Monday, October 23, 2017

Quilt Backings on the Cheap!

Over the past week, I've been goading a follower, Pat, to finish her Jolly Holiday blocks and since I was poking away at her, it only seemed fair that I should get that second top together myself -- mission accomplished!!
Time to get the backings organized!
I found this new print that will suit my grandson perfectly but of course one length of it is too narrow.
No worries, just slice it (not down the middle) and add a strip of something else.
Now I have two backings hanging over the studio door ready to do some layering this week -- yuk!
The pine sprigs on the right has been in the stash for many years but I've never been able to cut it up (too lovely to cut?) and so using it for a backing (finally) gets it off the shelves and into circulation! 
Since I closed my shop back in 2005, I've used up quite a bit of my stash making backings for quilts.  Want to see some of them?
I pulled a pile of quilts off the guest bed where they live when they are off display or not traveling with me.
My daughter and housemate, Alison, did duty as my holder.
The easiest strategy is to slice it and add more.  I rarely slice down the middle -- looks more "artsy" to be off center -- unless there is a need to cut down the middle like a faded center fold line.  Fold lines fad sometimes because I have lots of fabric that I've had for a while. 
I recall that the plain green I used here was actually some reject borders from another project that had gone back on the shelf.  Perfect and used up!!
Sometimes the "additions" are leftovers from the piecing.  The band of triangles on the left got lost and I had to make a replacement strip to finish the quilt top.  Of course, then I found the band at once?!? No point leaving it lay around the studio because while I can't throw it away, I'll also never find another use for it.
I cut dozens of bright strips for the piecing in this quilt and had so many leftovers even using some to get the width I needed hardly made a dent in them.
This quilt is lovely, but the prints that were left were just going to take up space on the shelves so together they went for the backing!  The right side is narrower than the left so that center seam isn't on the center fold of the quilt.  Good strategy!
When I'm thinning out a color group, I often set the pieces I cull aside for pieced backings. 
Blue-greens were very strong in the late 1990's but not so much now, so using up some of them for this backing was perfect!
Lots of leftover strips worked together to make this backing the right width!
And I've entered this quilt in two shows and not had any negative comments from the judges about the pieced backing.
I hope this tour of backings has inspired you to use up some of your stash for backings!
All the quilts are back resting on the guest bed until their next call.
Not having "backing" fabric is never a problem here -- I have yards and yards of fabric that will work -- just need to stitch them together!!

Are you pouring on the steam to finish quilts as the holidays begin to approach?


  1. I love pieced backings. Here in eastern PA the German quilts quite often had what we call strippy backs.

  2. I also frequently piece backings or use vintage sheets and most recently duvet covers. It is great to economize with the backing -- makes the cost of this hobby a bit more reasonable. :-)

  3. Pieced backings are the favorite here, but it does take some work. Even a not so lovely piece looks good when matched up with a beauty. I really like the addition of small blocks you've added to the splices. Nice touch, Mary!

  4. Great use of fabrics. Are those hanging sleeves we see also on back? Even one is made from more than one fabric.

  5. Hah! You know I finished the blocks but now I've "almost" completed the flimsy. And I'll be piecing the back for it. :-)

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