Have you ever used a non-conventional fabric to back your quilts? In a past blog, I talked about using sweatshirt knit as one of my favorite quilt backs (when I can find it for sale). It gives the quilt the best drape and weight without being too heavy. I love a cozy feeling quilt, and I think the backing you choose has a lot to do with that.
When I can’t find a sweatshirt knit, I often opt for flannel. This might not be the most unconventional of fabrics, but I like to look in the garment department to get a great yarn-dyed plaid. That way, it is the same on both sides and quilts up beautifully! I still use a thin batting in flannel-backed quilts, but I just haven’t been happy with no batting at all in these.
These flannels make great backing for guy quilts. They come in lots of neutral colors and because they were designed for garments, they wash up so well and get softer with use. You may want to buy a little extra in case you have to match the plaids in a backing seam. And it is always a good idea to pre-shrink the flannel before quilting as it does tend to shrink more than regular cotton fabric.
How about Polar Fleece?! It’s not for everything, but it does add a thick density to a quilt and you can often find sports team fleece or other novelty prints like superheroes and such. I would avoid trying to piece fleece for a backing though. If you can get the backing done in just one piece, that would be the way to go. It usually comes 54”-60” wide, so think lap size quilts. Trying to add a seam will leave quite a lump that is hard to miss once quilted. Fleece is thick and quite dense so you could probably get by without adding a batting layer if you wish.
Minky has been a favorite of mine for baby quilts and cuddle quilts for many years. I prefer the minky that has the fuzz on just one side because it is a little lighter and easier to piece if needed. It also has more of a one-way stretch rather than stretching in all directions.
If you have to piece minky, just make the seam extra wide (½”-¾”). This way, the two sides can lay down flat and smooth making a lump less visible.
If you buy the Minky or cuddle fabric that has fuzz on both sides, you get to pick the side you want to be on the right side. One has a short fine knap and the other looks a little wilder, but both will work fine! If you have to piece it, make your seam extra wide and be prepared for a lump anyway… it is just a bit thicker and loftier than the other minkies.
Okay, one final thing. Wide backs are great! These fabrics typically come 108” wide and they eliminate the need for piecing… one thing to watch out for is how warped they can be coming off the bolt. Because the fabric is so wide, it has to be doubled over a couple of times before wrapping it on the bolt. This causes major warping in some cases and could result in an oblong-shaped piece of cut fabric. If you can, ask that they tear your yardage off instead of cutting it. This way, it will tear with the grainline and you can pull it back on grain after you’ve washed it.
Happy Sunday Everyone,
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