All About 108″ Wide Backing Fabric for Quilts

Hello friends!

I’m very excited today to talk to you about 108″ wide backing fabrics.  Quilters in the traditional world have known about these extra wide fabrics for a while now but companies are just now getting on board making wide fabrics for the modern quilter.  What this means for you, the modern quilter:  no more piecing backs.  Unless you want to of course.  My good friend Katy has been pestering companies for the last few years about printing wide goods with more modern appeal.  And she has succeeded!  Big thanks go out to Katy for all her hard work in this area.  

Let’s talk about a few rumors for a moment shall we?  I have seen in books, heard people talking about, and seen online that one of the things that make quilters modern is having a pieced back on the quilt.  When I asked about printing modern 108″ wide fabric to a few companies they have even mentioned that modern quilters like to piece backs.  I think this is really out of necessity rather than modern quilters “liking” to piece a back!  There were NO fabrics out there in wide goods that modern quilters WANTED to use to back a quilt!  Hello?  What else can you do then?  Piece one!  Duh.  I’m not going to spend a lot of time and fabric on a beautiful quilt top and then slap on a Civil War repro to back it.  It won’t match for one and it’s really just not my style.  And I want the work I create to reflect myself and my personal style.  There are times, like on a beautiful scrappy quilt top, when I think a pieced back makes a lot of sense and that is the direction I would go.  But what about the times where I want a cleaner look?  I want just a simple plain back sometimes.  AND sometimes, I really don’t want to spend all the time piecing a back.  Not only that but I don’t want to use up my stash on a backing.   There are times when I just want to have something with no seams for the look I’m going for.  

In one conversation I had with one of my fabric reps about printing wide goods he said to me that quilt store owners won’t buy 108″ wide fabrics because they are too expensive and they believe their customers won’t buy them.  SO, the companies think that they shouldn’t print them because the shop owners won’t buy them.  They believe that quilter’s just buy up sale fabric in yardage for quilt backs and piece backs.  SURE, of course that happens.  I do it!  But again, there wasn’t anything at all I wanted to buy in wide fabric to back my quilt in.  Let’s dispel this rumor right now.  108″ fabrics ARE NOT EXPENSIVE.  Let’s do some math!  

Brenda (that’s me!) has a queen size quilt top that is 81″ x 88″ big.  If I were to piece (let’s just say sew some fabrics together, with no fancy design or blocks on the back) a back using 44″ wide fabric I will need 5 yards of fabric. Let’s say I find this fabric on sale for $7/yard.  I will pay $35 for the fabric and I will have to take two 2.5 yard cuts and sew them together long ways.  Not too bad, good thing I found some sale fabric. If I were to instead choose a 108″ wide backing I will need 2.5 yards for the back. The Robert Kaufman Spot On Wide fabric is $15/yard right now at Pink Castle Fabrics.  So this would cost me $37.50 and I wouldn’t have to sew anything together!   See!  Yes, the price per yard is more.  But the price/square footage is less.  Make sense?

Let’s review the reasons why we like 108″ wide backing fabrics before we move on.

  1. Saves time – not piecing a back can save you hours of time
  2. Saves money – yardage of 108″ wide costs less per square foot
  3. Cleaner look – no seams on the back of your quilt

Now you are thinking, “Okay, then how much 108″ wide fabric do I need to back my quilt?”  No problemo.  I put together (by “I” I mean, Jason made them for me) a series of graphics showing you how much yardage you will need for standard size quilts and a cutting guide for each.  I included 4″ around each side for overage and this is the typical size over that a longarmer will ask you to make the backing.  

* For baby/crib quilts you can actually get 2 backings with 1.5 yards of 108″ wide fabric.

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For the lap size (60″ x 75″) there are 2 ways that make sense based on the 108″ wide fabric.  The first you need 2 yards of 108″ wide fabric.  You will have a 25″ strip left over which is enough to back 2-4 throw pillows.

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If you orient your fabric the other way and buy 2.5 yards of backing fabric, you will have a 40″ wide strip on the side extra and it’s big enough to get 1-2 baby size quilt backs out of!  

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The king size will be a little tight and you may want to add fabric in the middle to make it bigger and buy an extra half yard for length.  But if your king size is smaller than mine it might work out just right. 

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We will be searching for modern 108″ wide fabrics and updating the collection as we find them.  Click the logo below to go to our wide backing section of the shop.  

