Buzzings from a quilter who bumbles her way through life!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Green Backs or "Expanding" Your Backing Fabric

No, I'm not referring to dollars, but to using the fabric left over from your quilt top as a backing for the quilt.
Not enough fabric to use as a backing?
Often, you will not have enough left to use  unless you have planned really well, but you can still use up what you do have to give interest to the backing. I do this regularly. Unfortunately, most of my quilts are in shops and I don't have them available for photographing these pieced backs. I will demonstrate one method of "expanding" your fabric to fit the size of your quilt by using scraps.

In the photo, imagine the yellow as the leftover fabric from the front of the quilt. The red is a piece I have leftover from a different project or a piece from my stash that is compatible, but too small.
Cut the main fabric at a point somewhere above or below the middle. (You don't want it perfectly centered as this is not good design.) Cut a strip of the leftover fabric to insert. This is a good place to use leftover strips.

Prepare to add to length
Piece with added length
Prepare to add width
Piece with added width

If this is not enough to give you the length you want, add another strip. Now make a lengthwise cut down the side of the backing and insert another strip to give the width you want.

You can add more than one accent color depending on how many scraps you have left and how much expanding you want to do.  You can add as many fabrics as you want to give interest to your backings.
If you hand quilt, this may make the backing too bulky for you, but if you machine quilt, these extra seams should not cause you any problems.

 So, have fun using up your leftovers on your backings. Now your quilts can be reversible!

Adding extra interest or width


  1. It looks great! Do you do it on a much larger scale or combine several smaller sections to make a quilt back?

  2. Great tutorial. I frequently make pieced backs (sometimes they are more like a top.) More people need to learn to do this to use up the leftovers. (now I am going to follow your blog, I found you thru Artfabrik - I came looking due to your "iron set to scorch" comment.)

  3. Thank you for the idea! Just struggling with a quilt for my parents of 2,5 x 2,5 mtrs. Hard to find a backing, but with your help I think I will succeed!
    I'll post a foto when finished! Love, Trudy

  4. yes why not? two quilts in one I did it with my left overs and very thin fabrics which can't use it for tops


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