After you’ve spent dozens of hours on your quilt top, now is the time to shift your focus to the quilt backing.
But what do you do?
Do you use a solid piece of fabric, or do you get creative and piece a unique backing for your beautiful quilt?
That’s what we’re going to cover today. We will look at several creative quilt back ideas to inspire you for your next quilt project.
- What do you put on the back of a quilt?
- How do you pick a quilt backing?
- How do you make a quilt back?
- How large does a quilt back need to be?
- 15 Quilt Back Ideas to Make Your Quilt Pretty Front to Back
- 1. Charm Pack Backing
- 2. Mixed Prints Backing
- 3. Large Panel Backing
- 4. Zipper Backing
- 5. Horizontal Panel Backing
- 6. Patchwork Strips Backing
- 7. Fleece Backing
- 8. Quilt Block Panel Backing
- 9. Diagonally Cut Backing
- 10. Applique Backing
- 11. Lettering Applique Backing
- 12. Matched Print Backing
- 13. Flannel Sheet Backing
- 14. Fat Quarter Backing
- 15. Quilt Block Sampler Backing
Here are some of the most common questions surrounding DIY quilt backings.
What do you put on the back of a quilt?
Whenever you make a quilt, you need three layers: the quilt top, batting, and backing. You can use various fabrics for the back, such as flannel, cotton, lightweight denim, fleece, Minky, etc.
The back can be made from one large piece of fabric, or you can use one of many pieced quilt backing ideas. We’ll look at 15 awesome ideas shortly.
How do you pick a quilt backing?
Choosing a quilt backing will depend on your preference, budget, and fabric availability. You must decide if you prefer the look of one solid piece of fabric or a pieced patchwork-style quilt backing.
Your budget will play a role in your decision too. If you are making a larger quilt and want a solid fabric, you must purchase the wide fabric. If you are using quilting cotton, you’ll need to use either 90” or 108” wide fabric, which is more expensive than regular 42” cotton.
Availability of fabric is another factor in your decision-making. You may not be able to find a wide fabric that you like for your specific quilt project. In that case, you’ll have to get creative and piece your backing.
How do you make a quilt back?
There are many different ways to make a quilt back. We will look at some simple quilt-backing ideas later in this post. You can sew two long pieces of yardage together to create an 84” wide backing if that works with your quilt size.
If your quilt top is wider than 80”, you’ll need to piece together several fabrics to make a backing the correct size.
How large does a quilt back need to be?
The size of the quilt back will depend on the size of your quilt top, but a good rule to follow is the width and length of the quilt should be at least 3” longer on each side.
For example, if I have a quilt top that measures 72”x90”, my quilt back needs to be at least 78”x96”.
15 Quilt Back Ideas to Make Your Quilt Pretty Front to Back
Now let’s look at some unique but easy quilt backing ideas that will hopefully inspire you to make one for your next quilt project. Many of these examples come with a tutorial on how the maker created them, so get your notepad ready to take notes.
This quilt back was made using charm pack squares. The maker used a light grey background fabric and then used full and cut charm squares to create a unique design. This is a great way to add some color to your quilt back.
This backing features several fabrics in the center panel with varying widths. You could easily replicate this design if you have leftover yardage from the quilt top. Sew the leftovers together, and sew long strips of yardage on either side, like in the example above. You can use this technique for any size quilt back.
This backing is similar to #2, but the maker used larger pieces for the center panel. If you have fabric with large bold prints like the fabrics on this quilt back, this is the perfect way to use them. With a quilt backing like this, the quilt becomes reversible.
How fun is this? The maker gives a brief yet easy-to-follow tutorial on how she made this adorable backing. The backing looks like a giant zipper and adds a fun, quirky element to the design.
If you prefer the look of backing with horizontal panels, try this layout. The quilter who made this chose a beautiful leaf fabric for the centerpiece and added a couple of other materials for length. Whenever you add fabrics to a quilt backing, you want it to look like it’s on purpose.
As you can see in the image above, the quilt top was made entirely out of small squares. The designer then used the leftover squares to create these beautifully colorful strips for the quilt back. It’s pleasing to the eye when the quilt top and backing match perfectly like this.
Fleece is an attractive option if you want a soft quilt backing fabric. The quilter who made this quilt gives step-by-step instructions on how she used fleece for the backing and includes tips and tricks for quilting with fleece. Kids love soft, cozy quilts like this, so this is an excellent choice for baby and child quilts.
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A common way to piece a quilt back is to use one type of quilt block and make a vertical panel that sits between two solid pieces of fabric. This example uses a beautiful drunkard’s path quilt block. It’s a great way to tie the quilt top and back together using the same quilt block.
Here is an intriguing tutorial that shows you how to use 44” quilting cotton as a backing for more expansive quilt tops. Basically, you cut the large piece of fabric diagonally and then sew the pieces together to make a wider piece of fabric.
This might be the answer to your quilt-backed prayers if you want to use just one printed fabric. I’m definitely going to try this one!
10. Applique Backing
Applique is an exciting way to add embellishments to a quilt, but have you ever thought of using it for a quilt backing? The maker is this colorful quilt decided to use an adorable elephant outline to create a unique applique design for their quilt back.
The significant part about this idea is you can literally make an applique piece of anything from hearts to airplanes and anything in between.
Here is another example of applique being used on a quilt back. This time it is lettering and comes with a great free tutorial on making this type of applique piece. The quilter made the applique “love” piece from patchwork squares.
Have you ever wanted to use a gorgeous print fabric for your backing but know you have to sew two long pieces together? How do you match the prints to look like one large backing fabric? This tutorial from Suzy Quilts will show you how to match the prints for any size quilt back.
Here is a tutorial on using a flannel sheet as a quilt back. Sometimes money is tight, or you might have an adorable flat sheet you never use. Why not use it for your next quilt backing? The maker gives tips and tricks for sewing with sheets.
This quilt back has been pieced together entirely with fat quarters and strips of varying sizes. This is a great way to use leftovers from the quilt top or feature fat quarters that you love. The fun part about a backing like this is there isn’t a right or wrong way to do it.
Wouldn’t this make a gorgeous quilt backing? This is the perfect example of making a quilt backing that looks just as good as the front. It’s also fun to try out a few new quilt blocks without making an entire quilt with them.
Hopefully, this compilation of quilt backing ideas has opened your eyes to the possibilities for the backs of your quilts. The sky is the limit for what you can do with a bit of creativity and fabric.