Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How to Make a Backing for a Quilt

Hi Everyone,

I've been working and sewing up the backing for my quilt. See the finished quilt top.. Thank you for all of your ideas and tips on how to create it, (thank you very much) I came to a decision  and this is how it looks:

how to make a quilt backing
Quilt back

1. With the finished top all pressed and pretty, I lay it out on a bed to measure what size it is. Mine measured 75" x 88"

2. Then I fold it in half, lengthwise, to make it easier to figure out the "design" and where I'll put the prints I've chosen.

3. I decided to create a "pieced" back and add some left over blocks. I decided to feature them in the middle of the back of the quilt. I sewed a 3" border around all of the blocks.

I laid the "block" strip down first. I thought I would position it in the middle, but when I looked at it again, I decided to put it higher on the backing. So, I decided to move the strip up a little so that I  use only half of the one print, and then open up the second print for the full width of the fabric. I figure it will be easier and save fabric, which I'm all about!

4. I placed a pin at the marking for the width. I then doubled that, since I had the top folded. I added 3" to that width, to make sure I had enough. I use a 1/4" But, some use a 1/2" seam. You can either press the seam open or press both edges to the side. I pressed to the side.

5. I sewed all the pieces together. Pressed it. Now, I will lay the backing, face down, on the floor and tape the edges down, to hold it tight for the batting and top. I also tape the top layer to the floor. I then pin with bent safety pins to secure the three layers together. But, I also thought of doing this:

I found these images on needles & knowledge website. I thought I might pin the quilt to my frames and then stand them on the "stands" for pinning the layers together. 
Pin the backing on first, face down. I have a tool to press the thumbtacks into the board,
different than what is shown.
Then, lay out the batting, then position the quilt top onto the batting and pin it together. Then using the bent safety pins, pin all over the quilt top. You'll probably have to roll the ends in to reach the middle, just as you would if you were hand quilting or "tying" the quilt.

6. After I have the three layers all pinned and secure. I remove the tape and quilt it on my APQS George quilting machine. (A sit down quilting machine)

I will probably use a variegated thread on top and a cream color on the bottom. Not sure of the design yet, but, it will probably have swirls and double layers of stitching. It will probably look like this:

I'm calling this a double swirl loop design. I found this and many other great designs on Pinterest.
Do you have any ideas on a quilt design? 
What do you like to do on your quilts?



  1. Denise, what do you use to mark the design on your quilt top?

    1. When I need to mark a quilt I use a chalk pencil or a chalk roller. I've tried the disappearing pen, but, you have to be careful not to get heat near it or it will be permanent. There is a product called "chalk pounce" it is a chalk filled cloth that when "pounced" over machine quilting stencils leaves a pattern. I want to get one of these one day.

  2. Replies
    1. I'm going to have my daughter help me set it up on my quilting frames, to pin together. Instead of kneeling on the floor...this body doesn't like to do that anymore.

  3. Thank you for the great ideas. This is most timely since I am piecing a back for a customer's quilt and I needed some confirmation to my inspiration!! You know, those voices in your head!

    1. I'm glad I could help you Marilyn. I would love to see the way yours turned out!

  4. Michelle Lewis

    I love pieced backs. I think they add interest to the quilt.

  5. Jacqueline O'Halloran
    Director at Quilting Matters (Isle of Man) Ltd

    The best gift my first quilting teacher gave me was telling me to put tops away if I wasn't sure how to finish them and then wait until they talked to me! It works...I think we get too close to the work in progress and need some advice from our peers and to give the top a rest. I always seem to know the answer when I bring the top out again before quilting it. I also agree that some quilts pieced backing and others not. Same thing applies when it comes to deciding whether to use variegated thread or plain. I always do a test down the side of the quilt once I have loaded it on my Gammill.

    1. wow, that is awesome information, Jacqueline! I have a lot of tops that are "put away," not to think on them, just because I haven't finished them! I'm getting them out one at a time to finish them, now that I have my 'George." I'm starting with my last quilt and then will move backwards.

  6. I like making pieced backs. They add a certain "Je ne sais quoi".
    By Rose-Marie Christie


Thank you for your comments! I really enjoy what you have to say!