February 10, 2016

Pieced Quilt Backings

Do you like a pieced quilt backing? I think some of them are absolutely amazing. They can easily rival the front for attention.

As a matter of fact, my friend Cindy of Live a Colorful Life used the leftovers from the quilt (below right) to make the fabulous quilt back (below left). You can see this graphic quilt at QuiltCon 2016 if you're going. She entered the back. Isn't that great?

I have seldom made a pieced back. Once I've gotten to the finishing stage, (sadly something that doesn't happen often enough) I'm usually ready for the quickest, easiest back possible. Sometimes even piecing a couple of widths of fabric can seem like pain. In my humble opinion, wide quilt back fabrics that don't need any piecing at all are a wonderful quilting invention.

With my two leafy green checkerboard tops nearly finished, I started looking for backing fabrics. I have a large enough piece of fabric for the smaller wall hanging, but nothing big enough for the queen sized bed quilt. So I searched a lot of online shops looking for just the right backing. I admit to being pretty darn picky about my backing fabrics. It has to continue the look of the front in terms of both coloring and feel. And of course the price needs to be right too. Backing a quilt can be a costly addition to the overall project.

Then I reminded myself of my 2016 goal to use my stash. I didn't really think I had enough green leaf prints leftover to back both quilts but figured it was worth a try. I also had some extra blocks leftover that could be used.

The big question was how to determine if I had enough fabric. The first thing I did was to get out all the large pieces of leftover leafy fabrics, then I measured them and put them on my design wall. Next I turned to the computer.

Graph paper would work just as well, but more and more now I use the computer. It's quick and easy to try different options without redrawing everything. I drew up basic shapes in the size of my fabric chunks and played around with layouts. Here's a few of the arrangements.

Working with the chunks, I realized I actually did have enough fabric to back both quilts. And the more I played the more excited I got about the back of the bed quilt having a design of it's own. The idea that I can flip the quilt over for a second look is quite appealing. That idea led to a more designed look for the back like this drawing below.

Today, I started cutting the pieces. The only thing I hadn't considered was the amount of white I'd need. More than I thought, so I did have to buy a little more white on white print from my local shop. But buying 1 yard is way better than buying multiple yards for the entire backing.

I'm going with the layout you see below. It uses up all the extra blocks and most of the large chunks with enough leftover for the wall quilt. The wall quilt will also be pieced but more simply with four big chunks.

I feels so good to know I'm using my stash and saving money in the process. I'll be sending these two quilts to a longarmer, so money saved on backing just means more put toward the quilting. I like that!

I also like visits from my helper. Now if only she would actually do more than sit on whatever I'm working on. I think she knows her eyes match the quilt.

Do you like pieced quilts backs? Have you ever done one? Craftsy has a good class by Elizabeth Hartman called Creative Quilt Backs just in case you'd like to learn more. She walks you through different ways you can approach piecing your backing and best of all it's free.

Thanks for stopping by. I'm linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday.