Choosing Backing Fabric

The choice of quilt backing fabric is important

If you provide your own backing fabric please remember the following points:

1. Backing fabrics should be of 100% cotton fabric of a similar weight & feel to the fabrics used in the quilt top.

2. The use of “sheeting” as a backing fabric is not recommended as the weave may be too dense to allow even needle penetration.

3. For best results choose a backing that is a similar depth of colour to the quilt top, as the thread colour will be matched to the quilt top. The same colour thread (or at least the same depth of colour) will be used in the bobbin to prevent “freckles” of highly contrasting bobbin thread showing on the quilt top.

4. Patterned fabrics make more interesting backings than plain homespun and help disguise a contrasting coloured bobbin thread.

5. The backing should be cut a minimum of 15cm longer & 15cm wider than the quilt top (eg: Length + 15cm ….. Width + 15cm)

6. “Square” up the backing so that all edges are straight and the corners form at right angles.

7. If it is necessary to join fabric to make the correct size backing, remember to cut off the selvedges before stitching pieces together.

8. If you like to “piece” the backings for your quilts, be careful about the seam placement. You will find it very difficult to attach a binding if the seams on the backing line up with the edge of the quilt after quilting.

What should you do if you have already made your backing
but now find that it is not big enough? 

DO NOT simply add a different piece of fabric to one edge.

Doing this could result in the backing seam corresponding with the edge of the top. see No8 above

As all battings use up backing fabric at a different rate, a small strip of the “other” fabric could be included on the edge of the back when the quilt is finished, resulting in a look that may not please the eye.

A better way to extend a completed backing piece is to cut it approximately in the centre and insert the extra strip of fabric in a more central position. This is a little more work, as it requires two seams rather than one, but it gives a more pleasing result that looks planned. I call this an “Art” backing.

Read more about making an Art Backing

Read about a simple method for Making Quilt Backings.

Read more hints on How to Achieve Best Results when using a machine quilting service.

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