Saturday, January 12, 2013

Quilt Backing: Extra Wide Print

Cretonne on the back of a crazy quilt about 1900
People often ask, "What's an authentic quilt backing fabric?"
You'll be glad to hear that anything goes.

Quilt about 1890
The most popular backing fabric up until about 1970 was a plain white cotton.

Quilt about 1935

Plain white cotton showed off the quilting and it was often cheaper than a printed or dyed cloth.

Striped flannel about 1900

Striped flannel about 1910

But quilters have always used prints and woven patterns for the backs.

Print cotton back about 1890

Print striped back about 1890

Print calico backs about 1900

The quilters in Pennsylvania in particular were very fond of printed cotton backs.

Print cotton back about 1900

Reverse of a Pennsylvania quilt about 1900
They even pieced the backs with green stripes being quite popular in a small part of the world about 1880-1940.
Reverse of a Pennsylvania quilt: Circa 1900
About 1970 quiltmakers started seeing all those fancy backs on antique quilts and thinking, "More Pattern!" so the trend has been for printed backs again.

If you are looking for an authentic mid-to-late-19th century back for your reproduction quilts you will want this print from Metropolitan Fair, my latest Civil War repro fabric collection from Moda. Wax Flowers is the name of the print and it comes in four colorways, all 108 inches wide.

If you like the idea of wide quilt backing go to the Moda web page and find the list of 108" wide quilt backings. Try clicking here and the click on the button that says 108" quilt backings. Or do a search for 108".


ga447 said...

Backing never get 'showtime', I love all the photos and your fabric.

Robin's Egg Bleu said...

What about quilt backs for mid 19th century quilts? Were they typically white?

WoolenSails said...

I do like the idea of wide backing, much nicer than having sewed pieces on the back.


Barbara Brackman said...

Mid 19th century, even early 19th century quilts sometimes had printed back. White the most common but it's a wonderful thing to come across a toile or chintz on the back of an 1840s quilt.