In my infinite brilliance, let the duh fest begin or: how not to make a quilt back

Today, I have a couple tips for piecing a non-scrappy quilt back.  But first, the ditch quilting for Cocheco Memories is coming along, despite chronic fights with a certain spool of red thread.


I like machine quilting with Presencia thread, but boy, did I get a lemon of a spool in #284 red. It’s breaking a lot and dragging through the machine so much I thought there was something wrong with my tension discs. It even feels hard. None of the other Presencia spools I’m using are behaving poorly,

CM quilting thread

so I’m chalking it up to a quality control issue with that spool, but hey, Presencia people, you owe me a spool of #284 for all the grief I’ve put up with in the last week!

Quilt backs wider than 40 inches must be pieced. The Cocheco Memories quilt (before I, in my infinite brilliance, changed the border width at the last minute) needed a back that measured 67″ x 67″. I would need two lengths of 1⅞ yards each. I rounded up and purchased a total of 4, thinking that would be more than enough.

When I decided, in my infinite brilliance, to widen the border, I completely ignored the impact of a size increase on the back. So when I got ready to piece the back and realized I only had 4 yards—uh oh….



I now needed a 71″ x 71″ back and had enough yardage for two 72″ lengths—ugh! As you can see in the photos below, close doesn’t even begin to describe it.





Here’s how I put together the backing:

Position the two panels right sides up next to each other to make sure the print is oriented in the same direction on both. This was really important for my backing since the fabric I chose was directional.

Tear off the selvages along the inside edge of each panel where they will be sewn together. To do this, make a 1″ snip about ½” to 1″ from the edge of the selvage and tear. Tearing will give you an on-grain edge which means it will be straight and yield a nice, un-puckered seam line.


Press the torn edge on both panels.


Align the torn edges and pin.


Using a presser foot with a wide footprint, sew the two panels together using a ½” seam allowance and a slightly elongated stitch length. (I enhanced the visibility of the ½” marking on my throat plate with a piece of blue painter’s tape.)


Press the seam allowance open.

As you would expect, layering this quilt took extra time because of my teeny-tiny back. I ended up basting around the perimeter to hold things in place and make sure there would be three layers to trim when it’s time for binding.


Hopefully, my infinite brilliance won’t surface again for good long while.



Filed under machine quilting, piecing, thread

3 responses to “In my infinite brilliance, let the duh fest begin or: how not to make a quilt back

  1. Mel

    LOVE that quilt pattern, forgive me if you’ve posted this info previously, but what is it?? A sampler of some sort? Beautiful color selection!

  2. Mel

    I feel like a FOOL!! Of, course, it is your Cocheco Sampler!!! I didn’t recognize it – I remember the graphic printout of it, but it’s just stunning in real fabrics!! PLEASE forgive me!!!

  3. Thanks, Mel! Glad you like it.

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