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Backing mistakes and what to do about it!

Posted: 20 November 2015 at 6 a.m.

How to fix backing problems

Your backing constitutes half of your quilt.  We often spend countless hours on the quilt top.  It’s important to not lose steam and skimp on the quilt back.  Here are a few common troubles when it comes to backing and how to remedy them.

Too-small backing

Add to the top/bottom or sides to make up for the smallness.  Sometimes you can add evenly around (think borders on your backing).  If your backing is the exact same size as your top, sometimes you can temporarily add  4” strips around the border.  The danger in this is possibly adding an extra seam on your edge.

Not cut straight

If you tragically find your backing has been unevenly cut, center your backing on your quilt, cut the uneven edge(s) and add extra backing fabric to one or both sides.


When you sew the seam down the center of your back, trim of the selvage.  The selvage has no give so it’s important to trim the extra prior to quilting.  The center seam is the widest on your quilt.  Be sure to iron the ½” seam open.


It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking “I’m making a twin size quilt; I will use a twin size sheet for the backing”.  Sheets are typically made from mixed fibers.  Usually, sheets have a looser weave than the high-quality fabrics that you used on your quilt top.  The looser weave can allow batting to poke through the quilted stitches (the dreaded bearding!).

Have you had backing troubles while quilting?  Let us know what they were and what you did about it in the comments below!

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  • 1. Becky (15 October 2016 at 10:34 p.m.)

    I have problems preventing wrinkles (hills) on the backing. I use Harriet Hargraves' method for basting - stretch the backing on my table and clamp to the edges where possible and tape otherwise. BUT - I still get wrinkles :)

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