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The best thing we can do to encourage fabric manufacturing companies to continue to make more modern 108″ backing fabrics is to buy them!  Ask your local quilt shop to stock 108″ fabrics you like  and ask tell the manufacturers what type of fabrics you would like to see in 108″ wide fabrics.  

I’m interested to know what you think?  Do you like piecing your own backs?  Are you excited about the 108″ wide fabrics that are coming out?  What would YOU like to see printed on wide fabric?  

 

~Brenda

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23 Responses to All About 108″ Wide Backing Fabric for Quilts

  1. Angelina says:

    Yeah! This is exciting! I’ve wanted more variety in extra wide fabrics for yonks now. Once I finish a quilt top, I really don’t want to spend time piecing a back, and I don’t want to use up my precious stash! I’d love to see great basics, like stripes, checks, dots, cross hatch, plaids, etc, in a rainbow of colors with white patterns. Just nice, simple, basic coordinates that will go with almost any collection. I thought about trying to manufacture and sell them myself, but digital printing is still so expensive, and hand printing and dying extra wide solids is too labor intensive.

    I’m excited to see what else is coming down the line!

  2. Kelly G says:

    I love 108″ wide fabric!! I enjoy the look of a pieced back, but frankly I usually do it out of neccessity rather than an asthetic choice. I say the more 108″ options the better.

  3. Sara says:

    i’d like to see the riley blake chevrons in extra wide and crosshatch fabrics like sketch, heath, etc. and extra wide flannel would be awesome. i’m always afraid to buy flannel online b/c i can’t tell if it’s good quality or not.

  4. Lisa Mather says:

    I love this! The graphics were very helpful as were the price comparison! I think I’d like to see some neutral colors such as browns for louder quilts that need a quieter color to tie them together.

  5. How about just a nice wide variety of solids? That way we could make matching sheets too!

  6. Sequana says:

    I was so surprised and happy to see these new wide fabrics. It just takes forever to work out the piecing using a variety of different fabrics right when you want to get ON with the actual quilting.

  7. andsewyousay says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Most of the backing fabrics I see are pretty boring and I don’t want to put all the time and effort into creating a top only to have the quilt ruined by a boring backing. The more variety available, the better.
    I would also be interested in using wider fabrics when I am making strip quilts – it would be much quicker to make larger strip quilts if wider fabric was available.
    Thanks for supporting the cause!

  8. KimKimberlee says:

    I love the new circles and need to get some. I think it would be great if they were offered in the inverse… white background with the colored circles.

  9. Veronica says:

    Hi Brenda, I’m a quilter as well as a fabric rep and an advocate for wide backings! I did a presentation for my local machine quilters group, talked about the benefits and crunched the numbers. Check my blog post at http://www.fiberanticsbyveronica.com/2012/10/the-beauty-of-wide-backings.html. Would love to hear other ideas, suggestions, (whatever!) on what quilters want to see for wides… email me or post on my blog, too. Blank Quilting wants to know! And we listen. Thanks for the great post!

  10. kate says:

    So excited you have these in stock! I just ordered a few yards of the tangerine:)

  11. Tracee says:

    Hi! I am new to fabrics… Can I use the 108″ backing by itself as an easy throw on my futon? Or is it super thin? Thanks : )

  12. Chellylaw says:

    Thank you for the info on the wide backs; and the graphics with measurements. Happy Quilting

  13. Pingback: Wide backings for quilts are the way to go! | Cowtown Quilts

  14. Linda says:

    I like to buy 108″ fabric for my large quilts. You can find solids at Hancock’s and solids and some patterned fabrics at Joann’s. I did buy 108″ fabric at Joann’s and after I quilted most of the quilt, I had to add on to the backing because the fabric wasn’t as wide as it was supposed to be. It only measured 100″. I did tell the sales people in the fabric department about the fabric only being 102″ and they still had the same fabric on the shelf selling it at 108″. I don’t believe it shrank 8 inches.

  15. pam biswas says:

    I would love to see the rignt angle block panel of Angela Walters in a 108 width fabric. Love that.

  16. Chris says:

    I have been searching for a long time for more modern 108″ backing fabrics. It’s not easy to find them sometimes! Especially ones that I like. I HATE piecing backs. I would love it if manufacturers would do more in this area!

  17. Lucia says:

    I just saw your blog post about the wide backings. I love seeing some more variety in the wide backs! Do you know when you’ll be getting some of these back in stock?

  18. I would LOVE some wide modern fabric|!! It is a pain to piece a back for a very large quilt. I like the clean look. And I would love some extra wide Kona solids.
    Thanks for this article! very thorough!

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