Quilt Backing Technique

Oh, what to do when you need to back a quilt and you don't seem to have enough fabric for the backing? I ran into this today. I made a quilt with my 1,2, 3 Sew Easy pattern using Island Batik Coral Reef fabrics.

I had the 43" x 43" top sewn. I looked for a fabric on my shelves that would work with the batiks for a backing. The only one I found was this colorful floral, but it was 44" wide and I had only 2 yds! My longarm quilter would need an extra 4" on all side in order to quilt it. I could have cut and sewn and pieced it to fit, but Yuck! That just looks sloppy to me. 

A few times in the past, I used a technique with a mathematical formula. John Flynn presented it on Simply Quilts with Alex Anderson many years ago. He explained his technique (and formula) for making a diagonal seamed backing. I believed I would have enough fabric to do this. But, I had forgotten the formula.

I searched "John Flynn quilt backing" and up came a number of links. The first link actually took me to a calculator for this method (HERE) All I had to do was enter the dimensions and the extra fabric for the longarm quilter and I was told how much fabric I needed. I had enough and didn't have to work out an algebra problem! 

The directions for cutting the backing were shown on the site. So this is how I did it. 

I used the entire 2 yards--to be sure I had enough. My hubby is kind enough to let me use the pool table if I have the large cutting mat on it. I layed the fabric on the pool table. I pinned the corners to the tablecover I made for the pool table. I folded the fabric diagonally.

I could have used my scisssors to cut the folded edge, but I decided I would get a straighter cut if I used my ruler and rotary cutter. I cut about 1/16" off the folded edge. 

I had 2 triangles that I moved away from each other like this:

I put the quilt top on it to see if I had enough overhang for the quilter. I had more than enough. 

I was all set. I pinned the cut edges. When I sew the seam, the pins will help keep the bias edges from stretching out of shape. 

I squared up the backing piece and double checked that it was large enough. Yes! It is ready for the quilter!

I found this Signature Purple Ombre varigated thread that looks great with the colors of the top. I will ask the quilter to use this. 

Don't forget today is another day of FREE patterns for The Road Home Row Along. 
Here are the designers posting today. Be sure to visit and enter for the great giveaways.

If you missed any of the prior 3 days of patterns click HERE for the line up.

September 15
bdieges design
Elizabeth Coughlin Designs
Cloth and Paper Studio
Patti's Patchwork
Seacoast Quilter


OPQuilt said...

This is a great tip, Nancy--I'm happy to read about it, as we all have come up short at one time or another. Thank you very much!

Susan said...

This is so clever! I'm not sure totally how it works, but it's sure is genius!

Needled Mom said...

Great idea. It looks gorgeous too.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, that is a technique I haven't seen before, great fabric saver!