Saturday, January 11, 2014

Scrap Back for a Quilt

Every quilt needs a back which takes lots of fabric and gets expensive. Using tiny scraps is more frugal but can add so many seams that quilting becomes difficult. I usually pull some older fabrics from my stash. I prefer to incorporate some extra pieces from the top or from previous quilts. I've always made backs this way, even when everyone else put muslin on the back. I think of it as "creating jobs for future quilt historians." They'll have twice the fabric to document and date. ;-)

The back of this quilt includes extra diamonds and strips from the front. The pieces are small but in a limited area. The back of Road to My Sister's House is an enlarged block from the front. None of the green fabrics was large enough and this solution let me use them all. The size of the green squares maximized the scraps remaining. Then the sashing width was calculated to fit the back properly. (It was easier because the quilt is square.)

Occasionally I have long, skinny pieces trimmed from the sides of another quilt back than can be seamed into a strippy back. (I'll look for a photo.)

This time I pulled fabrics that have been languishing for quite a while. The front has lots of reds, whites and beiges so I first chose soft pinks and beiges for the back. Most are half or quarter yard width-of-fabric (WOF) cuts. These are laid on the quilt top to ensure there's enough fabric to cover it. But the darkest beige in the first set of fabrics is about five inches too narrow.
Quilt back layout #1
I found a quarter yard of pink floral to replace it.
Quilt back layout #2 - with pink floral
There was also a pink plaid in the stash.
Quilt layout #3 - pink plaid
Then I remembered a tiny bit of cowboy faces on red. How would that look? I had to piece the fabric with some red strips to make enough for this section.
Quilt back layout #4 - cowboy fabric
Now the left side of the back is too quiet. I pulled the remaining face fabric - cowgirls this time.
Quilt back layout #5 - cowgirl & cowboy fabric
Once the layout is finalized I piece it. This one is very easy. Cut the selvedges off. Sew the fabrics into left and right panels and then sew them together.

Keep in mind it's easier to baste the quilt sandwich when the back is at least four inches larger than the top. This quilt is about 70 inches wide while the back is 82 inches wide. The extra width will make a skinny strip I can use on a future back.

Enjoy the day.

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