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.
- Saves time – not piecing a back can save you hours of time
- Saves money – yardage of 108″ wide costs less per square foot
- 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?