Your Question Answered: Which stitch to use to piece a quilt backing?

Yesterday, at Always Quilting, we were preparing the backing for a patchwork top that  we will quilt this week so I introduced Judysewforth to my favourite “magic” stitch for this job.

My sewing machine set up ready to join fabric to make a quilt backing.

My sewing machine set up ready to join fabric to make a quilt backing.

Instead of using the usual straight machine stitch, I always join backing pieces together with a narrow zig zag stitch.

The seam stitched with a narrow zig zag stitch

The seam stitched with a narrow zig zag stitch

Quilt backings are large and, when they are made of several pieces of fabric, the seam line can be a point of tension.

  • The stitching line can be much tighter than the weave of the fabric
  • The fabric, itself, is often slightly off the straight grain so it stretches in different directions at varying tension

Using a zig zag stitch introduces a little flexibility into the seam line and allows the fabric to ease into place to make a flat backing.

The right side of the seam has been stretched to show the the stitch length

The right side of the seam has been stretched deliberately to show the stitch length

On my sewing machine I choose a standard zigzag stitch with both the width & length set at 1.5.

You will need to experiment on your own machine to find the best setting.

Once the seam is stitched I press it flat, and to one side, to prevent any batting migrating through the stitching

The seam  pressed into place, with the stitches relaxed, looks just like the usual straight stitched seam

The seam pressed into place, with the stitches relaxed, looks just like the usual straight stitched seam

From the right side of the backing it is very difficult to tell that the seam has been treated differently, that a zig zag rather than a standard straight stitch has been used.

I don’t remember who introduced me to this technique, but I know I have been using it for a long time and it has taken the stress out of making quilt backings for both me, and the fabric!

PS: And of course I always use my favourite piecing thread …. Aurifil Cotton Mako’ 40

For more ideas about making quilt backings:

A simple way to join meterage to make a quilt backing

Or you can simply purchase extra wide fabric that will not need to be joined together to make a quilt backing.

How easy is that!

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2 Responses

  1. That sounds like a great idea … and not just for quilt backings. I am making pillow cases at the moment … will try a narrow zigzag for those left to do tomorrow.

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