Master the Art of Quilt Backing: A Step-by-Step Guide to Calculating Yardage

Are you an avid quilter who often finds themselves struggling to calculate the perfect amount of fabric for your quilt backing? Or perhaps you are a beginner in the quilting world and are unsure of how to determine the yardage needed for your project. Look no further, as this article will guide you through the process of easily figuring yardage for quilt backing. Whether you are working with pre-cut fabrics or creating your own from yardage, this guide will provide useful tips and tricks to ensure you have exactly the right amount of fabric for a stunning finished quilt. Get ready to master the art of calculating yardage and take your quilting skills to the next level!

Finding the Right Quilt Backing Fabric

When it comes to quilting, many people focus on the design and colors of the quilt top. But what often gets overlooked is the importance of choosing the right quilt backing fabric. The backing fabric not only serves as a foundation for your quilt, but also plays a crucial role in determining its overall look and feel. Therefore, taking the time to find the perfect backing fabric is an essential step in creating a successful quilt.

When searching for quilt backing fabric, it’s important to consider its weight, texture, and color. The weight of the fabric should be similar to that of your quilt top to ensure balance and proper draping once the quilt is completed. Texture-wise, you want to choose a fabric that is soft but not too slippery, as this may cause issues during quilting. And lastly, the color should complement or contrast with your quilt top design depending on your desired aesthetic.

Another crucial factor in finding the right quilt backing fabric is choosing one that is wide enough for your project. Most quilts require a single piece of fabric for their backings, which typically come in 108-inch wide bolts. However, if you’re making a larger or king-sized quilt, you may need to use two or more pieces of fabric sewn together. In this case, it’s vital to select fabrics that have similar weights and textures to avoid any unevenness or bulging on your finished project.

It’s also worth mentioning thread count when shopping for backing fabrics. A higher thread count can indicate a tighter weave and ultimately result in a more durable fabric. This can be particularly beneficial if you plan on frequently washing your finished quilt.

Lastly, don’t feel limited by traditional quilting fabrics when it comes to choosing your backing material. While cotton is a popular choice due to its softness and easy handling during quilting, other options like flannel, denim, or even minkie can add unique textures and dimensions to your quilt. Just ensure that the fabric you choose meets the weight, texture, and color requirements mentioned earlier.

Calculating Yardage for Quilt Backing

Once you’ve found the perfect backing fabric for your quilt, the next step is to calculate the yardage needed. This can feel like a daunting task, but it’s actually a straightforward process if you follow a few simple steps.

Firstly, you’ll need to determine the size of your quilt top. Measure both the length and width of your quilt in inches and record these numbers. For example, let’s say your quilt top measures 60 inches by 72 inches.

Next, decide on how much overhang or “drop” you want for your backing fabric. The general rule of thumb is to add an extra 4-6 inches on all sides of your quilt top. This will give you enough fabric to work with during quilting and trimming while also accounting for any shrinkage that may occur during washing. For our example, we will use a 5-inch drop on each side.

Now that we have these numbers, we can start calculating the yardage needed. To find out how many linear yards of fabric are required for our backing, we take our width measurement (60 inches) and add twice our drop measurement (5″ on each side). This gives us a total width of 70 inches. We then divide this number by 36 (the number of inches in a yard). So for our example: 70/36 = approximately 1.94 or just under 2 yards of fabric are needed for the width.

To calculate the length needed, we do the same formula using our length measurement (72 inches) instead: (72+10)/36 = approximately 2 yards in length.

Therefore, in total we will need 2 yards of fabric for the width and 2 yards for the length, giving us a total of 4 yards of quilt backing fabric needed. Of course, this calculation may vary slightly depending on your desired drop measurement, so be sure to double-check your calculations before purchasing your fabric.

Preparing and Joining Backing Fabric

Once you have your yardage calculated, it’s time to prepare your backing fabric for sewing. If you need to use multiple pieces of fabric to create one continuous piece for your backing, you’ll need to join them together seamlessly.

Start by squaring off the edges of each piece of fabric using a ruler and rotary cutter. This will ensure that the edges are straight and even, making it easier to join them together. Next, lay the pieces on top of each other with right sides facing outwards and pin along one edge. Sew a straight stitch using a ½ inch seam allowance and press the seam open.

Repeat this process with any additional pieces until you have one continuous piece that matches or exceeds your calculated yardage needed. Be sure to trim any excess fabric if needed.

It’s also worth noting that some quilters like to pre-wash their backing fabric before joining them together and quilting. This

Determining the Required Yardage for Quilt Backing

Quilting is an art form that has been enjoyed for centuries. One of the most crucial elements of creating a quilt is the backing fabric. It not only serves as a protective layer for the quilt top but also adds to its overall appearance. However, determining the required yardage for quilt backing can be a daunting task, especially for beginners. But fear not, as in this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about calculating yardage for quilt backing. So let’s get started!

Understanding Quilt Backing Measurements

Before we dive into calculating yardage, it’s essential to understand the various measurements involved in quilt backing. The measurements typically used in quilting are inches and yards.

Basically, an inch is the smallest unit of measurement used in quilting and is equal to 1/36th of a yard. On the other hand, a yard is used to measure fabric length and is equal to 36 inches or 3 feet.

Another measurement that comes into play when calculating quilt backing is the standard size of a bed or blanket for which you are making the quilt. The variations in bed sizes can affect how much fabric you will need for your backing.

