Ask the longarm quilter, Debra, instructions, longarm quilting, quilting, Quilts by Debra, tips and tricks

Pieced Backing

I am making a baby quilt for a friend from some fabric I have had since before I moved to California a few years ago. I just knew it would come in handy someday. Dick and Jane fabric panel and coordinating fabrics from Michael Miller. It is cute and bright and perfect for a baby.

I only had a half yard of each of the coordinating fabrics and didn’t want to go buy extra fabric for the back – so I did a pieced backing from the leftovers and some Kona white fabric.

 This is the quilt top, I didn’t use a pattern but did remember seeing a quilt once that was offset and divided so I played around until I had a nice composition. Then I realized I wanted it wider so added the side borders wider than the top and bottom ones. I will bind it with the black polka dot as the sashings.

When piecing a backing there are a few things I can pass on that will make it easier for the longarm quilter and will save you some headaches after it is quilted.

Make the edges square just like you did for the quilt top. This allows the longarm quilter to load it on without having to square it up.

Make the backing 3 to 4 ” bigger on all sides just like you would any other quilt backing.

If you are only short a small amount – anything less than 8″ I recommend cutting the backing in two and sewing a contrasting piece down the middle. This avoids having a small piece on the edge that might interfere with the binding by making it too thick and it also looks more pleasing than having a narrow slip of contrasting fabric on the edge by the binding. (I know there is a very narrow piece on the edge of this backing but my backing is 5″ larger on each side and it will be cut off after quilting.)

Trim off any selvage edges in the quilt backing. I do this on all backings.

Press your seams open and STARCH them front and back. I use liquid starch that I dilute, you can use whatever starch you prefer. This keeps the seam flat and I don’t have to worry about it flipping when I am loading it.