Thursday, February 5, 2015

Simple Pieced Backing Tutorial

{For a baby quilt finishing at about 42 x 54 inches}


  • Quilt top measuring about 42 x 54 inches
  • 1 2/3 (60 inches) yard main fabric
  • 1/3 yard (12 inches) accent fabric
  • Coordinating thread
This will be my backing for this quilt top. I chose a colorful print for the backing because I plan on using threads for quilting which will match the fat quarters on top.  Different colored bobbin thread will blend in with a busier print.  

My backing fabric is "It's a Party" by Fabri-Quilt.  (I found it among the clearance fabrics at my local quilt shop -- a great place to look for backing fabric.)  My contrasting strip will be Kona's Bright Pink.

1.  Square up the both ends of the main fabric.  I do line the fold up with the selvage edges, as I believe I am more accurate that way.

2.  Using spray starch or an alternative like Best Press, iron the wrinkles out of the backing.  Pay close attention to the fold and do your best to flatten it.

3.  After ironing, fold the fabric in half the other way.  The selvage will line up on one end.  Then trim a 10.5 inch strip parallel to the selvage.  I used a 12.5 inch ruler to do this and just slid it along the selvage to complete the cut.

Note: It is not necessary to trim the selvage off.  I like to leave it on as it helps with basting the quilt later.

4.  Iron your accent fabric with starch, and cut two strips the same size by the width of the fabric.  I recommend 6 inches.  (Mine were more like five inches.)

5.  Trim off the selvage ends on these strips.  Sew them end to end to make one long 80+ inch strip.  Press the seam to one side, press out the folds, and trim to the same length as your main backing fabric.  (Double check and measure it, but it should be about 60 inches)

6.  Sew the contrasting strip to the cut sides of your main backing fabric with a generous quarter inch (or 3/8 inch) seam.  I like to place the skinnier strip on the top when I do this.  Be careful not to stretch one of the fabrics as you do this, or it will ripple.  Also, make sure you sew right sides together (you don't want your seam on the contrasting fabric to show).

7.  I like to press my seams toward which ever fabric is darker (in this case the bright pink).  Others like to press the seam open to reduce bulk.  It is a personal preference.

8.  Sew the other strip on, press it, and you have an adorable pieced backing.

Note:  This will make a backing which is 4-6 inches wider and longer than your quilt top.  It is a perfect size for basting a quilt to be quilted on a domestic sewing machine.  If you are sending your quilt to a long arm quilter, it may need to still be slightly bigger.  

For more basic quilting tutorials (including piecing the tops and basting the quilt), check out my "Quilt Basics" page under my header.  


P.S.  Some supplies for this quilt were generously donated by Daines Cotton Shop.


  1. That backing fabric is going to work so well with all the colored threads you plan to use! :)

  2. I love the bright colors. The floral is a great match for your colorful top. I look forward to seeing the quilting.


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