Friday, June 7, 2019

I Heart Pieced Backs / Beauties Pageant 35

Quilters tend to fall into one of two camps: those who piece their quilt backs and those who don’t. I am a member of the former group. I almost always piece my backs. To me, piecing a back doesn’t mean joining two widths of identical fabric, though. (I despise matching repeats and avoid that approach whenever I can!)

I have a particular approach that involves stashing 2-yard cuts of fabric, cutting them lengthwise, and then filling in the middle with fabric I want out of my stash or scrap bin and into a quilt. (For details on this technique, click here.)

What results is often a chunky design that coordinates with the quilt top without competing with it. Check out some of my favorites from finishes past and the rationale behind each one ...

Piecing to Use a Precious Fabric

I was lucky enough to have yardage of a focal fabric from Basic Grey’s PB&J years after the collection went out of production, and I used it in the back below. I made this quilt for me, so now I get to enjoy that beloved print every day. (See the full project here.)

Piecing to Avoid Accumulating Scraps

I made my mother-in-law a quilt to coordinate with her family room. There were a lot of cool colors in the quilt, which are far from my preferred palette, so instead of filing the leftovers from the quilt top in my scrap storage, where they would likely linger for years, I incorporated them in the back. (See the full project here.)

Piecing to Feature a Large-Scale Print

I loved the Joel Dewberry print below and knew it deserved to exist uncut in a project, so onto a back it went! (See the full project here.)

Piecing to Highlight an Inspiration Fabric

The floral print below from Rifle Paper Co. set the palette for a quilt top. Of course I had to include a swath of it on the back. (See the full project here.)

Piecing to Do Something a Little Different

The front of this quilt included the tiniest bit of teal. I couldn’t successfully incorporate teal in the top, though, so I gave it its day in the sun on the back. (See the full project here.)

How do you decide what to do on the back of a quilt? Share with the rest of us in the comments!

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  1. My quilt backings are always dependent on what I have on hand and what I can afford. If I *have* to buy something, I typically buy something on clearance at my LQS. I do like to do a pieced backing on occasion. I think my best/most recent pieced backing is for my 30 Pearls wall hanging, where I sliced-and-inserted 5" strips into a ~1.25 yard cut to expand it out to approximately 50 inches square before I started the quilting.

  2. Michelle, those are all such fun quilt backs! It takes patience to piece a quilt back. I tend to want to just get on with the quilting. But in an effort to use up what I have, I am piecing more quilt backs recently.

  3. Thanks for the post. I love pieced backings so this gave me some ideas for the future. I usually do piece my backs; however, sometimes it is difficult to get them as straight as I would like to have them.

    1. Ugh, yes! I tend to get the piecing straight, but after basting and quilting, things tend to be a little wonky. They're not off by an order of magnitude, just enough to bug me.

  4. I love your pieced quilt backs and my one day check out your technique....I am at the moment too lazy to piece backs and usually I just sew a seam down the middle and not matchy matchy at all. Occasionally I widen a toddler quilt with what I call a road down the length of the quilt back always off centre of course.

  5. I like using wideback so I don't have to take the time to piece a back. LOL But I do enjoy a pieced back as it does use up fabric. It depends on my mood and what I have in my stash.

  6. I love your approach to piece your backs. It is relatively simple, yet interesting. I love pieced backs but never do them. You have inspired me to go for it! And thanks for the yardage you start with.

    1. I almost always make lap-size quilts, so the 2-yard cuts work for me. And if I need something longer, I just add a strip horizontally before I cut the back vertically. : )

  7. I love the look of pieced quilts but admit that I usually just do a single fabric (wide width preferably so I don't have to piece it).

  8. I always piece the backs. My go-to for a baby quilt is to divide the backing into horizontal thirds and add a pieced block (often left over from the front) in the middle third. Your MIL quilt back is great, what a smart use of leftovers. I'll definitely try that.

    1. Sounds like your approach is a lot like me ... I cut my yardage vertically, and you cut yours horizontally. The back for my MIL is fussier than most of my backs, but I don't work with those pale purple-y blues usually and needed to use them up while I had the chance!

  9. Love your pieced backs! I tend to do whatever is easiest. If I have blocks or big scraps left over, I will add it to the backing, but if I have backing fabric that is big enough I will use that. Depends on how quickly I want to get the quilt finished.

  10. I remember making a pieced back... once! Next time I will do a big F on the back for my last name...! Not that I failed at making the quilt!

  11. Mhhh, I am in both camps... I sometimes use widebacks or a one fabric pieced plain one but I have also pieced the backing intricately on occasion. I guess it depends on whether I have set my eye on a specific wideback, the size would benefit from it or if I want to use stash (to stay away from buying) or even scraps/ leftovers from the front... there are so many options... I am definitely keeping my feet on both camp sides :)


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