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How to Piece Backing

Updated: Feb 18, 2023

Well, here I am again squeezing as much out of the fabric I already have as I possible can :)... this time I'm using remnants to piece my quilt backs. There's something satisfying about not buying a single thing for a whole project!

I made this Vintage Windmill quilt, as a class sample during a few virtual classes this year. But, I hadn't yet figured out the backing.

All these fabrics were sent to me by the fabric company, so I had a lot to work with, but nothing was quite big enough for the whole back.

I decided to use some of the pieces from the layer cake (10” squares) across the middle. I smoothed the quilt out on the design wall and laid the squares right over the top, just to get a sense of how big I would need to make it.

I cut a couple of other pieces into equal sections and bordered the row of squares on the top and bottom. You can see it covers the whole quilt, with quite a bit hanging over the edges to account for seam allowances, and what would be needed for quilting (this is a baby quilt so I was just aiming for 2” extra on all sides).

Before sewing the squares together into a row, I turned each one until the cross-grain went side to side and the straight of grain went top to bottom. This was to mimic the other strips/pieces of fabric I was sewing to the top and bottom of the block row. The cross-grain will stretch a little more when tugged, and it's helpful to keep these consistent with each other across a pieced back for the flattest/squarest results.

I tend to tear my backing fabrics instead of cutting them. I want to know where the grainline is, and if it's way off, I might work to pull it back on grain. Tearing the strips or pieces helps to keep things square.

I press all my seams open. This makes for the flattest backing, but you could also press them to the side if you prefer. I use a heavy ¼” seam (or wider for some fabrics), and I lower my stitch length down to 2.0 so the seams do not pop with wash and wear.

I centered the square block row between the top and bottom pieced sections. I gently press the two sections together before pinning and sewing. This helps set the fabrics a bit.

I'm not generally a big pinner, but I can’t afford to just let the layers slip through my fingers… bad things happen to your perfectly flat backs when you do that :)

Here it is! All pieced and ready to quilt. I smoothed it back up on the design wall over the quilt to be sure I still had plenty of room all the way around. Not bad for a bunch of scraps!

Here are some other pics of crazy scrap pieced backs I’ve done recently. Some of these took more time than it was worth, but hey, the challenge was fun!

Happy Sunday everyone,


Follow all my quilty adventures on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Visit my Youtube channel for free tutorials and tips. If you like my patterns, you can buy them on Etsy, and here on the website.


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