Wide Backs 101 - Many Uses for Wide Quilt Backing Fabric

Wide Backs 101 - Many Uses for Wide Quilt Backing

I’m excited about wide quilt backing! I think many quilters tend to overlook these wider fabrics unless they are making a queen or king size quilt. Of course, they are phenomenal to use as backing for larger quilts because you don’t have to cut and piece fabric together to get a large enough backing piece for the quilt. There are many other (often overlooked) uses for this wide fabric however, so let’s discuss wide back basics and common and not so common uses for these wider fabrics.

Wide Back Basics

Wide quilt backing comes in several different widths. The most common being 108” and 118” wide. There are some fabrics that are 60” and 90” wide, so be sure to check the description carefully when purchasing wide fabrics. There are many different prints and solids available, from many different manufacturers. In recent years, there has been an increase of wide backing fabric in the marketplace. It’s much more common than it used to be.

Wide Backs are Economical

At first glance, wide backing seems expensive. But they’re actually very economical. When you compare the average price of a yard of 44” wide fabric to the average price of a yard of 108” backing, breaking the price down to square inches, it looks like this:

1 yard of 44” fabric = 1584 square inches. At an average price of $12.50 per yard, this breaks down to .07 cents per square inch.

1 yard of 108” fabric = 3888 square inches. At an average price of $19.00 per yard, this breaks down to .04 cents per square inch.

Yard for yard and dollar for dollar, wide backing just makes good economic sense!

Measuring and Cutting

Wide backing comes on a longer bolt than regular (44” wide) quilting fabrics. The fabric is folded over so there are 4 layers of fabric to cut through, rather than just two. The layers are rarely folded across the bolt evenly, so care must be taken when cutting the fabric to ensure you get an accurate cut. One way to remedy this is to cut some extra length, so there will be enough fabric to square up the backing piece. Another option is to tear the fabric down the grain line. Tearing is also a good way to square up your wide backing if needed. To tear, cut a couple of inches into the fabric with scissors or a rotary cutter. Then grip both sides and gently pull the fabric apart, allowing it to tear as it goes. While tearing will create a straight line through the grain of the fabric, it can also distort and stretch the edge of the fabric. To remedy this, it’s a good idea to order a little more fabric than needed so you will have room to square up, tear and trim as needed.

Use as a Quilt Backing

Of course, the most common use for wide quilt backing is for backing on a quilt! Using wide backing fabric eliminates the need to cut and piece fabric to create a backing wide enough for a large quilt. With no seams, the quilt backing lays nice and flat. For this reason, longarmers love wide quilt backing!

Use as Chair Covers

Wide Back Fabrics as Chair CoversWide backing fabric can be used to make a simple chair cover. Using tiebacks at the back seat corners, you can fashion chair covers from a wide array of available wide backing fabrics. A Google search will bring up many free videos and tutorials for reference.

Use for Curtains

Wide Back Fabrics use to Make CurtainsWide backing fabrics are a fantastic way to make quick curtains! By folding over the top edge twice to make a casing for the curtain rod to go through, then hemming the bottoms and sides, you have custom curtains ready to hang in just one afternoon.

Use for Tablecloths

Wide Quilt Backing for Tablecloths

With no seams needed, wide backing fabrics make excellent tablecloths! You can cut one piece the right size for your table, hem the bottom edge and your done! Match a tablecloth to your dining chair covers for an elegant look.

Use as Duvet Covers

Wide Quilt Backing for Duvet CoversBy using two large pieces of wide backing, you can make a duvet cover. Just add fabric ties or Velcro pieces along one end to enclose the center bedding piece and you’re good to go! You can make matching curtains to go with your duvet cover to create a beautiful bedroom!

Use for a Whole Cloth Quilt

Wide Quilt Backing for Wholecloth QuiltTo create an elegant whole cloth quilt, use two identical or two different pieces of wide backing fabric for the top and bottom of a quilt sandwich (batting in the middle), quilt and bind! Quilting designs really pop on a whole cloth quilt, so use the opportunity to get really creative with your quilting!

Use for Quilt Binding

Yes! You can use wide quilt backing for quilt binding! Rather than having eight or nine smaller strips of fabric sewn together for your quilt binding, how about needing just two? No need to worry about getting bulky corners when a seam falls on the quilt corner (I hate when that happens!). Purchasing just ¼ yard of wide quilt backing is a really economical way of binding a large quilt.

In Summary

As you can see, there are many uses for wide quilt backing fabrics. Let your imagination run wild as you contemplate new ideas for your home décor projects. How about matching curtains and a bedspread in your bedroom? A matching tablecloth and chair covers for your dining room? Matching curtains and throw pillows for your living room? Any fabric left over can be added to your scrap bin for your next quilt piecing project…win/win!

I hope I have given you some ideas for how to use wide quilt backing fabrics. To see our selection of these versatile fabrics click here.

Until next time, happy sewing!

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1 comment

Great information Solomae…thanks for sharing!


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