Traditionally, quilt backing is a print used in the quilt top, a simple muslin, or a 108″ extra-wide fabric. Today, fun novelties or pieced backs are common. Here are some ways to narrow down your choices.
Hand quilting is usually quilted with cream, natural color thread. To show off your beautiful hand stitches, think about a solid or tone on tone backing. If your quilt is large, an extra wide back is good so you won’t have uneven stitches when quilting into the extra layers of fabric in the seams.
If you plan to machine quilt, you may change thread colors to match the patchwork. If you match the bobbin and top thread, a multi-color design backing will camouflage the changes. A busy backing will also hide some of the starts and stops.
If you choose a long arm quilter to cover your quilt with intricate feathers or custom work, a simple design backing will show off the quilting. Discuss the backing size with your quilter, because some need extra inches to load into the machine.
Here are some other ideas to make your quilt back as special as the front.
If you have a large collection of fat quarters, cut them to a standard size, about 17″ x 20″. Sew together for a scrappy backing.
Do you have extra pieces left over from the front of the quilt? If so, create a simple patchwork panel in the center. Our Land of Whimzie flannel squares were used here, with borders from our Fabric Palette, 1-yard precut solid grey. The soft texture will be cuddly and warm.
A pieced insert works well for larger quilts, when you need to piece in a section. To back a 90″ quilt, use two widths, about 42″ and insert a 12″ or 15″ row of patchwork blocks or strip piecing. You’ll have the extra wide backing you need. If you insert the row in the bottom quarter, instead of center, it creates a bed-runner look.
Other ideas: use an unfinished quilt top – just add wide borders to make it to size. Sew together odd blocks, don’t worry about centering them, just add different width borders, log cabin style. Pick something whimsical – if a bolt of dancing flamingos makes you smile, back your next quilt with it!
Ask to see the backing of some of the quilts at the next quilt show you visit. You may be surprised at what you see. For more ideas, keep a Pinterest board of backings. Traditional or funky, your backing choice will get you one step closer to finishing!
The excited for our Little Dress Boutique line continues another week as we’re giving away another full collection! If you’re just now hearing about this product, it is a line of 6 pre-cut pillowcase dress collections named after our favorite little girls. (And we mean that, the collections are named after daughters and granddaughters of Fabric Editions employees.) Each collection has coordinating one yard cuts, fat quarters, and strip pieces to help you embellish your dress to match your little girl’s personality. This product is exclusively available in Jo-Ann’s stores and is there waiting for you to go pick out the perfect collection!
This week, one lucky winner will receive the full Abby collection, which includes one pre-cut dress, two fat quarters, 1 one-yard cut and 6 five-inch strips. You can view this adorable collection below and enter through the Gleam box at the bottom of this post. If you’d like to see all of the collections, click here to visit the Little Dress Boutique Look Book. If you would like to see all the coordinating project tutorials, visit the Little Dress Boutique page.
It has been in stores for nearly a month, but we’re still bursting with excitement for our Little Dress Boutique line! If you’re just now hearing about this product, it is a line of 6 pre-cut pillowcase dress collections named after our favorite little girls. (And we mean that, the collections are named after daughters and granddaughters of Fabric Editions employees.) Each collection has coordinating one yard cuts, fat quarters, and strip pieces to help you embellish your dress to match your little girl’s personality. This product is exclusively available in Jo-Ann’s stores and is there waiting for you to go pick out the perfect collection!
We hope you are just as excited as we are about Little Dress Boutique, because we’re giving away an ENTIRE collection. One lucky winner will receive the full Katie collection, which includes one pre-cut dress, two fat quarters, 1 one-yard cut and 6 five-inch strips. You can view this adorable collection below and enter through the Gleam box at the bottom of this post. If you’d like to see all of the collections, click here to visit the Little Dress Boutique Look Book. If you would like to see all the coordinating project tutorials, visit the Little Dress Boutique page.
Once you’ve decided how you will quilt, you can choose a batting. Know the size of your quilt and add 3”-4” all around. Here are some tips and choices for you to think about.
Low loft, cotton, unbleached, is commonly sold on the bolt and is a great choice. Warm and Natural is readily available, packaged and by the yard, and reliable. For machine quilting, the layers are less likely to shift. If your quilt has a lot of white fabric, a white batting will keep it from looking yellowed.
Sending your quilt out? Your long arm quilter will a larger size or will give you a price to supply it, which is usually a good idea.
Hand quilting? Hobbs makes Heirloom 80% cotton/20% poly that lets the needle slide through easily.
Packaged battings give you many options. There are many alternates to cotton or polyester. Bamboo for lightweight quilts, silk is lightweight and washable, wool for warmth, soy blends that are breathable, rayon that is fire resistant, and organic cotton. Bonded, needlepunched, or with scrim will let you quilt a little further between quilting rows. For dark quilts, find a black cotton batting. Thermore is a thin, drapeable batting. There are fusible battings in cotton, poly, or blended, that lets you iron the top and bottom together. For crafts or a tie-quilted project, there are puffy high loft polyester battings.
Check your batting label to find out know how close together to place your rows of stitching. Usually 4”, but needle punched or other treated batting will let you quilt 8” apart. Cotton batting will shrink 1-3% , which is similar to your fabric, and give you a lovely texture around every quilt stitch. Polyester will not shrink, which is nice for contemporary quilt designs, wall hangings, and bags.
