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Frugal Quilt Backing

fabric with a quilting design

The first thing you need to know as a frugal quilter is that backing does not have to be a solid piece of fabric. You can piece together your backing.  In fact, some people have always piece their backing.  They like to use up all the fabric from their project so they can start fresh with their next project.

Usually when backing is pieced, it is done with large squares and rectangles of fabric.  It is just a frugal way to quickly make a piece large enough for your project without having to buy new fabric. Sometimes it is done to use fabric that you do not like anymore, and do not want to use for the front of your project.

Most quilters like to use a fabric with a small print for the back of their quilt.  This is because a small print is good at disguising quilting mistakes, especially when you machine quilt.  If you should get a small pucker while you are quilting, it won't be as noticeable.

When you use your machine to quilt your piecework, you can either use a straight stitch, or you can do free motion quilting, or a combination of both.  One trick you can do is to pick a fabric for the back with a pattern on it.  Then you can quilt from the back side, using the print on the back as your pattern.

The fabric pictured above would make a great quilt backing.  Look at all the lines to choose to use as a guide for your quilting.  You could quilt the diagonal lines or the straight lines.

Some people like to tie their quilts from the back also.  Again, this fabric would be excellent for choosing where to place your ties.

Some quilters use sheets for the back of their quilts.  Other quilters use muslin or a favorite print.  I've heard some people say that if they are going to all the work of making a quilt, they want the back to be as pretty as the front. 

You can buy extra wide fabric for the back of your quilt, so that you do now have to piece it.  Most fabric if 44/45 inches wide.  Even a lap quilt is at least 52 inches wide.  (See the chart on the right).  This means you need two pieces of fabric the length of your quilt sewn together to get the desired width.

illustration of quilt backing seamsIt is best not to sew the seam down the middle of the fabric.  That can put too much pressure on one area of the quilt when it is folded.  It is best to run 2 seams down the backing of your quilt.  Just rip one length of fabric in half, and then attach a piece to each side of the other piece.

You will have a lot of leftover fabric, so keep this in mind when choosing your backing.  If you buy new fabric for the back of the quilt, think about what you might do with the remaining fabric. Again, this is why frugal quilters often piece the backing. 

If you are making a lap quilt for a child or an elderly person, you can use fleece or flannel for the back, making it even warmer and more snuggly.  Depending on the weight of the fleece, sometimes you can do without the batting.

You have lots of options for the back of your quilt.  If you want to be frugal, you can save money using some of the above ideas.

 
 
 
 

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