Thursday, May 22, 2008

Quilt Backing: A Necessary Evil

What is it about quilt backs that gets me every time?
I can make the top, I can baste, and I can quilt & bind, but when it comes to that backing my brain goes dead.
Numerous times I have gone to baste a quilt, only to be caught by not having the back ready.
It's not hard to make the back, it just doesn't seem to stick in my head as a step I actually have to complete before moving on!

My hat is off to all the Back Artists out there who are making what amounts to a double sided quilt...getting one side done is enough for me!
Though I do appreciate the person who e-mailed me to mention that using a UFO as a back solves 2 problems at once. That is truly brilliant thinking!

I got down to work this morning and made the backs for some quilts I must get done. One is a fund-raiser for the church, and the other two are on my UFO list...the one that is published monthly in the guild's newsletter, so I really have to keep up!
(note to self: do not be chairperson of something that requires monthly accountability!)

This is the back for the fund-raiser quilt...all that fabric to sew...and then iron!!!

When I have enough fabric to do the back all in the same (2 x length of quilt, if it is not wider than 80"), then I just fold it in half across the width and sew along one selvedge edge with a very hefty seam allowance. Then I trim off the selvedges in the seam (the other selvedge will be taken off when the quilt is trimmed after quilting).
After that, I just slice the along the fold to open it up, press the seam open and it's ready to baste.
But in the photo, you see I had to add another strip all along the top edge to make it long enough. So I'll make a sleeve out of the same contrasting fabric and it will end up being (yet another) "I meant to do it that way" touch!

The back for one of my UFOs...due to make a cross-country trip upon completion

This is stuck up on my design wall, and not smoothed very well. If you noticed the drapes & wrinkles as potential problems, good for you! However, I am pleased to say the grainlines are actually OK in this back.
It is important for the back to be smooth and flat before basting & quilting, and...though I hate to say it...often worth the time to fix if it is not! Imagine quilting all sorts of pleats and puckers into the back. You can't see them until all the work is done!
I liked the flowers, so I left them whole in the center and added the needed fabric to the sides.
I could have split the flowers and run the blue down the center. It only matters in how you want to show the fabrics.

Of course, if you have properly planned thing ahead of time, you will have enough of one fabric to do the entire back.
But where's the sport in

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