Tag Archives: quilt backs

3 Ideas for Pieced Quilt Backs

Is there something in the air? Is it spring madness? Lately, we’ve seen some tiny quilt backs.  I’m talking about quilt backs a mere 2″ bigger than the front. That’s tight! Ideally, your quilt back should be 6″ – 10″ longer and wider than your top. There may be a pieced quilt back in your future!

You can read our tips on how to piece a quilt back and the 9 steps to matching prints on a quilt back, but how about a few ideas to fuel your creative piecing of that nice, big quilt back?

3 Approaches to a Pieced Quilt Back

  1. Add a contrasting fabric down the middle of your quilt back. Linda rented one of the hand guided machines this week and was gracious enough to let us photograph her backs. In the first quilt back, she’s added a coordinating print to two strips of solid.
    Quilt backs from Laurena's Longarm Quilting Boston
    In her second quilt back, she stitched strips of black on black prints and bordered them in red. What a great way to use up the leftovers!
    ideas to piece quilt backs
  2.  Apply the Rule of Thirds to your quilt back. The Rule of Thirds is used by artists and cinematographers to create a pleasing composition. The camera on your phone may have the horizontal and vertical grid which divides your frame into a “nine patch” or “tic tack tow.” Creating movement around the center quadrant is pleasing to your eye. How do you do this yourself? Take the dimensions of your quilt back and divide them by 3. Add a strip of fabric a third of the way across your back or create your own nine patch of made from stash fabric.
  3. Improvise your quilt back with leftover blocks

    Pieced quilt back from Modern Quilt Relish
    The improv quilt back from Modern Quilt Relish

There’s a lovely tutorial on how they approach piecing a quilt back on Modern Quilt Relish.  It makes a very interesting back, albeit more time consuming. A design wall helps to lay out options. Need a big design wall? Come to Sew Social, on first and third Thursdays. We’ve got loads of room to spread out and a wall covered in batting, ready for your quilt back improvisation.

As we head into summer, the spring madness of small quilt backs will probably calm down. However, what goes around, comes around! Be sure to keep in mind that a quilt back should be at least 6″ – 10″ longer and wider than your quilt top.

5 Tips for Using Minkee on Quilt Backs

Laurena sees more and more quilters arrive with Minkee quilt backs. This plush microfiber fabric feels scrumptious, making it totally irresistible for cozy baby or lap quilts. Before working on the first customer’s quilt with a Minkee back, Laurena checked out as many online sources to make sure it would be a success. Here’s 5 tips to using Minkee fabric on your quilt.

  1. These plush fabrics are very stable along the warp, but stretchy on the weft.  Keep the selvedges on your fabric and do not cut them off.
  2. Pin your zippers opposite the grain of the fabric (i.e. perpendicular to the selvedge edges). This will control the wiggly aspect of the fabric. It may mean more rolling, but the results are definitely worth it.
  3. Minkee is 60″ wide. Joann Fabrics sells a similar product called “Soft and Comfy” that is 58″ wide. Measure your backing to ensure that your fabric is  4″ – 8″ wider and longer than your quilt top. If you need to enlarge the back, add that extra panel in the middle of your back. This makes the back interesting and keeps it stable.
  4. Think about your batting choice.  Quilter’s Dream Cotton Select gives the quilt a fantastic drape. (Yesterday, motivated marathon quilter Susan finished 4 baby and lap quilts using Select and they looked fabulous!) Higher loft battings plus the plush backing will give your quilt a different dimensionality.
  5. Quilting stitches tend to disappear in the plush fabric. If you’re hoping to make a colorful quilted statement on the back, you may want to consider a heavy flannel instead of plush microfiber.

The folks at Fabric.com created one of the best videos on how to use Minkee, so I thought I’d share it with you.