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!
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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!
#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.)
#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.
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!
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