Match a Print Seamlessly On Your Quilt Back

A complete step by step photo tutorial on how to match a print seamlessly. In this example we match a fabric print for quilt backing. Beginner friendly!

Ready for a super simple tutorial on how to match a print seamlessly on your quilt backing using just a washable glue stick? Keep reading!

So, let's have some real talk here for a sec. You're obviously here because you love quilts. You love choosing fabric, cutting up said fabric, sewing the same fabric back together to form a beautiful quilt...you just love quilts in general.

With that said, who here loves piecing quilt backs? Anyone? Bueller....? Bueller...? 

Is anyone raising a hand? No? It is definitely one of my least favorite parts of quilting, so I usually try to do it as quickly and painlessly as possible (hello, extra wide backing fabrics and sheets/duvet covers that require no piecing!)

However, there are certain fabrics that are simply too good not to match the repeating design. I'm talking about large scale prints, gingham, etc. These quilt backs need a little finessing and TLC because the extra time to match a print seamlessly along the quilt back will be worth it in the end.

In this photo tutorial, I will show you step-by-step how easy, fast, and effective it is to use a washable glue stick to match up those prints along your quilt backing seams. Ready? Alright, let's go! 

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A complete step by step photo tutorial on how to match a print seamlessly along your quilt back seam using a washable glue stick. Beginner friendly!

#1: Cut the Backing into the Needed Pieces

For this particular throw quilt, I needed 3 ½ yards of backing, which I rounded up to 4 yards. It is important to note that when using this method of piecing, you'll want to make sure you have an extra 6-9 inches of backing fabric (for both width and height.) I cut that 4-yard piece into 2 separate 2-yard pieces of fabric. 

#2: Cut Off the Selvages

Before we get to the fun glue + print matching part, go ahead and trim the selvages off of the two quilt back sections you'll be piecing together. It is one extra step, but I've learned the hard way that the prints on a selvage can show through the finished product if you don't trim them off. So take it from me: this extra step will save you countless hours of staring at the selvage through a completed quilt back and silently cursing yourself.  

A complete step by step photo tutorial on how to match a print seamlessly along your quilt back seam using a washable glue stick. Beginner friendly!

#3: Fold the Edge

Fold the edge down about one inch along the length of one backing section only. We'll call this piece of backing fabric Piece-1. Press Piece-1 with a hot iron to form a crisp crease. 

A complete step by step photo tutorial on how to match a print seamlessly along your quilt back seam using a washable glue stick. Beginner friendly!

#4: Use Glue to Match a Print Seamlessly

Using a washable glue stick (don't worry, this does wash out of quilts upon laundering), place a thin line of glue along the outside of the folded down edge of Piece-1. (In the picture Piece-1 is on the right.) This will stick to Piece-2.

Next, overlap Piece-1 on top of Piece-2 to line up the print along the crease. Press Piece-1 and Piece-2 into place with your fingers. In the photo below, you can see that that I've lined up the small bird inside the circle. Do this along the entire crease you've folded over. 

A complete step by step photo tutorial on how to match a print seamlessly along your quilt back seam using a washable glue stick. Beginner friendly!

#5: Heat Set into Place

Now that the two pieces are temporarily stuck together, heat set the glue stick with a hot, dry iron (no steam) to set the glue firmly into place. 

A complete step by step photo tutorial on how to match a print seamlessly along your quilt back seam using a washable glue stick. Beginner friendly!

#6: Sew Along the Crease

After heat setting the glue, fold Piece-1 over so that your two pieces are now right sides together as shown in the photo below. Sew the pieces together along the crease.

A complete step by step photo tutorial on how to match a print seamlessly along your quilt back seam using a washable glue stick. Beginner friendly!

#7: Trim the Seam Allowance

Once you've sewn down the entire length of the crease, trim the seam allowance to ½ inch using a long ruler and rotary cutter. I prefer to use a wider seam allowance on my quilt back seams to make them stronger. The quilts at our house get used and washed often!

A complete step by step photo tutorial on how to match a print seamlessly along your quilt back seam using a washable glue stick. Beginner friendly!

#8: Press the Seam

Take your quilt back to your iron and ironing board one more time to press the seam. I like to press my seams open, but you can press them to the side if you don't want to peal apart the glued seam before you press. And like I said before, all of the remaining glue residue will wash out when you wash your quilt (as long as you're using a washable glue stick.)

A complete step by step photo tutorial on how to match a print seamlessly along your quilt back seam using a washable glue stick. Beginner friendly!

#9: Admire Your Seamlessly Matched Prints

That's it! Your quilt backing now has (nearly) perfectly matched seams! I always find this method to be well worth the extra time; it always looks fantastic! I'm so glad I took the time to match up these sweet birds and rainbows.

A complete step by step photo tutorial on how to match a print seamlessly along your quilt back seam using a washable glue stick. Beginner friendly!

So--what do you think? Have you tried this method before? If not, I hope this was helpful and that you'll try it soon! It's a fast, efficient way to match a print seamlessly. 

For more ways washable glue can be helpful during the quilting process, check out this complete guide to glue basting seams!

A complete step by step photo tutorial on how to match a print seamlessly. In this example we match a fabric print for quilt backing. Beginner friendly!

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A complete step by step photo tutorial on how to match a print seamlessly. In this example we match a fabric print for quilt backing. Beginner friendly!

13 thoughts on “Match a Print Seamlessly On Your Quilt Back

  1. Geri says:

    Thank you! Need a tutorial on any tips for centering pieced backs. Example—if you use leftover blocks from the front and sew them together in a rectangle and place them between 2 pieces of fabric to get your width. Any easy ways to keep the rectangle centered as you sandwich your quilt?

    • Suzy Quilts says:

      I think the most accurate way to do that is to cut your batting the exact same size or smaller than your backing fabric so you can see the edges and measure the distance from each side. Centering should be pretty easy if you can see the size of the backing.

  2. Andrea M Croak says:

    I have a question. I thought I glued in the correct spot, but then I couldn’t lay the seam flat (the two sewn seems were glued together. I was wondering if this was what was supposed to happen or if I did something wrong?

  3. Maggie says:

    Thank you. I was hesitant to use the glue but went ahead. This method worked like a charm! And the best thing, once I cut my seam down to 1/4″, most of the glue was cut right off! Thank you!!!! XXOO

  4. Kitty says:

    Thanks for this info, Suzy. I went to the quilt shop to purchase border fabric, the one we aggreed on has birds on it. In my enthusiasm I purchased the right amount to fussy cut, tons of joins, seemed like a great at the time. Now I have the courage to open the package &
    look at it. I hope.

  5. Lottie says:

    I tried this over the weekend – it worked!!! I was really pleased with the outcome. A couple of things I learned, don’t glue the entire edge at one time, it dries before you can have it in place to match and iron together (but it didn’t hurt anything to add more glue as I went along). And don’t be afraid to use a fair amount of the glue stick, it truly was not messy and in a couple of places I had not used enough and the two pieces of fabric did not stay together.
    Thank you Suzy for sharing such helpful techniques!!!

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