Friday, April 26, 2013

Back Art Revisited

My mother often used a sheet as the back of a quilt.  At that time, there was no fabric 108" wide specifically made for quilt backs. She bought the sheets because she thought they were less expensive and they were big enough for the back.  I really don't know her little fingers could quilt through the layers as a sheet is quite dense and my mother always hand quilted her quilts.

When I started quilting, I was advised to always buy either 7 yards of fabric or 3 yards because with 7 yards, you could always use it for a back and 3 yards was enough for borders.  I followed that advise for a lot of years.  The result?  A huge stash of fabric!  After moving the stash across country a couple of times, I decided to ditch that advice.  I started buying only fat quarters except when I knew exactly what the fabric would be used for.  In fact, I called a moratorium on fabric purchases 5 years ago and with rare exceptions, have bought very little.  However, in the meantime, I've made several quilt tops from the stash trying to use a lot of it up!

For backs, I decided to follow my friend, Joyce's example and start piecing fabric together to make the back.  I've done it various ways, but here is how I did the latest back for a quilt I am making. You can see a couple of other backs I made here.

For this back, I looked to the fabric to guide me.  I had some pieces that had been cut from the back of a previous quilt and they were about 6" wide.  I also found some pieces that were 9" wide and cut rectangles from these pieces.  The rest of the fabric was wide enough to cut 10" strips or rectangles from them.

Next, I started laying the pieces out on the floor in the loft as the back needed to measure 106" inches approximately which is way bigger than my design board.  I laid out all the pieces before I started sewing the rectangles together into rows.  I measured, but not precisely each strip as it was sewn.  When joining the strips together, I just made sure that the top edges were even.  Since the back is quite a bit larger than the quilt top, the uneven edges can be trimmed as I square the quilt.

Part of the fun is using those fabrics that are sort of unique.  The horse fabric above was actually bought when I needed to applique some "hair" on angels and all the manes worked great for that.  There were a few pieces left, so they were incorporated into the back for the autumn colored quilt top.

Pardon the telescope effect from taking the photo from this angle.  I could not back up any further or stand any higher.  I was already on the top step of the step stool and there wasn't enough room for the 6 ft ladder so I could get higher.

This is the back completely stitched together.  You can see that all of the strips were not precisely 106" long, but they are close.

Do you piece your backs or do you buy fabric especially for the back of your quilts?  I figure I get two for one if I piece the back as the back is more interesting than boring plain fabric.  Let me know what you think!

Hope you have an amazing weekend!



Joyce said...

Great job on the back! I love pieced backings. I'm lucky enough to have seen this in person and the photos don't do it justice. It's so much warmer and rich looking in person. Can't wait to see how you quilt the top!

Botanic Bleu said...

What a nice job on the back. I love having quilts on the bed and seeing the reverse side when turned back.