The quilt backing is the fabric that goes on the back of the quilt – easy! This can be one large piece of fabric or it can be made from several different fabrics. It’s up to the quilter to decide what goes here. This big decision is often based on what the quilt will be used for, how much time (and money) the quilter wants to spend piecing the back, and (in my case) whatfabric is available at 3 o’clock in the morning! Most of the time a quilter will use 100% cotton for the back of their quilt. Some people prefer to use flannel for warmth and comfort.
The backing needs to be larger than the top of the quilt. This allows for the extra fabric that is ‘eaten-up’ once you start quilting. I usually add at least 4 to 5 inches to each side on a lap size quilt. Of course, the more dense the quilting, the more extra fabric is needed around the four sides. The same is true for a larger quilt; the bigger the quilt, the more extra fabric is needed around the four sides.
For example, if I was quilting a king size quilt in a 1/2 inch cross hatch I would need to add at least 6 inches to each side of the backing. If I was tying the quilt (not much quilting) then I could probably get away with adding only one inch to each side of the backing.
Today, many quilters are hiring professionals to quilt their pieces. Make sure you ask for their fabric specifications before you send out the quilt. Often they will only quilt on 100% cotton and they require 6 to 10 inches extra on each side for the backing. (They must have this extra fabric to attach to the machine’s quilting frame.)
In the quilt below, I used one fabric for the back, the quilt backing. (Later I added the red and yellow cowboy “label”.)