Christa’s Quilt Along 4.5 – Sea of Squares Pieced Backing

Today I will show you two different ways to make a pieced quilt backing: (1) All from one fabric, or (2) from scraps and chunks. I have a little “cheater” disclaimer here. Since I am on vacation this week, I haven’t actually had time to sew my back together. Most of my tutorial pictures were designed in EQ7, but I’ll whip up my own back in no time when I return!

Step 1 – Measure Your Quilt Top

Sea of Squares Quilt Top

A good rule of thumb is to measure your quilt top and then add 4 inches around the perimeter on all four sides. This means you will take your quilt dimensions and add a total of 8 inches to each number. Let me demonstrate:

My quilt top measures 51″ x 62″ from raw edge to raw edge. I will add 8″ total giving me a needed back dimension of 59″ x 70″.

Step 2 – Calculate the Yardage Needed For One Fabric

The backing width I need is 59 inches as stated above. Rounding that up to the nearest 1/4 yard increment gives me 1.75 yards of fabric (or 63 inches). However, that will give me a length of just 44 inches from selvedge to selvedge (which I round down to 40 inches to account for seam allowances and trimmed edges). But  I need a total length of 70″.

Pieced Back 1 Fabric

Pieced Back 63″ x 80″

To solve this problem, I will need to double the amount of fabric purchased to 3.5 yards. This will allow me to use two 1.75 yard pieces and seam them together to get a total measurement of 63″ wide x 80″ long.

Step 3 – Calculate Pieced Sizes for a Scrappy Backing

If you like an artistic backing like I do, take your diagram above and subdivide it into smaller chunks and random pieces. Use your creativity and fabrics from your stash as a guide. Here’s one hint – if you have a lot of white in your quilt top like mine, try to use lighter fabrics on the back so they don’t show through to the front.

I will “draw” a pieced backing measuring 60″ x 70″ (for easy math) and fill it in like a puzzle, adding random chunks wherever I choose. My diagram looks nice and straight but you can certainly use improve techniques with more wonky lines to achieve a similar effect.

Pieced Back

Just remember that the outer 4-5 inches will be cut off so do not place any smaller chunks near the edges. For my diagram above, I have selected 10 chunks of fabric. Let’s look and see how they would be sewn together:

  • Add chunks 1, 2 and 3 together, then chunk 4
  • Sew 5 & 6 together, then add to piece 1-4
  • Next, sew 7-8 into one unit and 9-10 into another unit
  • Piece both of these sections together
  • Then add the top piece (1-6) to the bottom piece (7-10)

I will press seam allowances open and use a liberal amount of starch to keep everything tidy.

If you would like to follow my diagram exactly, here is how large you would cut each piece:

Pieced Back

  1. 8.5″ x 32.5″
  2. 12.5″ x 32.5″
  3. 20.5″ x 10.5″
  4. 20.5″ x 42.5″
  5. 20.5″ x 10.5″
  6. 20.5″ x 32.5″
  7. 14.5″ x 28.5″
  8. 18.5″ x 28.5″
  9. 28.5″ x 14.5″
  10. 28.5″ x 14.5″

Quilt-Along ScheduleLinks are Active at the Completion of Each Step:

Be sure to post pictures of your progress on my flickr group: Christa’s Quilt Along.
I’d love to see your completed backing as well as the front!

Quilt Kits are available for a limited time in these two colorways:

Apple Jacks

Apple Jacks

Sea of Squares

Sea of Squares

This entry was posted in Christa's Quilts, Quilt Alongs and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Christa’s Quilt Along 4.5 – Sea of Squares Pieced Backing

  1. Debbie bechelli says:

    Thanks. This helped me out a bunch.

  2. Trecca Howard says:

    Is the seam allowance on the back a half an inch?
    Trecca

    • Christa says:

      I calculated the measurements based on 1/4 inch seam allowances. If you would prefer to use 1/2 inch seam allowances, just add 1/4 inch to all of the measurements. :-)

  3. Janice says:

    Great tutorial. I love a scrappy back, since then I can use the leftover fabrics from the front and not spend money on several yards of fabrics! Thanks for linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday:)

  4. I’m usually a scrappy backing person too – I usually like to use up the rest of the fabric from the front! Or at least part of it.

  5. Connie says:

    Great tutorial and neat backing! Thanks for sharing.
    Freemotion by the River Linky Party Tuesday

  6. liveacolorfullife says:

    Thanks for sharing and linking!

  7. Great tutorial! TnKs for sharing on TGIFF

  8. dezertsuz says:

    You are so organized! I usually just start scrappy piecing and see what I get. =) Your way is much better.

  9. adaisygarden says:

    I like the backing! Almost looks like it could be reversible.

  10. I like your scrappy backing. I like the whole idea of getting a backing that relates to the quilt out of what is left over.

  11. Paula says:

    I love the scrappy backing you have created! In our Project Linus Chapter here in the Tri-cities of Washington State, we encourage using scrappy backs to use left over fabrics. When I’m putting kits together for our volunteers, I include all the cut strips, bindings that are scrappy, and many times also use a scrappy backing with left over fabrics to make good use of our fabric, as we are a non-profit organization. I think it adds interest to the quilt! Thanks for sharing all your fun ideas with us! Love your blog and look forward to it every week! Keep up the good work!

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