Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting: Twizzles Episode 4102- Using Backing Fabrics For Piecing

I’m so in love with the wide variety of wide backing fabrics on the market today. We are truly spoiled! Here at Quilted Joy we have over 150 bolts of wide fabric that are 108″ or wider. These fabrics are designed to be used on the back of a quilt but did you know you can also piece your quilt top with them as well?

In Episode 4102 of the Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting PBS show I showed off my quilt Twizzles which is made entirely from the Ombre Confetti wide backing fabric line from Moda. The great thing about ombre fabric is you have light, medium, and dark hues all in the same piece of fabric due to the ombre. Plus, they all compliment each other!


The patchwork blades in the quilt reminded the Love of Quilting  team of ice skates, so they decided to name the quilt Twizzles – after a technical skill in figure skating involving a multi-rotational, one-foot turn that moves across the ice. 

Twizzle ice skating move video

I know nothing about figure skating other than it looks very difficult. Thankfully, this quilt is NOT as crazy difficult as that!

I absolutely LOVE using wide backing fabric for piecing because it comes in SO many varieties and usually a better deal than regular 45″ yardage. However to make the most of wide backing fabric, there’s a few things to keep in mind.
Here are my top three tips for using wide back fabrics for piecing your quilt top:
1. Shrinkage:
Because wide backing fabric is so… well… wide, it can shrink more aggressively than a regular 45″ quilter’s cotton fabric. So, I highly recommend washing any wide backing fabrics you wish to piece a quilt top with first. The fabric will shrink a bit and be ready for your piecing project. 
2. Stability
I also recommend heavy starch. Well, to be fair, I recommend heavy starch on all yardage you will be piecing with. I grab my grocery store starch and generously spray the yardage. Let it sit there for a minute to soak in. Then, flip the yardage over and iron well with steam. I like to say I starch yardage so that it will get up and introduce itself to me. Yep. That much starch! I don’t use starch or steam after I’ve cut the yardage into my units, though. I don’t want the fabric to change size after I’ve cut it. 
3. Subcuts
It can also be a bit unwieldy to cut wide back fabrics because it is so big. It is a lot of fabric to wrestle. To help make it more manageable, snip and rip the yardage into more manageable chunks. For the Twizzle quilt I snipped the wide back yardage into thirds. This way I have a one yard width swath of yardage to work with. It makes it so much easier! 
Play with some wide backing fabrics for your next piecing project!

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Angela Huffman- Triplet Momma. Quilter. Teacher. Thread Bimbo

I’m Angela- Co-host of the Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting PBS show. APQS Long arm Dealer and Educator. Triplet Momma. Designer. Thread Bimbo.

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