Quilt Back Tutorial #1 – Side-to-Side Method

on Mar 25, 2009 in Quilting | 13 comments

I’m going to share two ways I make quilt backs when using a single fabric for the back. This tutorial is for Method #1: the fast and easy, side-to-side method. It works for non-directional prints.

Sketch the back and its dimensions on a piece of paper:

In this example, the quilt tops measured 48 x 60. 8 inches are added to the length and width to make life easy for the long arm quilter. If I plan to do the quilting myself on my home sewing machine I add 4 inches.

Draw a picture of the back, draw how the pieces will go together, calculate their finished sizes and then calculate the cut sizes (I use a 1/2 inch seam when piecing the backs). I then do the calculations a second time. I’ve made a LOT of cutting mistakes in my life!

Calculate the total amount of fabric required. This is easy in the side-to-side design. The 56″ width will run with the lengthwise grain (the lengthwise grain is parallel to the selvage edge). 56″ x 2 = 112″. Divide 112″ by 36″ to yield a 3 yard 4″ fabric requirement.

The top photo shows laying out the fabric and cutting the first 56″ piece of fabric (the width running with the lengthwise grain of the fabric). Take the fabric, fold it so the cut edges align, fold it again so you can fit it on the cutting board and whack off the selvages so the length (running with the crosswise grain of the fabric) measures 40 1/2″.

Cut a second 56″ piece of fabric:

This time when trimming the selvages the final length dimension will measure 28 1/2 inches. A remnant measuring approximately 56″ x 14″ will be leftover.

Here’s a layout of the pieces after they are all cut:

Check out this cool new trick I just learned. The leftover fabric from cutting the second piece is located in the upper left hand corner of the picture. That remnant will go into my stash with the selvage containing the name of the fabric intact. I never used to pay attention to which selvage edge I cut off. Now, when I have a choice I always preserve the one with the fabric name on it.

Now for the easy part, sew both pieces together along the 56″ edge:

View from the back:

View from the front:

Next up: Piecing a back with a directional print!

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