Save Money on Your Quilt Backs–Out-of-the-Box Thinking

quiltback5I’m all for saving money…especially when it comes to buying fabric for quilt backs.  So when I read about the new way to piece a quilt backing, I just had to try it out.

This “Granny Square” baby quilt measured 42″ by 52″, and I need an additional 4″ width & 8″ added to the length–so I knew I couldn’t get by with one cut of 42″ wide fabric for my backing.  I would either have to buy twice as much, piece it with other fabrics, ….or try this new technique.

Normally, after adding 8″ to the length (60″ total), I would have bought twice as much (60″+60″=120″ or 3-1/3 yards), cut it in half, piece to two halves side-by-side … you get the picture.

But with this new technique, I only needed a little over 2 yards of fabric!  With fabric reaching $11-12 per yard, that’s quite a chunk of change back in my pocket.

I knew my quilt backing needed to be at least 42+4 = 46″ wide by 52+8 = 60″ long.  Since 2 yards is only 42 wide by 72 inches long, how would it ever be wide enough?

You’ll be amazed at the genius who thought this up! (It certainly wasn’t me!)  🙂

Lay out the backing and cut a straight line from one corner to the opposite corner.  It helps to use a couple of yard sticks end to end & a pencil to mark before cutting. (Sorry about the wrinkles–I’m going to give it a good pressing later… I promise.)









Then simply SLIDE the two triangles in opposite directions lengthwise until they’re as wide as you need!  …this reminds me of a carpenter using two wedges when shimming a door or cabinet.









When your tape measure shows the width you need (mine was perfect at about 46″), measure the length to be sure there’s enough (I had a little over my needed 60″).  Then pin carefully (just like two giant triangles, the seam is on the bias so be careful.









And viola!  You have just pieced with one seam a backing large enough for your quilt top!









Just “chop off” the extending “dog ears” and you’re ready to make your quilt sandwich or load it onto your frame!









For more information, see the website at Multi-Patch Incorporated  They include a calculator.  You can “plug in” the size backing  you need, and it will tell you how many yards you’ll need to buy.

Note that there are some limitations.  You can only make a backing up to 150% of the fabric’s original width.  So if the backing fabric is only 42″ wide, you can only make it stretch to 63″ wide.   But I think it’s great for baby or lap-size quilts.

John Flynn (of Flynn Quilt Frame Company) created the formula for figuring out the yardage used in this calculator.  Leave it to an engineer turned quilter!!  🙂  Thank you John!  And thank you Multi-Patch Incorporated!


Happy Quilting!


Mulberry Patch Quilts




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