How to Back a Quilt. It is not difficult to back a quilt if the project width is less than 45 inches. If this is the case, purchase enough fabric to match the length of your project. The width of most cotton fabrics is 45 inches, although occasionally you can find suitable fabric with a 60-inch width. Measure your quilt back to be 3 inches larger,...
It is not difficult to back a quilt if the project width is less than 45 inches. If this is the case, purchase enough fabric to match the length of your project. The width of most cotton fabrics is 45 inches, although occasionally you can find suitable fabric with a 60-inch width. Measure your quilt back to be 3 inches larger, all the way around, than the quilt top. This allows for movement during the quilting process. If you have a larger quilt to back, there are rules to follow that will ensure the back of your quilt is neat and even.
Things You'll Need
Preshrink your quilt-back fabric. Ideally, you would wash and dry all of your quilt fabrics together before any cutting. However, if you have purchased your quilt's backing fabric after you finished your quilt top, simply preshrink it in the same manner as you did the other fabrics. Use warm water and a normal drying temperature as you would when washing the completed quilt.
Piece your quilt back horizontally. This can be done in half or in thirds. For a single seam in the center of the quilt, divide the length of your quilt-back measurement by 2. Add 1/2 inch to allow for a 1/4-inch seam. For two even horizontal seams in the quilt back, divide the measurement by 3 and then add 1 inch for two seam allowances. Cut your backing fabric according to the measurements. Sew the 1/4-inch seams.
Piece your quilt back vertically. Again, you may have one seam down the center of the fabric or two even seams. You might choose to make your seams horizontally or vertically, depending on the flow of the fabric pattern. If you have an allover pattern or solid color fabric, the choice is yours. Use the same directions for measuring as in Step 1, but measure and sew vertically instead of horizontally.
Sandwich (layer) your quilt pieces. Using your work area or the floor, lay the quilt back out flat, wrong side up. Lay down the batting on top of it. Last, place the quilt top, right side up, over the batting. Use large safety pins, starting at the center and working out, to attach all three layers. Quilt your project in whatever fashion you desire.
Tips & Warnings
After sewing the 1/4-inch seams for your quilt back, iron them down.This gives your backing fabric more strength than if you open the seam and press, as with garment sewing.
An alternate method of sandwiching the quilt is to baste (large running stitches) the three layers together.
If you don't preshrink your backing fabric before constructing the quilt back, you may find it shrinking more than other fabrics in the quilt when you wash the soiled quilt.
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