Most of the time I can hardly get through a quilt top before I have a million other ideas lining up, so why should constructing a quilt back be any different?

In the past year I’ve been brainstorming ideas to get past this inspiration block.  I’d like this step of the creative process to be as enjoyable as the rest, so I created myself a little list of ideas to inspire creative quilt backs. I thought I’d share.

My Go-To Quilt Back Ideas and Inspiration-


SEW KATIE DID/Psychedelic Baby


*Buy What You Love-  Well duh.  The most obvious, but not always the most economical is buying fabric you currently fancy. I only stock up on sale fabric if I would have paid full price for it.  The longer it sits in stash the more my tastes change, especially in regards to color trends.

*On my bucket list is the technique of flawlessly matching seams so that two panels of the same print appear as one.  


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*Browse Flickr Quilt Backs Group or  Pinterest Quilt Backs Board.  This is usually powered with a few cups of tea and time to fall into the worm hole.  Pinboards that collect images of Minimalist patterns can be very inspiring for building out your backs.


Sewkatiedid:Sleepy Owl Quilt Back Full

SEW KATIE DID:Night Owl Quilt Back


*Building a Quilt Back Out with Stash:  This is a fun visual approach.

-Build On the Design Wall- Before I even take a quilt off the design wall I do a fabric pull from stash.  Using the quilt as a template I start pinning the pieces on top of it until covered.  I stare and move them around a lot until I have a desirable layout.  Then I back into piecing to an extra 3″ per side larger than my quilt top.

Taping Out- On the design wall or floor I tape out the size I need the back to be, not forgetting a little extra.  I essentially do as above and build out with fabric pieces until it meets the tape and sew it all together.

Magic Numbers–  Magic Numbers are perfect for designing quilt backs, pattern free, especially if you’re not quite ready to improvisationally free piece or figure out the math. Magic Numbers is a system of using block sizes that automatically fit together for flexibility in design without alteration.  You could go BIG with your block sizes.  You can learn more about them here.


sewkatiedid/quilt back

sewkatiedid/smitten kitten quilt back

*BIG ASS Blocks:  This is probably my favorite to use with large prints.  I generally border or log the centers of the blocks with a contrasting solid so they show up nicely.


sewkatiedid/barn star quilt

SEW KATIE DID*Vortex Quilt Back Full




*Leftovers.  Using cast-off little bits from the front is a good way to start a back.  When I go this route I sometimes like the back better than the front.


SEW KATIE DID:Boxed-In Back full


*Slice and Insert-  This is a great technique if I just need some width or length to my quilt back.  I slice yardage vertically or horizontally (so I have two pieces) and insert a width/length of fabric needed.




*Words or Phrases:  I generally improv these, but you could easily make your own paper pieced patterns.



Flannel:  Flannel is my go-to, I can never go wrong with flannel.  It’s perfect for Seattle, all seasons for the most part.



*Improvisational:  “Play is the highest form of research.”  -Albert Einstein

Often I can get inspired by allowing myself the opportunity to play.  That new technique or block I’ve been thinking about?  I try it now.  Loads of seams mean an opportunity for them to come apart while quilting, so I stay-stitch the perimeter of the quilt back if I choose this option.

*My Solution if I Still Don’t Like It:  If I just think it’s boring I slice it either vertically or horizontally (which ever direction I think it needs) and then I switch up the large pieces.

Most of these quilt backs merge two or more of these ideas.  Then I’ve got my basting tool kit ready to go and a podcast lined up.  Just in time for me to overthink how I’m going to quilt it;)

It’s all a cycle of motion and action Peeps!

Happy Week;)


:: Build a Basting Tool Kit ::

:: Build a Basting Tool Kit ::

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