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.


Paper Pieced Inspiration and Schedule Update

I am constantly amazed with the creativity that is being shown during my paper pieced quilt along. I knew this design had potential, but it’s quite inspiring to see all the different variations that are being shared in my facebook group! For those who aren’t on facebook, here’s a small sample of the fabulous blocks, color combinations, and layouts that are being shared:

layoutsFrom left to right: Michele H., Chelsea M,. Julie G., and Lorraine A.

Many of you are worried that you won’t be able to keep up or catch up during this quilt along, and several of you have mentioned that you haven’t even started. Do not fret – this quilt along is free, the tutorials will stay up indefinitely, and you can work at your own pace!

In fact, I’m even including a longer delay myself than I had originally planned. I got an exciting opportunity to work on a big project right before the quilt along launched. At the time I thought I would be able work on both at the same time, but it turns out that was a little ambitious. Although my top is done, the quilting will need to wait until August for me to finish it.

I’ll throw in an extra tutorial for piecing the backing in July, and will include one for basting the following week. Then we’ll have a nice little summer break and I will begin the machine quilting at the end of August.

How does that sound?

Paper Pieced Quilt Along #6 – Sewing the Top

I have a simple method I employ when sewing nearly all of my quilt tops. I lay out my blocks on a design wall, join them into rows, and sew the rows together to complete the top. For this lesson, I’ll share a few tips on how I make that go more smoothly. (Visit my Paper Pieced QAL page for links to all previous tutorials.)

finished_blocks I chose to leave this picture uncropped so that you can see I usually have several things happening on my design wall at the same time.

Step 1

First I throw up the blocks on my design wall. Although I will place the blocks into position, I don’t care too much about the color balance yet. I constantly refer to a picture or printout of my design so I can lay the blocks out in the correct position.

Step 2 (not shown)

After I have laid out all the blocks and background squares, I will play around with the arrangement until it feels right. For this quilt, I had just a few pops of light green and a couple of darker colors purposely out of order to give a little interest. I made sure to balance those out a little when I chose my final layout.

Step 3

sewthexHere’s another thrifty hint: I tend to use up leftover colored cotton bobbins in my piecing.

I take a picture with my camera phone and then begin sewing individual rows, two blocks at a time. As I joined the blocks, I pressed all of the joining seams open. I also pressed each row of blocks open to reduce the bulk.

Tip: use the seam line intersections as a guideline when matching points. For the sides of the block, I sewed just a few thread widths narrow of the intersection between the two seams shown above. When matching up blocks point to point, I pinned generously and sewed through the “x’s” that were formed by intersecting seams.

Step 4

I sewed all of the block rows individually, pressed each open, and put it back into position on the design wall. Then I sewed together two rows, pressed them and put them back on the wall.

block_rowsI made 5 sets of 2 row pairs, then joined those into 2 sections of 4 rows and 6 rows. Finally I joined the rows together to complete the quilt top.

Step 5 – The “Victory Lap”

Once the top is complete, I will secure the perimeter edges by sewing 1/8″ in from the edge of the quilt top, around all 4 sides. Someone jokingly referred to this as the “victory lap” on instagram and I got a kick out of that!

edge_stitchingStay-stitch around the perimeter to secure the edges for basting and quilting.

Now, we are ready to baste! Remember to share your work-in-progress on my Facebook group: Quilt With Christa, or on Instagram #paperpiecedqal.

Copyright and Permission Granted

I am very happy to share my knowledge with you free of charge during this quilt along. However, this information is for your personal use as a loyal reader of my blog. Please do not make copies of any part of this quilt along to distribute it to your friends. If you’d like to tell them about it, simply share my QAL site link with them and encourage them to come on over and join us:

If you’d like to share links to my site on Facebook or on your own blog, that is great, too!

At the conclusion of the quilt along, I will be happy to edit down all of the content and turn it into a pattern for sale, so that others can use my pattern as a teaching aid in the future. 🙂

Hugs ‘n Kisses Quilt Along (Reprise)

Are you in the mood to create a sweet quilt for that special someone in time for Valentine’s Day? Then how about making my Hugs ‘N Kisses quilt? Just pick up a Jelly Roll of your favorite fabric line and some background fabric and you are good to go!

Since I don’t have any new quilt alongs scheduled for the next few months, I thought I would share this one with you. I’ve had so many new followers join my blog since last year (lots of hugs and thanks to you all!), that many are seeing this quilt for the first time.

Hugs 'N Kisses

Hugs ‘n Kisses Quilt Along by Christa Watson

Hugs and Kisses is an updated version of a previous quilt from 12+ years ago. I made the original quilt in spicy reds, oranges and yellows for my husband who is hot stuff! The newer version in soft pretty pinks (with all x blocks) was made for my sweet daughter.

Hugs 'n Kisses

Hugs ‘n Kisses by Christa Watson

Hugs ‘N Kisses Stats:

  • Finished Size: 48″ x 64″
  • Completed: April 2013
  • Pieced and Quilted: on my Bernina 1630
  • Fabrics: BasicGrey Kissing Booth and Kona Snow Jelly Rolls (plus scraps)
  • Piecing Thread: Superior Masterpiece, 50wt Cotton
  • Quilting Thread: Glide High Sheen Polyester, Cream
  • Batting: Legacy 100% Wool
  • Quilting Design: FMQ Flowers in the O’s with Serpentine Lines Quilted Across the X’s with a Walking Foot
  • Binding: By Hand
  • Total Sewing Time: 47 Hours

Quilt Along Tutorials – Click the Links Below for Each Step:


FMQ Flowers

EQClick here for an EQ7 download of this pattern.

Copyright © 2013 ChristaQuilts Inc., for personal use only.