Master the Art of Quilting: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Sew Backing onto Your Quilt

Quilting is a timeless art that has been passed down through generations, creating beautiful and functional pieces that showcase intricate designs and patterns. And while the quilt top may often steal the spotlight, it’s the backing that provides support and durability to these treasured creations. If you’re new to quilting, you may be wondering how to sew backing on a quilt. Whether you’re embarking on your first quilting project or looking to improve your skills, this article will guide you through the process of adding the perfect finishing touch to your quilt. So, let’s thread our needles and dive into the world of sewing backing on a quilt.

Fabric and Backing Selection

When it comes to quilting, selecting the right fabric and backing is crucial for achieving a professional-looking finished product. The fabric used for the top layer of the quilt is typically decorative and can be chosen based on personal preference. However, when it comes to choosing a backing fabric, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind.

Firstly, the backing should be made from a sturdy and durable material that can withstand regular handling and washing. Cotton is often the preferred choice for backing fabric due to its strength and ability to hold up over time without losing shape or color. Additionally, cotton allows for easy quilting as it has a tighter weave compared to other fabrics.

It’s also important to consider the weight of the backing fabric. If your quilt top is made from heavier fabrics, such as denim or wool, a heavy-weight cotton backing may be appropriate. However, if your quilt top is made from lighter fabrics such as silk or lightweight cotton, a lighter-weight backing would be more suitable.

Another factor to keep in mind is the color and pattern of the backing fabric. It’s recommended to choose a neutral or solid colored fabric for your backing, so it doesn’t compete with the design of your quilt top. If you choose a printed or patterned fabric for the backing, make sure it complements the colors and patterns of your quilt top.

Preparing Your Backing Fabric

Before starting on any quilting project, it’s important to properly prep your backing fabric. This involves pre-washing and ironing the fabric to ensure that any shrinking or color bleeding occurs before sewing it onto your quilt.

Pre-washing is essential as it removes any excess dyes from the fabric that may run during washing in the future. It also helps with evening out any puckering or shrinking that may occur after washing. After pre-washing, make sure to iron the fabric to remove any wrinkles and create a smooth surface for sewing.

Next, you’ll need to trim your backing fabric to the proper size. It should be a few inches larger on all sides compared to your quilt top to allow for a seam allowance. This will prevent any potential shrinking during quilting and ensure your backing fabric fits perfectly.

Pin or Baste Your Fabric Together

Once your backing fabric is prepped and trimmed, it’s time to pin or baste it together with your quilt top. To baste, lay out your backing fabric on a flat surface and place the batting on top. Smooth out any wrinkles or folds in both fabrics before adding the quilt top on top of the batting.

Starting in the center of the quilt and working your way outwards, use safety pins or thread to secure all three layers together. Basting is an important step as it helps keep all layers in place while quilting and prevents shifting or bunching.

If you prefer not to use safety pins or thread, you can also use fusible adhesive to attach the layers together. However, this method may not be as secure as pinning or basting and can result in shifting during quilting.

Choosing Quilting Technique

There are various techniques for attaching the three layers of a quilt together – hand quilting, machine quilting, or tying. Hand quilting involves using a needle and thread to sew through all three layers in small, decorative stitches. This method requires more time and skill but results in a beautifully traditional look.

Machine quilting involves using a sewing machine with special attachments or settings to sew through all three layers at once. It’s quicker than hand quilting but requires some practice to maneuver around larger quilts.

Tying is a simple technique where yarn or embroidery thread is used at regular intervals throughout the quilt to secure all layers together. This method is often used for homemade or fluffier quilts and results in a more puffy, relaxed feel.

Quilting your Project

After choosing your quilting technique, it’s finally time to start quilting your project. If using a sewing machine, make sure to adjust the settings accordingly for the thickness of your quilt. It’s also helpful to practice on a scrap piece of fabric before moving onto your actual quilt.

For hand quilting, start in the center and work outward in small sections at a time. Be sure to keep all layers smooth and secure with each stitch.

As you quilt, check for any potential puckering or bunching and adjust as needed. Make sure to check each section as you go to ensure even stitches and consistent tension.

Finishing Touches

Once you’ve completed quilting your project, it’s time for the finishing touches. Trim any excess fabric or batting from the edges of your quilt, making sure to leave enough for a seam allowance.

Next, create binding strips from fabric that matches your backing or quilt top. The strips should be 2 ½ inches wide and long enough to fit around all edges of your quilt.

Sew the binding

Understanding the Importance of Adding Backing to a Quilt

Quilting is an intricate art that has been around for centuries. An essential part of the quilting process is adding backing to a quilt. While some may view it as an optional step, experienced quilters understand its significance in creating a durable and complete quilt.

Adding backing to a quilt serves several purposes. Firstly, it provides stability to the quilt top and batting, acting as a strong foundation to hold the layers together. This is especially important for larger quilts that will be used and washed frequently. The backing fabric prevents the batting from shifting and bunching up, resulting in an uneven quilt.

Moreover, backing also helps to protect the delicate stitching on the quilt top. Without backing, there is a high chance of the threads coming loose or getting tangled during use or washing. The backing fabric acts as a barrier, ensuring that your hard work on the quilt top remains intact for years to come.

