Friday, 18 January 2019

Scrappy backing

I had a fair amount of leftovers in all shapes and sizes from my recent pastel baby quilt. Initially I was going to buy a backing fabric but had problems matching that particular pink and light green, so I decided to try my luck with a pieced backing.

I have always wanted to do this, but was not really sure how to go about it. Initially I tried to work out a really scrappy arrangement in the EQ8 program by using a custom layout and then filling it in with the pieces of fabric. Now that would have meant that I determine the sizes of leftovers for the layout and  then measure and cut all my pieces to the required sizes which I definitely did not want to do. I tried this before and had enormous difficulties working this out. You would not think that this is that hard, but it somehow was.

I remembered that I had a free Mini Class in my Craftsy library called Creative Quilt Backs with Elizabeth Hartmann, so started watching this as she had a section on scrappy quilt backings. You can find the link HERE.  Not entirely sure whether you now need to sign up with Bluprint to be able to watch this as I had this class in my library already so it has remained there in their change from Craftsy to Bluprint . Still trying to navigate this new Bluprint. So, anyway, watched this again and this time it really clicked.

Elizabeth Hartmann uses a design wall to lay out her pieces. For me it was the floor
These are all the bitses and pieces that I had to play with and really it was literally just shifting them around into an arrangement that looked somehow workable (tiled floor worked well).  In addition, I had to pay attention to the direction of my fabric so that the flowers were the right way around which limited me in the way I could place the pieces. After that I identified 'blocks' that went together and started to sew them together one by one, creating bigger 'blocks'.
In between I was looking at the arrangement and making sure that my pieces went beyond the imaginary edge of the quilt allowing for the customary overlap. I had determined that I would have an approximate 3in overlap on all sides. The above arrangement was not wide enough on top, so I found another strip and inserted it next to the yellow rectangle. There was no measuring, all I did was making sure that my pieces were cut straight on the side that I was joining to the next straight piece. In her Mini Class Elizabeth Hartmann showed how to insert pieces on an angle (also very cool), but I thought I better give that a miss for the time being. This does not really look difficult at all, but you do have to proceed fairly methodologically doing one section after the other and thinking through how this is all  going to fit together to give you the size that you need.
Discovered a 'hole' in my arrangement (centre bottom) due to having slightly changed my arrangement as I went along and had to unpick that section to add another piece. Started to look good though and it all made a bit more sense as I went along.
I also started to trim the sides which you would normally leave to the end, but I needed to square the piece off because in order to arrive at the length I wanted I needed to add another strip to  the bottom. Had I had different pieces of leftovers (mine were different sizes, however did not go beyond a Fat Quarter size) I possibly could have avoided this. Here is the finished measuring of individual pieces, no matching of seams, just simply putting a puzzle together.
This was actually a lot of fun to construct and play around with...would have been good if this was  more contrasting fabric for the photos because this pastel arrangement was difficult to photograph but this is what I needed a backing for. I think I might use this method again... you certainly use up a fair bit of leftover fabric in creating your own backing and it felt utterly satisfying to use up your leftovers.
Very happy with my efforts for the day.

Linking up to the weekly Oh Scrap! Linky Party over at Quilting is more fun than Housework...



  1. I love pieced backings. I end up using lots of scraps when I piece the back. I have that class. Thanks for reminding me!

  2. Your backing looks wonderful! I'll have to check out that class!

  3. Nice job on putting your first pieced quilt back together. Looks great!

  4. Great job on that pieced back. This is a great way to use up leftover fabrics. Thanks for sharing with Oh Scrap!


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