Scrappy Backs

Two weeks ago, I talked about shopping my stash and piecing the backs of my quilts. I’ve gotten quite a few comments on the post and requests for photos, so here are a few of my quilts.

 
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Hawaiian Roses - side 1

 

 

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Hawaiian Roses - side 2

I made this for a runway show but wanted to be able to use it when the season was over. I pieced the purple side because I had a collection of purple fabric and then realized that purple wouldn’t match my bedroom (oh-oh!) so I created the applique for the back. This quilt is totally reversible and is the quilt that made me realize the backs not only could but should be interesting.

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Yabba-Dabba-Do

scrappy backs 001 1024x768 Scrappy BacksI didn’t have many pieces of the feature fabric left so I shopped my stash for greens and yellows. I sewed the scraps from the front into three pieces which then turned into the beginnings of the three horizontal rows you see here. I cut the yellows from my stash in several pieces so some of each fabric was in each row.

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Quiltmaking 101

scrappy backs 008 1024x768 Scrappy BacksThere was quite a bit of fabric left for the back, but notice the points of some triangles are chopped off. The light pink fabric is actually seersucker. I knew that I’d never use it for anything so the back of a quilt was the perfect spot. I do feel like I need to caution you here though. I remember my grandmother telling me, “Your quilt is only as good as the worst fabric in it.” She used the best part of worn-out garments as well as leftover fabric from new garment construction in her quilts. But this applies even when I am using all new fabric. If I have one piece of poor-quality fabric which wears out faster than the rest or continues to shrink each time the quilt is laundered, I’ve compromised the whole quilt.

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Victory Garden

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I don’t try to center the fancy part of the quilt back, but I’ve never liked this back because I think the pieced part is too far off center. I didn’t consider how much I’d be trimming off when the quilting was finished and I was ready to bind the quilt.

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Brownie's Quilt

This quilt has a great story. I found this Loralie Designs dog fabric several years ago and immediately thought that would be fun to do a wall quilt for the dog’s room. We had a wonderful chocolate lab at the time. His food, water and kennel were in the enclosed back porch so we called it Brownie’s room. It’s a very small porch with no big unbroken walls so I made the quilt with a hole in the middle for the window and serged simple café curtains for the window.

scrappy backs 013 1024x768 Scrappy BacksI had to get a lot of fabric from my stash for the back. I think the back is actually more fun than the front. I’d already fussy-cut the dog fabric for the front of the quilt so the fabric for the dog blocks on the back didn’t always have enough space left around the design. As a result, feet and hats and other parts are cut off. Notice that seams don’t always match and several rows are slightly crooked. That’s okay, it’s the back.

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Swirly-Gig

scrappy backs 010 1024x768 Scrappy BacksI love the back of this quilt. There was very little fabric left from the front so I used the ivory fabric. I think it has a very modern-quilt look to it. I free-motioned swirls and they show beautifully on the back. Do notice the 4th piece of fabric down on the left stripe. It is an embroidery sample and the colors were right, so why not?

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Gallimaufry

I had taken several years of Block of the Month classes using Thimbleberries fabrics by RJR when I was learning to quilt so I had tons of coordinating scraps. I just started sewing them together – big pieces, little pieces, left-over blocks, whatever. The way I did half-square triangles and flying geese at that time left me with lots of small triangles so you’ll see quite a few pinwheels and triangle strips. When I finally got all the pieces together for this back I thought it was so interesting that I couldn’t put it on the back of a quilt. I bought fabric. The back of this quilt is a typical back – two panels of matching fabric joined with a seam down the middle. Too funny, isn’t it?

On another note, if you are a fan of fusible applique or if you’ve been thinking about giving it a try, check out the latest episode on Quilters Newsletter TV: the Quilters’ Community for Patrick Lose’s favorite fusible applique technique.

I’d also encourage you to Like us on Facebook. It’s interesting to check and see what is going on in the quilting world. For example, do you know what color Pantone named as the color of the year for 2013? We shared the information with our Facebook friends on Friday, when Pantone released news of their selection.

Happy quilting!

About Lori Baker

Lori is the creative editor at Quilters Newsletter.
This entry was posted in Inspiration, Lori Baker, Staff Quilts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Scrappy Backs

  1. JoAnne T. says:

    Lori, I love how you make the backs for your quilts. It’s such a good way to use those special left over pieces. The like the back that’s off center, you should be saying that was a “design decision”!

  2. Lori says:

    Design decision. I’ll have to remember that. I like it!

  3. Linda Stokes says:

    I have always pieced my backs – and on some of quilts – people like the back more than the front! Oh well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I also like to have an interesting label on the back.
    Thanks for sharing your quilts.

  4. Cherry Schwartz says:

    I have just tried piecing backs. I had so much Christmas fabric left from two Christmas projects that I decided to piece the back of my rail fence lap quilt. It became a reversible lap quilt! I would post a pictures, but I don’t have it back from my quilter.

  5. Leslye Tomney says:

    Lori, I do have a question: Does it create quilting issues that the seams of pieced backs make added thickness? I am not a practiced machine quilter, and am nervous about giving myself difficulties where seams on the front & seams on the back could fall in the same place & make lumps & bumps.

  6. Lori Baker says:

    Leslye, that is a great question. The answer is sometimes the seam on the front and the seam on the back do wind up in the same place and I can hear it when I stitch over it. But I press the back and the front carefully before I assemble the quilt sandwich, paying special attention to the seams being flat and smooth. I’ve not had trouble as long as I do that. I always start with a new needle too. If you are taking your quilt to a long arm quilter, you’ll want to check before you make a pieced back. Some of them don’t like to work with pieced backs.

  7. Jan Hall says:

    I too piece backs all the time… on one quilt ( Blooming 9-patch) I did a pieced backing almost like another quilt, I used up all the extra blocks and fabric… I sent it to a good friend of our daughter’s, who had just bought a long arm..she quilted it but not with the backing I sent… she took it upon herself to use a King sized sheet….. because she says she couldn’t quilt it because it had “too many seams” then charged me for the sheet also… why she did’t call me before she did that I’ll never know…( she’s never done one for me again) so I took that back to the sewing group at church and they made a comforter out of the back, sold it at their charity auction for $250…

  8. Bev Getschel says:

    Lori, You are an inspiration! I am going to put your back to Yabba-Dabba-Do in my memory bank. Very clever. And the window in middle of quilt, great Design Opportunity. Thanks for the ideas.

  9. Pingback: Weekend Plus | Inside Quilters Newsletter

  10. Jamey Lotson says:

    you are awesome!

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