Paper Pieced Quilt Along #7 – Pieced Backing

I love a good pieced backing! There’s something about creating a secondary composition on the back that makes me giddy. Of course, you don’t have to make a pieced backing, but what follows are brief instructions for how I made my backing for the Paper Pieced Quilt Along:

backingdiagramThe backing design is interesting to stand on it’s own as a quilt top, too!

This backing finishes at 68″ x 84″ which is exactly 4″ bigger all around than my quilt top. That’s cutting it close, so if you’d like a bigger backing, just add more rectangles or make them slightly bigger.

Yardage needed – 18 assorted fat quarters (18″ x 22″ each). Note: solids tend to be a slightly wider useable width so they are closer to a true 18″ x 22″. Print fat quarters may result in less useable yardage. To use up scraps, feel free to piece sections together to get the desired rectangle sizes.

Trim 14 of the fat quarters to 17 1/2″ x 21 1/2″. Trim the remaining 4 fat quarters to 17 1/2″ x 11″


Lay out the rectangles on a design wall or other large surface, into a pleasing color arrangement.

Sew 4 rectangles together on their short ends to make the first and third pieced columns. Sew 3 rectangles and two half-rectangles on either end to make the second and fourth pieced columns. To reduce bulk, press all seams open.

Join the columns to create the pieced backing. Once the quilt is basted, trim off some of the excess fabric and batting around the quilt top.

backingpiecedPieced backing after it has been spray basted and trimmed.

It’s ok if the sides don’t look even at this point. Once the quilt has been quilted, it will be squared up.

Once your backing is finished, you are ready to baste your quilt in preparation for machine quilting. Have fun creating your own unique backing!

Click here for all of the Paper Pieced Quilt Along tutorials.


Tips for Getting Started with Modern Quilt Design

My latest blog post for Craftsy has been published, and I’m rather pleased with the subject matter. It’s called 7 Tips for Getting Started with Modern Quilt Design and I really enjoyed writing it.

20140221_chevrons_backThe back of Colorful Chevrons – I think it’s more modern than the front. Tutorial here.

Suffice it to say, I had fun gathering pictures and examples of modern quilting, and emailing their makers to obtain permission to share. It was really just a great excuse to get to know more amazing designers, and this is just the tip of the iceberg! I could have included dozens more if I had the time and space to write about them.

Another “modern” backing I designed. One day I’ll make something like this for the front!

So don’t be surprised if modern quilts are all I can think about for awhile. I have to make up for lost time!

Christa’s Quilt Along 5.6 – Hugs ‘n Kisses Pieced Backing

I just love creative quilt backs, don’t you? For today’s Quilt Along lesson, I will show how I made my pieced scrappy backing for Hugs ‘n Kisses using fabric from my stash. It took me 4 hours to complete my pieced backing.

Backing FabricStep 1 – Choose Your Backing Fabric (30 Minutes)

To get started, comb through your stash for any fabrics you want to use up that “go” with your Hugs ‘n Kisses quilt top.  Don’t worry about pulling too many or too few, you can finalize it a bit later.

I wanted to use up a few pinks and greens and I tried to pull fabrics that were light (or the backside was very light) so that they would not shadow (show through) the quilt top.

Step 2 – Estimate the Yardage (30 Minutes)

Next, lay out your quilt top so you can see how much area you need to cover. I laid mine out wrong side up so I could see where the darker and lighter blocks were. I wanted to mimic a little bit of the light and dark areas on the back of the quilt.

Hugs 'n Kisses TopCovering the Back

Now start covering up the quilt! It’s kind of like a puzzle. I played around with several different arrangements until the top was covered and I liked the way it looked. Don’t forget to stack your pieces so that there are a few extra inches of fabric hanging off all four sides.

Fill in the puzzle.Completely Covered

Step 3 – Figuring Out Exact Measurements (1 Hour)

I drew a sketch of my layout in EQ7 so I could figure out the measurements. You can also do this on graph paper. Start with the finished size of your quilt top which should be around 48″ x 64″. Then add 6 inches to both directions to figure out how large your backing needs to be. This brings me to a total backing size of 54″ x 70″.

Backing PIeces

I drew rectangles of each fabric piece in place on my diagram based on the finished size.  When I cut the pieces I will include 1/2″ for seam allowances. If you would like to skip figuring it out for yourself, you can use my exact cutting measurements below.

Step 4 – Cutting the Backing Pieces (1 Hour)

I recommend pre-washing and starching your backing fabrics. I have listed two charts below. The first one is how much fabric you would need as yardage (with some leftover). The second chart is how big to cut each piece, including seam allowances.

4.5 Yards Total ScrapsQuilt Back Diagram

  1. 5/8 Yard
  2. 1/2 Yard
  3. 1/3 Yard
  4. 1/3 Yard
  5. Fat Quarter
  6. 1/3 Yard
  7. 1/4 Yard
  8. 1 Yard
  9. 5/8 Yard
  10. Fat Quarter

Cutting Measurements

  1. 20.5″ x 20.5″
  2. 34.5″ x 12.5″
  3. 34.5″ x 8.5″
  4. 40.5″ x 8.5″
  5. 14.5″ x 8.5″
  6. 30.5″ x 8.5″
  7. 6.5″ x 42.5″
  8. 30.5″ x 34.5″
  9. 18.5″ x 30.5″
  10. 18.5″ x 12.5″

You may need use a bigger backing if you are sending it out to be quilted, but no one here is going to do that, right?? We are all going to quilt our own quilts and have fun doing it!

Step 5 – Piecing the Backing (1 Hour)

Use 1/4″ seam allowances and press all seams open. Follow the diagram above:

  • Sew piece 2 and 3 together; add to piece 1.
  • Join pieces 4 and 5.
  • Add 6 to the top of piece 8; then add piece 7 to the side.
  • Join pieces 9 and 10
  • Add unit 1-2-3 to unit 4-5
  • Add unit 6-7-8 to unit 9-10
  • So both larger units together to complete the backing and give it a final pressing.

Pieced Backing

Optional Non-Scrappy Backing

Plain BackingIf you would like to sew your backing using all one fabric, you will need a total of 3 yards.

Cut it into 2 equal pieces and trim off the selvedges. Then join the pieces together parallel to the selvedge.

You will have now a large piece measuring approximately 54″ x 80″.

Cut off about 10″ of excess length so that you have a piece measuring approximately 54″ x 70″.

Hugs ‘n Kisses Quilt Kits are available for purchase while supplies last. If you have any questions about this week’s homework, please be sure to join my flickr discussion, leave a comment, or email me directly at

Quilt Along Schedule – Links will go to each active post when published.

Hugs 'N Kisses

Hugs ‘N Kisses 48″ x 64″