I hope this gives you an overview of what’s available. Our friends at Pellon, Fairfield, and Hobbs have detailed product charts & info for you to learn even more. Try them all. Experiment. Your quilts will be interesting and unique, and you’ll have an ‘inside’ secret!
The new Quilt Block of the Month, “Garden Trellis” has arrived! This beautiful quilt is designed with twelve on-point blocks in vertical row format. The crisp white background, a bold stripe and floral borders make this a beautiful full-size, 86” x 90” quilt.
The trendy blue/lavender floral print is complemented with tonals and small prints in violet, mulberry, turquoise, navy and mint green. The colors would go with any decor.
To make the quilt, you’ll need the 12 block kits, plus a Setting Kit. The quilt is designed for Beginner and Intermediate quilters. All fabrics are available as QuiltBlock Quarters (18” x 21”) and by the yard. The ready to sew binding is also in the stores. Online, you can order the backing/binding kit.
I hope you’ll pick Garden Trellis for your summer project!
To kick off Garden Trellis, we are giving away 6 fat quarters to one lucky winner. These can be used in addition to the quilt or for your own project. See below for the fat quarters’ patterns and to enter through the Gleam box.
You have invested time and expense to create a work of art – a quilt. The decisions you make now will reflect your skill and how the quilt will wear. If you used our QuiltBlocks program, read through the Quilt Blocks Setting Kit instructions. This is our final kit that ‘sets’ your 12 blocks together. You’ll see that you need to make choices about the batting, backing, and quilting designs. We’ve decided to start a series to guide you through those decisions. First up, quilting!
Hand quilting will make your quilt an heirloom. The stitch is a running stitch, through all three layers. Spending a little time every day is the key to finishing. Mark a portion, hoop it, and find a show to watch to make the time fly. Hand quilting is portable, you can move to more comfortable seating, lighting, or take the quilt with you wherever you go.
Hand Quilting Tips
Start with a needle size No. 10 Between. A No. 12 is the smallest, but can be hard to handle and thread. There’s a saying that goes ‘the smaller the needle, the smaller the stitches’ – it’s true! Hand quilting thread is usually glazed to prevent twists. A thimble on the middle finger will help rock the needle thorough the layers and prevent sore fingertips. A large embroidery hoop will hold the layers together. There are specialty hoops and stands to invest in as your skills grow. Just like machine quilting, practice before starting on your quilt.
Machine quilting on your home machine is the choice many quilters make. The quilt will be durable, especially if your quilting coverage is heavy. Use a walking foot to stitch in the ditch around the blocks to start. Your machine may have a special walking foot with a guide ‘blade’ designed to help keep the stitches exactly in the ditch. A darning foot can be used to add free motion designs later. Visit our Quiltologie YouTube video to learn more about machine quilting.
Machine Quilting Tips
Sew at a slow speed with the walking foot, and faster when doing free motion. You will be moving the quilt under the needle, so will want a good grip and clean surface to support the large quilt. Always do a little practice to warm up and to check feed dogs, thread, bobbin and needle. For smooth free motion curves, sew in one fluid motion to a stopping point, then continue to the next point.
For thread, cotton thread specifically for machine quilting in a matching color, or slightly lighter is always a good choice. Polyester threads will be stronger, which some prefer when doing free motion quilting. Rayon comes in many colors and has a nice finish, but needs to be knotted and may not wear as well. Usually the bobbin thread should match the backing fabric, but if your stitches pull up the thread and create dots of color on the front, match the bobbin to the quilting threads.
Long Arm Quilting
Sending your quilt to a professional quilter has become a popular option. Always take a look at work they’ve already done, and ask for recent references. Let them know how you will use the quilt, if you want to enter it in a show, or are you sending it off to a college dorm room (!) Discuss in detail what you expect to see, bring the suggested quilting reference, but also be open to suggestions. Some will charge extra for marking straight lines, others will let you choose pantographs or all-over quilting for a reduced fee. Before you drop off your quilt, be sure to check one more time that your quilt is flat and square, and check your backing, too.
Another option is to rent time on a long arm machine and DYI. Check around your area and see if this is a possibility – sounds like fun, right?
We’re so excited to finally reveal the new Fabric Editions blog! The new blog allows us to offer so much more to our readers than the previous blog, and we’re excited to share with you all the ways this blog supports your sewing efforts. The top bar is where you can find everything you need to create any project. You can hover over FUN PROJECTS and visit the archives of the free projects we’ve featured on the blog. You can view our latest products to hit stores near you by clicking NEW PRODUCTS. Our latest giveaway will be waiting for your entries when you click GIVEAWAYS. And last but not least, every tip and trick we’ve featured on the blog is archived for easy access under TIPS AND TRICKS. On our sidebar you will find links to all of our social media, but more importantly, it’s where you can sign up for our newsletter! Once you sign up and confirm your subscription, you’ll receive a free e-book!
We’re continuing with the Quiltologie giveaway for one final week, so if you missed out these past two, it’s your final chance! Quiltologie is a wonderful product available in Hancock stores. They are packages kits, each including the fabric and directions for creating a specific project. They are perfect for beginner sewers. The project kits include three quilts, two handbags, and a table runner. An exciting aspect of this product is the availability of tutorials to accompany each project. You can visit our Quiltologie page to view the videos as well as the projects.
To celebrate Quiltologie’s release, two winners will each receive a Quiltologie kit. To enter, scroll below the pictures and use the Gleam giveaway widget. Good luck and don’t forget to tell your friends!
If you would like to purchase Quiltologie products, you can shop online by clicking here, or visit your local Hancock’s.