Scrappy quilt backs: the finish line

The first step to completing the quilt back’s puzzle was to sew the extension pieces from the top to the three short pieces, trim both sides

puzzle trim

and press the seams open.

puzzle press seam open

The next step was to lay them out in an appealing order, pin, stitch

puzzle two panels pinned

and press the seams open.

puzzle two panels stitched

It was tempting to pretrim the long pieces, but I didn’t. I continued stitching the fabric sections together

puzzle pin small to large panel

until I had one continuous length.

Caption: Before I added the fabric that's second from the top, I was short the 79" length by 13". With it, however, the measurement grew to 83", four inches greater than needed, but that's okay. In fabric world, better to have too much than not enough.

Before I added the fabric that’s second from the top, I was short the 79″ length by 13″. With it, however, the final measurement grew to 83″, four inches greater than needed, but that’s okay. In fabric world, better to have too much than not enough.

Time to trim the 83″ unit. Yes, I did this the hard way. I joined all my cutting mats together with blue painter’s tape.

puzzle cutting mats taped

The width of each of the three pieced panels from top to bottom was

  • 22½”
  • 22⅞”
  • 23⅝”

Even though I only needed 20″ plus ½” seam allowance, I erred on the side of caution and trimmed everything to 22¼”. That little bit of extra width is not going to hurt anything.

I positioned a ruler line along each seam joining two panels and marked off 22¼” from the selvage edge.

puzzle marking

With the marks as guides, I trimmed the excess, once again positioning a ruler line on a seam line to do so.

puzzle final trim

I pinned the right panel to the left panel,

puzzle final pin

accordion folded it for easier handling,

puzzle accordian fold

and stitched the last seam using a ½” seam allowance, pressing the seam open.

When I laid the completed backing on the floor again, my bubble burst when I noticed all the hills in the big hunk of batik on the left.

puzzle done

I’ve never done a quilt backing with such a large piece of batik. Although I washed it beforehand, it’s still exceedingly stiff and likely the reason for those hills. Darn!

This hiccup with the batik is not going to discourage me from making more quilts with scrappy backs because I’ve had good success with the ones I’ve made so far. When it’s time to layer, I’ll take a little extra time and care smoothing and clamping the backing to the table; after all, quilting is a process and every one provides a learning experience. I resolve to embrace this one.

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