10 Creative and Simple Pieced Quilt Backing Ideas

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After spending hours planning, cutting, piecing, and pressing your quilt top, your backing may be somewhat of a last-minute thought. Quilt backing doesn’t have to just be one piece of solid extra wide fabric! It can be pieced together to create a design that rivals the beauty of your quilt top. And it doesn’t have to be complicated!

Check out these 10 simple yet creative quilt back designs to get inspiration on how to design and piece together your quilt backing.

9 different quilt backing designs

How do I make a simple quilt backing?

Looking for a straightforward and basic quilt backing design? Check out my in-depth blog post that will teach you step-by-step how to piece together quilt backing. If you’re looking for something a bit more unique, keep on reading!

Is it okay to piece together the back of a quilt?

Piecing the back of a quilt is a fantastic option and many quilter’s ideal choice. Although extra wide backing exists, it can be expensive. A more cost-effective (and more creative!) way to make a quilt back is to piece together fabric you already have on hand. You can easily use up leftover scraps from the front of your quilt or use extra yardage and precuts from your fabric stash.

How much seam allowance should you use for pieced quilt backing?

For a simple pieced quilt backing that uses less than 3-4 pieces of fabric, I suggest using a ½” seam allowance for your backing seams.

This is a bit bigger than the typical ¼” seam allowance used in quilting. The increased seam allowance will give your quilt extra stability and help the few seams stay strong.

As you add more and more seams to your back, it will naturally become more stable and you can use the standard ¼” seam allowance.

How much bigger should the back of a quilt be?

Quilt backing should be a total of 6”- 8” larger than the finished size of your quilt top. The larger size allows for your quilt top to shift a bit during the quilting process.

If you plan to get your quilt longarmed, check with your longarm quilter to see how much excess fabric they prefer for your quilt back. An 8” overage is an industry standard, although some longarm quilters are okay with a smaller overage.

Check out my handy graphic that will show you an estimate of how large your quilt backing should be depending on the size of your quilt.

Are you planning to send your quilt to a longarm quilter?

Keep in mind that each longarm quilter has their own preferences for backing fabric.

Everything from the materials you use, to how many seams there are, to the direction of the seams can affect the final quilt. Excess seams can create bulk and cause puckering (during machine quilting, too!) 

Also, keep in mind that your quilt top and back will shift as it is quilted. If you have a pieced quilt back design that you want to be centered on the back of your quilt, that can be hard to achieve. Because of this, I typically like my focal point on the back of the quilt to be off-center.

Always double-check with your longarm quilter before sending them an intricately pieced quilt back! Communication is key and will allow you both to have the best end result possible!

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into some creative quilt backing ideas!

1. Patchwork Quilt Backing

By using a patchwork design for your quilt backing, you can make a reversible quilt! Patchwork is a great option if you have a lot of extra fabric to use up, especially precuts. This quilt backing design is a nice way to use up extra charm squares and layer cake squares.

Make a patchwork quilt backing by cutting your fabric into the same size squares, and sewing them together in a gridlike pattern.

If you’re using precuts, use that measurement as your default size and cut up any extra yardage to match the precuts. For example, if you have half of a charm pack left over, cut up any yardage you’re using into 5” squares.

You can create the entire back in a patchwork design, or break it up by using the patchwork design for only ¼ or ⅓ of the quilt back.

There are many ways to play around with this pattern and it can make the back of your quilt almost as exciting as the front!

2. Use Extra Quilt Blocks

A fun way to tie together the front and back of your quilt is to use extra blocks in the backing. All you need to do is make an extra quilt block (or 5!) and sew it into your backing fabric. Use up your extra fabric easily with this quilt back design.

To assemble this type of back, you’ll divide the back into 3 sections: two large pieces of fabric and one strip of fabric that includes your quilt blocks. After the pieced strip is assembled, you’ll sew all three pieces together. See how quickly it comes together when you break it down? Easy peasy!

3. Accent Strip Quilt Backing

An accent strip is a simple quilt backing idea that doesn’t take much effort at all. This strip can be made up of big or small scrap fabric and designed any way you like. I think this works perfectly for using up leftover fabric squares, especially if you have a partial jelly roll or charm pack hanging around.

To make this quilt back design, first assemble your accent strip. Sew the pieces together until you reach your desired quilt backing length or width. Then sew two large pieces of background fabric to either side of the strip.

I try to avoid making this strip exactly center because the fabric shifts and moves as the quilt is quilted. You’ll typically get a better result if the accent strip is off-center.

4. Color Block Quilt Backing

This design will make the back of your quilt pop by drawing your eye to one highlight fabric.

For this design, I suggest dividing your quilt back into at least 3 different sections. You can divide the colors for each section how you like, but I think having one contrasting fabric looks great and really will make the color block pop.

