The Billboard Quilt-Along is open to anyone who wants to participate and has no set start or finish date. I’ve compiled a list of posts here.
Since most fabric is 44” or less in width, making a quilt back like this, where strips of scraps are placed between larger panels of fabric, is a great way to hide what might otherwise be unsightly seams.
You can make your quilt back as simple or elaborate as you like. I’ll just suggest again that you stick with medium weight quilting cotton, as it will be most compatible with the letter appliqués on the front of the quilt.
Now that you know the size of your quilt top, use that number to calculate the size of your batting and your quilt back. Just like a commercial break on Love Connection, the thing to remember is “2 and 2.” If you follow the formula below, you’ll be able to line up the layers of your quilt sandwich perfectly, simply by making sure that there is 2” of batting and 2” of backing showing on each of the four sides of the quilt top.
1. Start with the size of your finished quilt top. Mine is 79” x 90”.
2. Add 4” (2” + 2”) to the height and width to determine how big your batting should be. Mine will be 83” x 94”. (79” + 4” = 83” and 90” + 4” = 94”.)
3. Add 4” to the height and width of your batting size to determine how big your quilt back should be. Mine will be 87” x 98” (83” + 4” = 87” and 94” + 4” = 98”)
Make a rough sketch or two to determine how you want your quilt back to look. Once you know what you want to do, use a dotted line to draw the shape of your quilt top to scale on a sheet of graph paper.
Use a solid line to add 4” to each side of your sketch. The solid line represents the true exterior dimensions of your quilt back. The dotted line represents what your quilt back will look like once the extra fabric has been trimmed away.
Adjust your sketch so that all of the seams continue across the entire quilt back. Once you’ve determined the final layout, mark the finished (no seam allowances) size of all of the pieces, including the finished dimensions of your quilt back. Do not include the dotted line in any of your calculations. It’s only there so you can see what the finished quilt back will look like.
Make a list of every piece you’ll need to make your quilt back, adding a quarter inch seam allowance to each piece. As you did for your quilt top, determine how much fabric you’ll need to cut each of these pieces.
My list looked like this:
- 5 Scrap-Pieced Strips (1 each citrine, olive, teal, orange, and dark orange), each 2.5” x 98.5”
- 4 Sashing Strips, each 1.5” x 98.5”
- Left Panel, 44” x 79.5”
- Right Panel, 29 x 98.5”
Here’s how I decided to cut my background fabric:
- My background fabric is 44” wide, so the left panel was simply a 98.5” piece of the background fabric.
- The right panel and the sashing strips are all 98.5” long. I added their widths together (29” + 1.5” + 1.5” + 1.5” + 1.5” = 35”) and determined that, since the total was less than the 44” width of the fabric, I could cut all of the pieces from 98.5” of fabric.
Knowing that I needed 2 lengths of fabric 98.5” long (197” total) I determined that I would need at least 5.47 yards of fabric (197”/36 = 5.47). I rounded up to 5.75 yards to be safe.
- Make a scale drawing of your quilt back
- Make a list of the fabric pieces you’ll need
- Make a plan for cutting the fabric pieces
- Calculate how much batting you’ll need*
Tuesday, August 16 – Making Letter Templates
*For more information on buying batting in the size you need, please refer to Page 12 of The Practical Guide to Patchwork.