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A Solution for “Just-Too-Narrow” Quilt Backing Fabric

Most quilters are frugal when it comes to backing their quilts. Of course, it’s important to use the same quality fabric as you used on the front. But it’s frustrating when your quilt is just a little wider than your backing fabric. That’s where creativity comes in.

You can always make your backing wider by adding a panel of contrasting or co-ordinating fabric or orphaned blocks.

This quilter added a panel of pieced fabrics left over from the front of the quilt.

Orphan blocks were the salvation here . . . and now the quilt is virtually two-sided. The quilter used nine left over blocks, then framed them in a coordinating fabric.

Another solution is to piece your backing with a diagonal seam.

Several years ago, quilter John Flynn introduced us to a method using a diagonal seam across the back to save on fabric. It works on quilts that need backing up to about 60″ wide.

This Diagonal Backing Worksheet illustrates how to make a diagonal backing and tells you how much fabric you need for you quilt. It works two ways.

  • First, it is a PDF form so you can download it and then fill in the first three boxes on your computer. Adobe Reader will automatically do the calculations and figure out how much fabric you need for backing.
  • Second, you can download and print the form. Just follow the instructions to determine the fabric requirements.


7 thoughts on “A Solution for “Just-Too-Narrow” Quilt Backing Fabric

  1. Thank you for this great worksheet! It makes it so easy to do a diagonal back.

  2. This is an interesting approach, but are you able to match the repeat of the fabric’s pattern with this method?

    1. It would be possible but you would need to determine the repeat on the pattern and purchase additional fabric as needed to match the repeat.

  3. How do I download this worksheet on a kindle fire?

    1. If you are able to save to your Cloud, you can download from there.

  4. What if you need a wider backing? In my case, I need a backing at least 86” but only have usable yardage 41” wide after trimming selvedges. Any idea what would happen if I seam two lengths of my yardage, then do a diagonal slice and seam, as if they were one piece of fabric? I can’t see why it wouldn’t work but hate to experiment on a customer quilt and $50 worth if fabric!

    1. I’m not sure we follow the process you are wanting to try. Would this leave bias edges around the outside? Bias edges along the outside should be avoided if at all possible. Feel free to call us toll free at the shop 1-866-759-7373 and we would be happy to talk you through it!

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