Bar Graphs Pieced Backing Tutorial

Bar Graphs is the name I gave to the design of the pieced back I made for Colorful Chevrons. I like my backs to be just as fun and colorful as the original quilt, and many times they end up being even more modern than the fronts!

Bar Graphs

Strips of Color Backing by Christa Watson

I really like the chunky “bars and graphs” look to this design, so I thought I would share a tutorial with you on how I pieced this backing. After all, it could stand on it’s own as an independent quilt design.

Strips of Color

Bar Graphs 72″ x 88″

I started off with some basic measurements. Since my finished quilt size is approximately 64″ x 80″, I needed my backing to measure at least 4 inches larger on each side so that there would be “wiggle room” around the entire perimeter.

I also wanted to make sure that whatever design I chose would look okay once the top, bottom and sides were trimmed up. I designed the backing to be 72″ x 88″ with plenty of blank space on the top and bottom strips for trimming.

I started by sketching long colorful strips in a stair step design, filling in with dark blue solid for the negative space.

I used leftover Michael Miller Cotton Couture solids from the front of the quilt along with more of the dark navy.

The backing is basically a horizontal strippy quilt sewn together in rows. A list of yardage requirement and cutting dimensions are shown below:

Cutting StripsDark Blue Fabric – Approximately 4.5 yards. Cut (18) 8.5″ x 42″ strips. Piece them together to create the lengths shown in the above diagram

Colored Scraps – Approximately 1/4 yard of 9 different fabrics. Trim each piece to the lengths shown above. In some cases you can use a fat quarter where the pieces measure less than 22″ in length.

Colored Strips

Bar Graphs Pieced Together – Ready to Baste!

Join together the rectangles with 1/4″ seams to create each strip. Then join the strips to create the backing (or new quilt top). I prefer to press my seams open and I starch the whole piece when sewn together. This is especially helpful if you are making a pieced backing. It will help the quilt glide more smoothly under the machine.

When I basted my quilt, I was careful to line up the strips as straight as I could. I knew that a lot of the blue would be trimmed up from the top and bottom strips and I’m pleased with how it turned out. I used the same dark navy for the binding as well.

Here are pictures of the finished quilt, both front and back:

Colorful ChevronsBar Graphs

Click here for detailed shots of the quilting and more about the front.

Whether you use it for the back or front of your quilt, please share pictures of your progress on my flickr group: Christa’s Quilt Along. Remember, you can make it yourself and make it your own. 🙂

EQI hope you enjoy making Bar Graphs. Click here for the EQ7 download and play around with different colorings, layouts and sizes.

19 thoughts on “Bar Graphs Pieced Backing Tutorial

  1. Stewart says:

    Does anyone know what colors are used from the Michael Miller Line? I got the quilt kit from Quilty, but it doesn’t say which colors are used and I’d like to make the quilt back that Christa.

  2. Jeri Niksich says:

    I haven’t made your Chevron quilt yet but it is on mu bucket list it is Beautiful! front or back, I WILL do it someday what I am more experienced than I am now.

  3. Liz Fane says:

    How many tables are you using for your basting space, 5 or 6? I think I need to invest in or find a few to have on hand for basting larger quilts. I have the Quilty issue with your chevron quilt on the cover and love seeing what you did with the back.

    • Christa says:

      I have two large banquet tables that I use. They are about 30″ wide by 8 feet long each. Gives me lots of room for basting 🙂 I got them at an office supply store many years ago.

  4. farmquilter says:

    Love the quilt, the back and the quilting!!! All so fabulous! I adore pieced backs that make a quilt reversible and I’ll be giving this one a go on the next quilt!!!!! Thank you for the perfect tutorial 🙂

  5. Margaret A says:

    This is a great (and very helpful!) post! As always, your instruction and photos make following along/understanding the process a breeze, Thank you for sharing!

  6. Adele says:

    Thanks Christa for the tutorial! A big pat on the back for the details (the colored chart with measurements) about this backing. Your machine quilting is stellar, love the texture! I always look forward to your posts.

  7. Donna R. says:

    This quilt is absolutely beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that I’m going to go out today and see if I can find a copy of Quilty so I can make ony myself!

  8. Pat Sell says:

    I totally agree with you – the back should be as fun as the front. I always use leftover peices from the front to decorate the back of the quilt or, like you, make a totally new back. Thay way you get to make two quilts instead of one! Thanx for the ideas! 🙂

  9. dezertsuz says:

    Thanks for sharing this. It’s really nice of you to be so generous. I have to tell you that I think it’s your quilting that makes it really beautiful, and that I can’t duplicate yet. =)

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