Sweet Backings

image from google

All the years I have been quilting, its so much fun to see what and how clients choose backing fabrics. What backing style are you? 

Brownie - By the time you finish the quilt top you just want it over with! You would rather choose a 108" wide fabric for the back and not worry about piecing it at all. 

Regina chose a "brownie" backing for her #bonniehuntermystery quilt

Fruit Pizza- You love color! The more the better. Choosing to have a super scrappy backing is your taste. Doesn't matter how many pieces it takes! 

Jo loves to do her fruit pizza backings! Each is unique to her quilt. 

Cheesecake - You like to keep it modern but classy. Making a modern quilt back is your go to. Whether it is fun piecing through the center or an orphan block from the quilt top, you'll add a little pizazz to your backing.  

A modern "cheesecake" backing with a sweet topping :)

Tiramisu - The backing must match the top you say! Choosing a fabric from the quilt top and using it as backing is your ideal choice. 

Yum Yum for Tiramisu! Sharon's red backing matches her border fabric.

Are you craving brownies yet? I myself am a brownie lover, but occasionally I enjoy a good piece of Tiramisu. I'm not too fond of fruit pizza and once in a blue moon I have a hankering for cheesecake.        He He :)   

Whatever your backing style, I have a few tips for you to make the quilting process easier on your machine quilter. 

Rip Your 108" Backing: If you do go with a 108" wide, make sure that it is ripped, not cut. Some quilt stores, including Sleepy Valley Quilt Co., will rip the 108" wide. Why? 108" fabric is folded several times before it is put on the bolt. With all this folding the straight of grain isn't straight on the bolt. It is wobbly. If you cut, you'll get biased edges and then the backing will be wavy and not straight. If you rip, you are ripping along one thread line, or weft, of the fabric and it will be straight.

Seam Allowance:  Make sure your seam allowance is a somewhere around 1/2", it can be a scant 1/2" but definitely make sure it is more than 1/4" . Having more of a "bite" to the seam allowance helps the fabric stay stable. It also helps it from coming apart when it is stretched on the rollers of the longarm machine. If you are simply sewing two 45" WOF pieces together, use the selvedges as guides and simply sew them together. That alone will give you about 1/2" seam and you don't have to do any extra cutting or measuring! 

Ironing: When it comes to backing fabrics that are pieced making sure they are ironed properly is important. You want to iron your seams OPEN. Why? When you iron your seams open, there are only two layers of fabric that the machine has to go through instead of four if you iron to one side. Ironing these seams open also means that you won't get a lumpy quilt from all the seam build ups from the backing. 

Straight & 90 degree angles: When you choose to piece your backings, also make sure that you have 90 degree corners and straight edges. No flappy extras on the sides please. When mounting the backing to the longarm machine, the entire quilt gets centered. That means the top, batting and backing. If you have seamed your backing into two parts and the top part is 2" to the left/right than the bottom part, your center of backing will be tweaked when loading onto the machine. This can result in a wobbly backing and none of us want that. If you have chosen to do a fruit pizza backing, then please please please square your backing. 

Stay Stitching: If you are a fruit pizza lover and sometimes a cheesecake will call for this ingredient; stay stitch around the outside of your backing. You don't want all those pieces coming apart when the backing is loaded onto the longarm frame. It is a nightmare for your quilter! 

Don't be skimpy: I know fabric gets pricey and we all want to save where possible. However, when it comes to backing, ask your machine quilter how much extra they need to load your quilt. I require a minimum of 10" on all four sides. That means if the top is 60x60 then the backing has to be 70x70. Especially with custom quilting, you need the extra to mount to the machine take-up bars and give you space to quilt off of the quilt. If you don't give your quilter the extra, sometimes your quilt won't get fully quilted, or they send you back home to add more to the sides. So just make sure before bringing it to their studio that you have enough. Believe me, they will be grateful! 

I know this is a lot of information, but feel free to print this off so you know how to prepare your backing. It is just as important as your quilt top! 

Oh, and if you are in the mood for baking... your welcome! 


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