Baby Got [Quilt] Back

Love it or hate it, part of the quilting process is choosing what kind of quilt back to use. Some people enjoy the process and put a lot of thought into making their quilt back as special as the front, while others don’t care as much and treat it as an afterthought. There’s no right or wrong way to approach it. But depending on what you like or what you’re trying to achieve, there are different quilt back “looks,” if you will.

I’ve made quite a few quilts in my day and have done all sorts of backs. Below, I’ve rounded up some options for those of you looking for quilt back ideas that don’t require buying standard width fabric and sewing it together. I have done that before, but I really don’t like it. The seam drives me crazy, and if you have a patterned fabric it’s even more work to try and match it up.

So if you’re like me and always looking for new ideas and inspiration, here you go.


Extra Wide Fabric

By far the easiest quilt back is to use extra wide fabric. It doesn’t require piecing anything together and is the least complicated option, albeit the most expensive. Extra wide fabric costs more but saves you time and work.

Unfortunately, the selection for extra wide fabric is limited. Fabric manufacturers have amazing fabric designers putting out beautiful collections, but rarely do they include an extra wide backing as part of the collection, or even a one-off option. Plus, the extra wide fabric that is available often isn’t that great, in my opinion. Some is! But my overall feeling is meh. I’m begging you, fabric manufacturers, give us more extra wide fabric to choose from!

That said, here are a few I’ve used.


A plain white back may be boring, but with the right quilt top it makes sense. Plus, extra wide white fabric is readily available and more affordable than a pattern.

Ludlow 5IMG_5920

These two Little Folks voile fabrics from Anna Maria Horner are silky soft and voile is wider than standard quilting fabric, making it a great backing option. Don’t sleep on voile as a quilt back!

photo 16

You may think you’re looking at the front of this quilt but it’s actually the back. I purchased this quilt at an antiques store and the back is essentially a cheater print, something I’m seeing more designers start to offer. Extra wide cheater prints can be used on their own as a quilt front, or if you want a double-sided quilt try them for the back.


Leftover Quilt Blocks

Have you ever had extra blocks you didn’t end up using? They don’t have to go to waste! Of course you can use single blocks to make pillows, but I love incorporating them into a back.

This is also a great solution for using standard width fabric but dividing it with quilt blocks so you don’t have that annoying seam I mentioned earlier.


These butterfly applique quilt blocks were made by my grandma but never finished into a quilt. When she passed, I made the quilt but had a few leftover blocks. I could have added another row to the front, but the quilt was already so big I chose to use them for the back instead. Using the blocks, along with two pieces of standard width red fabric, made the back large enough.


Reminder: You don’t have to divide the back right through the middle with leftover blocks. You can add interest by placing them wherever you choose or however you need to depending on your fabric availability.


This quilt back is a bit chaotic but it’s meant to be! I was gifted these red quilt blocks and I had three leftover after making the quilt top – but not enough to add another row. The front of the quilt is intentionally wonky so I used the leftover blocks to make the back wonky as well.



Piecing scraps of fabric together for a back does take more work but it’ a great way to use larger scraps from your stash. There are no rules for this method. Do whatever you like! I sometimes use leftover fabric from the front as well. I think it’s a good way to give a nod to the front by using what’s left in the back.

IMG_6432IMG_4385-2023MalibuFin1CrosstoTX3WinWlk6Avenues Finished 2IMG_6263IMG_6039IMG_5932009

AB BackIMG_2206


Fabric Blocking

I don’t think fabric blocking is a thing but that’s what I’m calling it. The idea is to intentionally piece – usually two different fabrics – together. Some might say this is simply a scrappy back, and it is, but it’s being more intentional with how you piece your fabric. It’s a more deliberate way to put your quilt back together, if you will.



Put a Strip in It

This is one of my favorite ways to stretch fabric and extend the length of a quilt back. Similar to the leftover quilt block method, adding a strip of fabric between two standard width pieces will usually give you enough length. Make the strip as wide as you need or want and you’re in business.


This is a 1-yard piece of fabric I used for the back of a baby quilt. I needed just a touch more length so I added the strip of purple.


Here I have two different cuts of the same fabric that I joined together right down the middle with the white strip.


This is an example where I used both leftover fabric from the front of the quilt to make a strip, which stretched the length by dividing two standard width pieces of fabric. A win win!


Vintage Bed Sheets

Using vintage bed sheets has really been my thing lately. It’s essentially the same as using extra wide fabric but at a more affordable price.

When I’m not quilting my other hobby is thrifting, and whenever I go to a thrift store I always check out the linen section for vintage bed sheets in good shape. That’s the key. You don’t want anything faded, thread-bare, or damaged. You want to look for barely used or even brand new vintage sheets, which do exist. It’s also good to check estate sales, rummage sales, or raid your aunt’s linen closet for old sheets, if she’ll let you!

Wldflwr13Wldflwr15 Rafter7

This vintage sheet was a fitted sheet rather than a flat sheet and ended up being a bit too small once I removed the elastic. I added some coordinating solid fabric to make it work.

JwlBx2Daisy Chain 5JakeLad2SR1SR4


New Bed Sheets

If using old sheets gives you the creeps, you can also purchase new bed sheets from your favorite home goods, big box, or online store, which I’ve done before. Some places even sell individual flat sheets so you don’t have to buy an entire bedding set.

Look for 100% cotton sheets, but if you like something that’s a cotton mix I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Most of the vintage bed sheets I’ve used are a cotton/polyester blend and I’ve never had a problem with them.


This was my first time using a flannel sheet and it worked great. It’s heavy but very warm.


When in doubt, buy a solid color bed sheet!

And with that, those are the different types of quilt backs I’ve done. Any questions? Or what am I missing? Have you done anything creative for your quilt backs? Let me know in the comments!


  • RSS
  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *