Sunday, December 21, 2008

Stashbusting and quilt backs

Making quilt backs is a great way to bust stash - as long as one doesn't care if the back of the quilt coordinates with the front, or if part of the back doesn't coordinate with the other parts. This method could of course be used with coordinating fabrics - but since my goal was to use old fabric that would most likely never find it's way into a quilt top - I went with totally random and uncoordinated. At the same time my goal was to clear out as much of a shelf in by fabric cabinet as I could. In the past I've used Bonnie's 10" square method with several quilts, but until I catch up that is just too slow for me. This way makes backs faster than you can imagine.

First I pulled out the entire stack of 'fabrics to be used for backs". Many of these had small - or large pieces (see the story of the 2" squares mentioned a few posts back) cut out of one or both ends. I straightened the ends, and stripped out the part I cut off. Then I trimmed off the selvage. Most pieces measured 21" from the fold to the edge after trimming. A few of the oldest fabrics were a bit wider, and some measured only 20". As I trimmed I stacked the pieces according to widths. Some were big pieces, and some were small - sometimes only 1/4 yard - once I straightened the edge. No matter - they all work for backs.

Once I trimmed a stack I started sewing them together along the crosswise cut. This doesn't look like much in the picture because these were pieces little more than 1/4 yard each.I sewed until all the fabrics of the same width were sewn together into a long piece of "new fabric". Then I cut the "new fabric" into the appropriate lengths needed for the quilt backs. I always put horizontal seams on my back now that I have a longarm - they roll better on the rails this way. For the two postage stamp quilts I needed 3 strips of 80" and 3 strips of 69". I cut the proper width strips, stitch them together and press the seams. The backs are quite a bit longer than needed when done this way - that's OK - I just trim off the excess after quilting and put the remainder back to become part of another quilt back in the near future. Some of the fabric combinations may look a little crazy - I don't care. These backs are for quilts that will be used up - everyday bed quilts for us or the kids and charity quilts - not for heirloom creations.

Once I made backs for the postage stamp quilts I stalled out - too many things needing done for Christmas. So the rest of the stack waits in the sewing room, where I'll prepare more "new" fabric after Christmas. When I finish the first of the two postage stamp quilts I'll post a picture of the back - that will help you visualize this better.


Kathie said...

I am going to start doing this too.
hope you saved those selvages !!!!
I saw some cute ideas for them this past week.

Sew Create It - Jane said...

Great stash busting idea...I been stash busting too only I've been making pillow cases...They are soo addictive! Everyone in the house will end up with a set of two by the end of the day :o)