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How to Match Prints When Piecing a Quilt Back

Last week on my work in progress post, I showed the back that I’d pieced for my Forest Friends quilt.  Today I’ll  share a quick post about how I pieced the back so that it was almost impossible to see where I’d joined the pieces of fabric in order to make the back big enough for the quilt.

How to Match Prints When Piecing a Quilt Back

To start, I measured and cut one piece the length I needed… which for the Forest Friends quilt was 54 1/2″.

Then I trimmed the selvages off that piece and the remaining length of fabric as well.

Next I pressed under 3/4″ on one long side of that second section of fabric making sure to get a nice crisp folded edge.

The two pieces were then laid out on my cutting table and I carefully matched and pinned each leaf after first matching up where the print repeated itself along the fabric.   (When I purchased the fabric I ordered several inches more than I needed to make sure that I would be able to match the repeat.)

Match the pressed edge to the corresponding print on the first section.

Then I hand basted the two sections together using a ladder stitch.

Take a stitch in the first section.
Take a stitch in the first section.
Take a stitch in the pressed edge of the second section.
Then take a stitch in the pressed edge of the second section.

When all the pins have been removed and the fabric folded over with right sides together, you end up with a running stitch that runs the length of the crease in the second section of fabric.  Sew along that basted line.

Sew along the basted line

Trim off any excess fabric.

Trim off excess fabric

Press the seam open and then check the right side to make sure that the print still matches up.  There was one section where I had sewn on the wrong side of the basted line.  I had to unpick it and resew.

Once I was satisfied that I’d matched the leaves as best as I could, I removed the basting stitches.  You have to look really closely to see the seam.

The two sections of fabric are matched almost perfectly

Arrow showing where the two sections of fabric were joined.

After the two sections were joined, I trimmed the second section to the correct length and then cut the finished piece to the width I needed (48 1/2″.)

The pieced back for my Forest Friends quilt



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  • katieQ
    June 21, 2015 11:49 am

    Thank you for sharing this method. I always find it difficult to match fabric. You make it look easy.

  • Mary Anne
    June 10, 2015 3:39 pm

    Certainly looks to be time-consuming, but the end result makes it definitely worthwhile.

  • Amy, a redeemed sheep
    June 10, 2015 8:54 am

    Thank you for taking the time to share how to do this!

  • Mary
    June 10, 2015 8:26 am

    It came out perfectly! Thanks for the tutorial.

  • Andrée
    June 10, 2015 6:08 am

    Merci pour ce tutoriel

  • Christine B.
    June 10, 2015 4:44 am

    Great tutorial and great results! You can’t see the join at all! 🙂 x

  • Rachel
    June 10, 2015 4:05 am

    Well worth the effort involved – a good job!

  • Quilter Kathy
    June 9, 2015 11:16 pm

    Great ideas! And you reminded me that I have that pretty fabric in my stash!

  • Patti
    June 9, 2015 11:14 pm

    Wow what a great tip. I have been trying to figure out how to piece the back of my grandson’s graduation quilt. Comes at a perfect time. Thanks

  • Doris McCarty
    June 9, 2015 9:26 pm

    Thank you for showing your work. I adore that backing it’s pretty enough to be the front.

  • Leslie
    June 9, 2015 7:51 pm

    Excellent match and not all that difficult to do. Thanks for sharing.

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