How to Prepare a Pieced Quilt Backing

I’m working on a baby quilt for my sister in law. I started the top last summer while on vacation, using fabric from Lily Ashbury’s Summer House. It’s going to finish around 40 inches square and can be made from 2 Charm Packs, 1 Jelly Roll, or about 21 strips of fabric. I made a total of 81 blocks, measuring 4 1/2 each, set 9 across by 9 down. You can read my earlier post about starting the quilt top here.

I’m ready to finish the quilt, but first I have to piece the backing and then baste it before I get to the fun part – the quilting! Here are some step by step procedures to prepare the backing. This method will work with any size quilt.

Backing Choice 1First, I go through my stash to find something with the same colors so that I can use the same thread in both the needle and the bobbin. I really like the flower print above, but it’s not quite the same style and it has too much purple and orange.

Backing Choice 2I like the pink and green fabrics much better. However, there’s not enough of either one, so the next step will be to sew the pieces together to make a large enough backing.

Backing Too SmallNext, I lay the backing piece over the quilt top so I can see how much more fabric I need to add to make the backing big enough. I usually don’t use precise measurements – a visual is all I need. I will add on additional pieces to make the backing a couple of inches wider on all sides; then I’ll trim it down later.

I could simply sew the pink and green fabrics together side by side, but I don’t think that looks very balanced. I’d rather split the backing into three pieces, with green in the middle and pink on both sides.

Pink FabricGreen Fabric

With scissors, I snipped in the middle of the pink fabric, then ripped it into two roughly equal sized pieces. On the green fabric, I squared up the piece by ripping off a small amount on both sides to straighten the grain for sewing.

Larger Seam AllowanceI don’t mind ripping the backing pieces because it’s easier than rotary cutting, especially for long pieces of fabric.

I sew them together using a wide half-inch seam allowance and press the seams open.

This quilt back will have two seams just like the picture shown at left.

Now the backing is large enough and I will use the excess pink fabric for the binding.

Prepared BackingReady to Baste

The top is laid out on top of the backing to get an idea of how much extra there will be.

My next blog entry will be about basting this quilt using my new favorite tool: Pinmoors!

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