New Meditation on Quilt Backs

Corner Store back
Corner Store back

The top photo is a photo of the back for the Corner Store. The Japanese Chrysanthemum print that makes up the majority of the back is by, of course, Phillip Jacobs. I bought that fabric for a Multi-tasker tote I planned to use for the Autumn, but never got around to making and it seemed appropriate to use it for the back.

Today was back day.

I decided that before I could piece more tops I needed to make two backs and a binding. I was able to finish the two backs, but need some input before moving on the binding. Making backs is something I don’t enjoy that much, but feel it is necessary to finish quilts and part of that process is making the back.

I feel strongly about backs:

  1. Pieced backs are good. I prefer to use the fabric I have and not buy special backing fabric.
  2. I label my backs. Nobody may care in 100 years, but if they do care, the information will be there. Also, if a quilt is stolen and, subsequently, found, the finder will know where to send the quilt.
  3. Make the back look cohesive with itself, and moderately related to the front.

I used to never care about piecing backs and would spend all day piecing a back, but today that part of the process got on my nerves. I would have loved for someone to hand me the perfect back so I would not have to make backs today. What I did to alleviate this was to find some large pieces and use those for most of the backs. Larger pieces of fabric meant less piecing. The piecing on the backs is not symmetrical, but the backs are made.

I think what is happening is that I am far enough along is most of the projects on my 26 Projects list that I am getting to the backing and binding stage faster than I would otherwise. Thus, I am making many more backs than I normally would. I also think I am sewing faster than I have in the past. Rote sewing? Somewhat.

I say all this like it is bad and it isn’t. I just think I have a rhythm for sewing and my rhythm is off. I think I need to consider that rhythm and get back into it. I need to take more time with my projects so I don’t get to the backs so fast. Until the 26 Projects list meets my comfort level, though, I think I might have to contend with this challenge, this sewing frenzy. It is, however, a consideration.

Back for Super Secret Project #2
Back for Super Secret Project #2

The last photo is a back for the Super Secret Project (#2). TFQ made the top for me and I was stuck with the back. I didn’t have any of the same fabrics she used, so I did the best I could.

One of my big concerns about backs is the well designed modern backs that many of the ‘modern’ quilters are making. Seeing them make me feel like a slacker. Granted, many of them do not include labels, but they are making backs that are almost separate quilt tops themselves and those backs look good.

These two pieces will go off to the quilter next time I head over there.

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

4 thoughts on “New Meditation on Quilt Backs”

  1. As a hand quilter, I avoid pieced backs whenever possible! I don’t need to try to quilt through those extra seams! This has carried over to any quilts that I plan to machine quilt or have a longarmer do. You never know when I might change my mind and decide to hand quilt a piece! I am grateful for the growing number and types of extra wide backing, including muslins.

  2. You’re pieced backings actually inspired me to make a pieced backing for a quilt I am almost ready to quilt together. I am pin-basting it today. I too have seen some backs that were just as good as the fronts. Reversible quilts perhaps? Unless you are shooting for quilt show quality where fussybugety backing would help win a ribbon, I wouldn’t worry too much about your backs. Just my humble opinionated opinion. πŸ™‚

  3. My main thing about quilt backs is to use the fabric I have. I have a lot of fabric and, while Gretchen’s point is well taken, I just can’t spend extra money on fabric for the backs. I have hand quilted tops, too, so fewer seams is definitely better. I don’t know if I will hand quilt a quilt in the future; I usually have too much other hand work going, but will think about it.

  4. In the seven (maybe eight?) quilts I’ve made since I began quilting, I’ve done a mix of a whole cloth and pieced on the back but I’ve never spent the time making the back look just as well designed as the front. When I’ve done a pieced back it was with scraps left over from the front as I like that look. It’s kind of like the remainder of the milkshake in the blender after you’ve poured as much of the milkshake into the glass…the remainder is that added little bonus that feels special.
    As for the Chrysanthemum print – it looks great as a back but would also have looked great as a Multi-tasker tote. πŸ™‚

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