Monday, 4 February 2013

Quilting Tutorial 4 ~ Quilt backing from narrow fabric

Have you ever noticed that your finished quilt tops tend to be just that much wider than the backing fabric you want to buy?  When I first started quilting, I would have bought twice the length I needed so that I could add that narrow strip to make the backing wide enough.  But what do you know, you don't need to!

Here is a really clever trick for making wider quilt backings that save you fabric.

I just finished piecing a quilt for my husbands granddaughter.  I wanted to back it with a soft, cosy flannelette. As you can see, the flannelette is not quite wide enough.


In fact, the quilt is about 115cm square, the flannelette is about 110cm wide, and I only bought 1.5m, not 2.5m like I would have done in the past.  How could that be enough fabric??  I hear you ask.  Well, here's the trick...

So this is what you do:  Fold your fabric on a diagonal from top to bottom, and finger press to mark the crease.

Mark the crease


Unfold the fabric, and cut along the crease.

Cut the fabric


Slide one piece down until you have the width you need (remember to allow for the width of the seam), then stitch and press the seam open.

Remember to check the length before stitching!


And there you have it!  A backing wide enough for your quilt from a fraction of the fabric!  


Here's my quilt, sandwiched ready for quilting
(sorry about the blurry picture)


The finished width of my backing piece is about 118 cm, which is admittedly about the barest minimum, and I couldn't make it any wider or it would have been too short.  I perhaps could have done with a smidgen more fabric, but it worked out OK in the end.  There's probably some formula for working out how much fabric you actually need to make this work...but I'm not that mathematically minded!  


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