Consider it a creative challenge to add a design to the quilt back, whether your ultimate aim is using up leftover blocks or fabrics, or creating an essentially reversible quilt. Though “hidden” on the quilt back, these extra touches are often cherished as much as he quilt itself.
When coming up with a quilt pattern, designer Cynthia Tomaszewski usually buys extra fabric so she’ll be able to mix and match fabrics for a scrappy look. Because she is prepared with extra fabric, she’s often got plenty of yardage to piece the quilt back.
On the previous quilt, designer Cynthia Tomaszewski had strip sets left over when the quilt top was complete. So she made a heart-shaped fusible quilt label and paired it with a second appliqué cut from strip-set leftovers.
Think about making a quilt back from a novelty print, a piece of treasured fabric, or any print you don’t want to cut up into small pieces.
Tip: Cut and piece the quilt back larger than the quilt top, adding at least 6” to both the length and width measurements.
For the label on this pieced quilt back, designer Pat Sloan stitched a wide band to the edges of a fabric label, then hand-stitched it in place.
Piece leftover fabrics from the quilt top (or from an entirely different project) using a simple design.
Tip: If you’re concerned about the quality of your hand or machine quilting, choose a busy print that will camouflage your stitches.
For this quilt label, quiltmaker Janet Houts used an ink-jet printer to print the quilt information on a square of printable fabric. Then she folded the fabric square in half diagonally and aligned the raw edges with a corner of the quilt sandwich before binding all the edges together.
This pieced backing creates a strong linear design with strips of fabric in varying widths. Piecing the strips with diagonal seams provides even more movement.
Tip: A pieced back with many seams is easier to quilt by machine than by hand.
Blocks used on the quilt top were tripled in size (21” square finished) for the quilt back. Four oversized blocks create a graphic focal point positioned so the light fabrics meet in the quilt center. A light-colored border of cream print 28x42” rectangles and tan print 28” squares allows the stunning quilting design to stand out.
Utilize extra blocks and units for a pieced quilt back. A leftover star block, the quilt label, and extra triangle-squares are brought together in an off-center manner with checkerboard units. Many of us have favorite color schemes we turn to again and again – try combining a sampling of complementary test blocks from previous projects.
Tip: Choose fabrics with the same care requirements as the quilt top; if fabrics used in the quilt top were preshrunk, fabrics for the quilt back should be, too.
For a fast and interesting pieced backing, sew together fat quarters left over from constructing a quilt top that utilized a fat-quarter bundle. Or use larger cuts, like these squares cut from 2/3-yard lengths of fabric.