Calculating Yardage Based on Quilt Size

Now that you have a basic understanding of quilt backing measurements let’s look at how to calculate yardage based on your specific quilt size. As mentioned earlier, bed sizes can vary, but below are some common sizes and their corresponding yardages:

– Baby: 36″ x 48″ (1 yard)
– Twin: 68″ x 88″ (2 yards)
– Double/Full: 82″ x 88″ (2 yards)
– Queen: 92″ x 96″ (2.5 yards)
– King: 110″ x 96″ (3 yards)

To determine the total yardage needed for your quilt backing, add the length and width measurements, and then divide the total by 36 (the number of inches in a yard). For instance, if your quilt measures 68 inches by 88 inches, adding these two measurements gives you a total of 156 inches. Dividing this by 36 yields a result of 4.33 yards. In this case, you should round up to the nearest whole number, which would be five yards.

Calculating Yardage Based on Fabric Width

Another factor that comes into play when calculating yardage for quilt backing is the width of your fabric. The standard width for quilting fabric is usually around 44-45 inches. However, depending on the manufacturer or type of fabric, it can range from 40-60 inches.

Typically, quilts are made with three layers – quilt top, batting, and back. The batting will have the same dimensions as your quilt top since they will be sandwiched together. However, for quilt backing purposes, you will need to add an additional six inches to both the length and width measurements to account for any shrinkage or shifting while quilting.

Therefore, if your quilt measures 68 inches by 88 inches and you are using a standard width fabric of 44-45 inches, you will need to divide both measurements by the fabric’s width (in decimal form) and then add six inches to each.

For instance:

(68/45) + 6 = approximately 7.51
(88/45) +6 = approximately 8.84

Therefore, your total yardage would be eight yards because you will need extra fabric to match up patterns or account for any mistakes when sewing.

Accounting for Seams and Borders

When calculating yardage for quilt backing, it’s essential to factor in the seams and borders required for your specific design. If you plan to have a centered or symmetrical panel on your backing, you will need extra fabric to accommodate this.

Based on your quilt’s size, you can add two or three borders of varying widths to the fabric’s length and width. For instance, if you are making a queen-sized quilt with dimensions of 92 inches by 96 inches, you could add a 6-inch border around the entire quilt. In this case, adding six inches to both measurements would result in a yardage of around 6.57 yards.

Accounting for Pattern Repeat

Some fabrics have a pattern repeat that needs to be matched when sewing different pieces together. This is especially common in floral or striped fabrics. When calculating yardage for such fabrics, it’s crucial to take into account the pattern repeat.

To determine the repeat, measure from one point on the pattern to the same point on the next occurrence of that same pattern. This will give you an idea of how much extra fabric you will need for matching patterns.

Ordering Extra Fabric

It’s always advisable to order

Q: What is quilt backing yardage?
A: Quilt backing yardage refers to the amount of fabric needed to cover the back of a quilt. It should be slightly larger than the quilt top.

Q: How do I calculate the yardage needed for quilt backing?
A: Measure the length and width of your quilt top, add a few inches to each measurement for seam allowance, then use a quilting calculator or formula to determine the total yardage needed.

Q: Can I use one continuous piece of fabric for my quilt backing?
A: Yes, in most cases it is preferable to use one large piece of fabric for your quilt backing rather than piecing together multiple smaller pieces.

Q: Do I need to prewash my fabric before figuring yardage for quilt backing?
A: Yes, it is recommended to prewash your fabric before determining the required yardage for quilt backing. This will account for any shrinkage that may occur.

Q: Is there a formula or guide I can follow to figure out how much extra fabric I should add to my measurements for seam allowance?
A: The general rule is to add an extra 4-6 inches on all sides of your quilt top measurements. However, this can vary depending on personal preference and the size and complexity of your quilting design.

Q: Can I use a different fabric for my quilt backing?
A: Yes, you can use a different fabric for your quilt backing as long as it complements the colors and style of your quilt top. Just be sure to consider any pattern or directional prints when cutting and sewing your backing pieces together.

In conclusion, figuring yardage for quilt backing requires a combination of accurate measurements, basic math skills, and careful planning. It is important to account for seam allowances, pattern repeats, and any extra width or length needed to properly fit the quilt top. Additionally, considering the type of fabric and its width can also affect how much yardage is needed. Taking the time to properly calculate yardage can save time and money in the long run by avoiding any last-minute fabric shortages. It is also beneficial to have a consistent approach when calculating yardage, by using the same measurements and factors for future projects. With practice and attention to detail, anyone can successfully figure out the right amount of fabric needed for quilt backing. Remember to always allow for some extra fabric in case of unforeseen circumstances such as shrinkage or errors in cutting. Overall, mastering how to figure yardage for quilt backing is an essential skill for any quilter, making their projects more efficient and successful.

Author Profile

Jill Nammar
My name is Jill but everyone calls me Jilly. I design original cross stitch patterns inspired by vintage French and flowers. Roses are my muse.
I hope you have a cozy time stitching my patterns. Put the kettle on, relax and create a heartwarming piece of hand-embroidered art. Personalize your home and turn up the soulful charm with soulful stitchery.

My goal is to provide you with pretty patterns that promote peaceful stitching. My wish is for you to discover the gentle beauty of hand-embroidery.My patterns have been featured around the web and in Homespun Magazine and Boston Magazine. I find my bliss in cross stitch.

From 2024, I have embarked on a new venture—writing an informative blog on the “Embroidery and Cross-Stitch” niche. This blog is an extension of my passion, where I share detailed posts and respond to queries related to embroidery and cross-stitching.

The blog covers a wide range of topics from beginner tips, pattern creation, historical insights, and the therapeutic benefits of stitching. My goal is to build a community where enthusiasts can learn, share, and grow in their embroidery skills, ensuring everyone can find their own bliss in cross-stitch just as I did.

Thank you to all my customers and readers who have supported Sew French. Your kind emails, photos of completed patterns, and continual encouragement fuel my dedication to this beautiful craft. Join me in stitching a world of beauty and peace, one pattern at a time.