Finally, adding backing allows you to add your personal touch and creativity to your quilt. You can choose from various fabrics and designs, depending on your preference and style of quilting. Not only does this enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of your quilt but also adds sentimental value to it.

Types of Backing Fabrics

Choosing the right fabric for backing is crucial in creating a high-quality quilt. Here are some common types of fabrics used for adding backing to quilts:

100% Cotton: This is one of the most popular choices among quilters as cotton is breathable, hypoallergenic, easy to work with, and readily available in various colors and designs.

Flannel: Flannel adds warmth and coziness to any quilt. They are perfect for winter quilts or used as backings for baby blankets.

Minky: Minky is a type of soft and plush fabric that makes for a luxurious backing option. However, it can be tricky to work with due to its stretchy nature.

No matter which fabric you choose, ensure that it is pre-washed and ironed before adding it as the backing on your quilt. This will prevent any shrinkage or possible damages after the quilt has been completed.

Preparing the Backing Fabric

Before sewing the backing onto your quilt, there are a few necessary steps to take to ensure a smooth and hassle-free process:

Washing and Ironing: As mentioned earlier, it is essential to pre-wash and iron your backing fabric before attaching it to the quilt. This will ensure that there is no shrinkage or damages after quilting.

Straightening the Grain: Most fabrics have a grain line that runs parallel to the selvage edge. It is crucial to make sure that this grain line remains straight while cutting and sewing the backing fabric. This helps in avoiding any puckering or stretching when quilting.

Cutting: Before cutting, make sure you have properly measured your quilt top’s size along with an additional allowance on all sides for squaring up and making seams. Cut away any selvage edges as they can shrink differently from the rest of the fabric.

Piecing: If your quilt is larger than conventional fabric widths, you will need to piece your backing using ¼ inch seams. Make sure to always press your seams open for a flatter finish.

Sewing Backing onto Quilt Top

Once you have prepared your backing fabric, it’s time to sew it onto your quilt top. Here are some tips for sewing perfect backings:

Determine Direction:The direction of quilting on your top will influence how you attach the backing. If you plan on quilting in a specific direction, place your backing fabric with its grain line parallel to the corresponding direction on the quilt top.

Secure the Edges: Starting with one corner, use safety pins or quilting clips to secure all four edges of your backing fabric to the front of your quilt top. This will prevent any shifting while sewing.

Sew Borders: Begin by sewing ¼ inch from the edges on all four sides, stitching through both backing and quilt layers. This creates a neat and tidy border for your quilt.

Basting: Proceed with basting or pinning larger quilts further into the center to ensure that all layers remain smooth and even.

Quilting and Finishing Touches

With your backing fabric firmly attached, you are now ready to quilt! Whether you prefer hand-quilting, machine-quilting, or using a longarm quilter, make sure to follow your desired method precisely to ensure a well-crafted quilt.

After quilting is complete, trim away any excess batting and backing from the edges. To finish off, fold over and sew down the raw edges of the backing towards the front of your quilt using a

1. How do I choose the right backing fabric for my quilt?
Choosing the backing fabric for your quilt depends on personal preference, but make sure to choose a fabric that is sturdy and complementary to your quilt top. Avoid using stretchy or thin fabrics.

2. Do I need to prewash the backing fabric before sewing it onto the quilt?
It is not necessary to prewash the backing fabric, but it is recommended to prevent any shrinkage or color bleeding after the quilt is completed.

3. What size should I cut my backing fabric?
To determine the size of your backing fabric, add an extra eight inches to both the length and width of your quilt top. This allows for three inches of overhang on each side and room for quilting.

4. How should I prepare my sewing machine for sewing on the backing fabric?
Start by changing your needle to a universal 80/12 or quilting needle, and make sure your thread tension is adjusted appropriately. Test stitch on a scrap piece of fabric before beginning on your actual quilt.

5. What stitching pattern should I use when sewing on the backing fabric?
It is best to use a straight stitch with a ¼ inch seam allowance when sewing on the backing fabric. This will provide a strong and clean edge.

6. How do I prevent puckering or wrinkles while sewing on the backing fabric?
To prevent puckering or wrinkles, always start in the center of your quilt and work towards the edges, smoothing out any wrinkles as you go. Make sure to also secure all layers with pins before beginning to sew.

In conclusion, sewing the backing onto a quilt is an essential step in completing a quilt project. To successfully sew the backing, one must first choose the right materials and properly prepare them. Use proper cutting techniques and ensure that the backing is slightly larger than the quilt top to avoid any puckering or misalignment. It is also crucial to accurately attach the backing to the quilt top before quilting, ensuring it is taut and does not shift during quilting. Additionally, using pins or basting spray can make this process more manageable. Once the backing is secure, carefully stitch along the edges, making sure to leave enough space for turning and hand-sewing the opening closed.

To successfully sew a quilt backing, patience and attention to detail are key. Every step of this process contributes to ensuring a polished and professional look for your quilt. While sewing can seem daunting at first, practice makes perfect, and with experience, you will surely become more confident in your abilities.

Apart from technical skills, this process also requires creativity and experimentation. Feel free to mix and match different fabrics for your backing or explore unique quilting designs to add an extra touch of personality to your masterpiece.

Moreover, sewing a quilt backing is not only a practical skill but can also be a therapeutic and relaxing activity

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.