5. Crossed Lines Quilt Backing

Have you ever run into the problem of not having enough yardage to back your quilt? Let’s face it, having an extra 4 or 5 yards of fabric to back a large quilt isn’t always possible.

This cross design is an easy way to use up extra fabric from your stash. While the design may look a bit complicated, it really is simple when we break it down into sections.

To create a cross design, you’ll divide the back into 3 different sections. In the top section, you’ll piece together two large pieces of fabric along with your highlight fabric that you chose for the cross.

Next, you’ll piece together the horizontal part of the cross.

And lastly, you’ll piece together the two largest background fabric sections with your highlight fabric.

Sew each of these big sections together and you’ll have your final quilt back design!

6. Featured Quilt Block Backing

Incorporating one quilt block in your backing is a great way to show off a special block. Choose your favorite block from the front of the quilt and re-create it, or try paper piecing a quilt block just for the back.

Remember that your backing fabric will shift during the quilting process, so I suggest making this block off-center so you don’t get frustrated if it ends up being slightly off after it’s quilted. Try placing the block in one of the quadrants of the quilt to make it eye-catching.

Assemble this quilt back design by dividing the quilt back into 3 sections. Piece together the strip that includes the feature block, and then assemble the other background fabric sections on either side of the pieced strip.

7. Highlight Your Quilt Label

Have you ever thought of piecing your quilt label directly into your quilt back? This two-for-one design will not only create a beautiful quilt back, but you’ll be able to label your quilt at the same time too! 

Piece your quilt label into a strip of fabric that is the desired length or width of your quilt. Then sew the larger pieces of fabric to either side of the pieced strip.

Need some ideas for what to write on your quilt label? I’ve got you covered with my blog post of 40+ quilt label sayings!

8. Quadrant Quilt Backing

Looking for a modern quilt back idea? Try out this quadrant design.

Divide your quilt back into quarters and sew together complementary pieces of fabric.

You can mix and match different fabrics easily with this design and you don’t have to worry about having super large cuts of fabric.

Play around with solids and patterned fabric to make a design that is as scrappy or streamlined as you want!

9. Half Square Triangle Quilt Backing

Get a bit more detailed with this accent strip design that uses half-square triangles. The half-square triangle is so versatile and placing several together can help you achieve a super unique quilt back design.

Half-square triangles are also common leftover blocks that you may have in your fabric stash, so seek out all of those orphan blocks and put them to good use!

Check out all of these quilt backing ideas that are made up of only half-square triangles!

10. Scrappy Quilt Backing

The last quilt backing idea on the list is simply scrappy backing. This is the ultimate way to use up scraps and create a true work of art on the back of your quilt.

All you need to do is gather the fabric you want to use and start piecing it together. I

suggest trying to use a standard block size (10” is a manageable size) to help you stay organized and not overwhelmed, but you can be as systematic or chaotic as you want with this design!

Try piecing your scraps together in any way they fit, and then trimming your block into a 10” square. After you have all the blocks you need, piece them together into a gridlike pattern and you’ll have your ultimate scrappy quilt backing design.

I hope you found some inspiration with these unique quilt backing ideas! Do you have a preferred way to piece your quilt back that I missed? If you do, I’d love for you to let me know what it is in the comments below!

xo, Hailey

Looking for more resources? Check out these posts that you may like:
How to Piece Quilt Backing
10 Ways to Quilt a Baby Quilt
The Stress-Free Guide to Machine Washing Your Quilt
Can You Use Polyester Thread for Quilting?

16 Comments

  1. Love your ideas. Thank you for sharing. And I’ve never heard to use a 1/2″ seam allowance for the back to give the quilt some added strength. Thank you Hailey. You’ve given me freedom!

  2. I love this blog about quilt backings. Many Quilter’s I know think you can only use one fabric for your backing. But I often “Frankenstein” (as I call them) my backs as you suggest with extra fabrics and blocks. Thanks for some other ideas.

    1. I’ve heard it called “frankenpiecing” and I’ve always thought it was clever name! Thanks for reading!

  3. Hailey, you have made my new quilting hobby a joy with all the ease you have shown me. Thank you for

    the new ideas allowing me once again to be creative with not only the top of the quilt but now the back

    as well.

    Thank you and God Bless
    Lauri

  4. Thank you for the great inspiration on how to be creative with our backing. I always wondered how to do it and you have answered my questions.

  5. Great ideas on quilt backing designs! Love being able to use leftover fabric and make a second design on the back. I am excited to try this on my next project!

  6. Thank you for the ideas. I tend to piece my backs, with my label, simply because I don’t have large enough pieces in my stash for backing. I try to use the leftovers from the front piecing, even blocks that I made mistakes in, in the back they go where people won’t examine them for errors. That way I reduce the number of orphan blocks and scraps of fabric from piling up in my stash. I always off-centre my additions (not for any quilting reason) but simply because I like the aesthetic of that look, makes it look less like you ran out of, or didn’t have fabric.

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