for me to find the right back. That said, I finished one of my nephew's quilt with a fabric that had absolutely nothing to do with the front but every thing to do with him & his heritage.


Anymore I buy the backing fabric at the time I buy the rest of the fabric. I'm so slow in getting projects done and I want to be able to have the right stuff. The only exception may be Fig Tree 'cause all of her fabrics coordinate so beautifully. Also, if it is to be used as only a wall hanging I just use muslin. No sense in spending all that money to have it facing a wall. I like the idea of having the store cut your back to size.

I've purchased one piece of backing fabric (the 102") stuff. What is your opinion of those? Most of the time, for some reason, they seem to be of lesser quality than the restof the line. Even if it's by Moda.


I'm all about quality, and I want the back fabric quality to match the front. I didn't used to care if the back went with the quilt or not, but as I've gained experience, I want them to at least coordinate. Sometimes I piece the back with fun stuff, sometimes it's plain. It depends on the quilt.

BTW, Moda has some 108 inch fabric out there, and it feels great. I just got some for a back. And it's cheaper when you buy it that way also.


The quality of the backing fabric is definitely as important as the front to me. Matching fabric is not as important. Sometimes, I really like to stitch a variety of pieces together for my backs. There are times when I prefer a coordinating fabric. Since I use a lot of reproductions, I am happy when I can pick up one of the large repro backing fabrics at a sale price. I will say "ouch" at the total of your new backing fabrics, but you have to be happy with the final product so it is worth it. Thanks for the excellent suggestion about getting the quilt shop to do the cutting. I am sure my LQS will do likewise.


It totally depends on the quilt I'm making. You often use the same designer's line for your quilts and I agree in that case a fabric from the collection (or another collection by the same designer) is warranted and completely right! I make a lot of scrappy quilts so often use leftover blocks to add interest to the back, almost like a two-sided quilt. My budget will usually not allow the kind of costs associated with buying 5 1/2 yards of an expensive fabric, but if it could, I would!

Loris Mills

I also like to coordinate the back of the quilt with the front. For me, making quilts is sometimes (often) all about the fabric in the first place. I love showcasing larger prints that I don't really want to cut up. Or novelty prints that coordinate with the front.
I look for sales but will pay full price if needed. I have some flannel and homespun quilts in the plans and found some flannel yesterday at Walmart for $1.50! It actually looked like reasonable quality and I snatched up 8 yards for a quilt back...just in case it shrinks alot. We will just have to see how that goes :-)


I agree with all of you as well. I like to put some thought into my backs since they will be seen. On baby quilts I like to use flannel and other quilts something that coordinates with the front. The cutting tip is a good one. A lady in my group shared the tip of using your serger to piece your backs especially when you are doing large king size quilts. Talk about a time saver when dealing with those huge panels.


I definitely like to use a coordinating backing. I don't understand people using a lesser quality backing. It is going to fall apart long before the top and then the quilt is ruined. After all of the work that goes into quilting I want the quilt to last for years.


I'm with you, nice pretty coordinated backings for me!

Susan Bailey

My fabric shop has a wonderful sale room where you can find coordinating fabric for the back of the quilt. But often times, I don't find what I want and pay full price for the backing. I've never figured out why someone wants an unattractive back on their quilt, just to save a few dollars. With the cost of the front fabric, the quilting, I say make a realy nice back.

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