Choosing the fabric to back and bind your quilt can be a really fun part of the process, but be warned, quilt fabric shops are like candy stores! It’s easy to pick a backing fabric just because you love it but then find it doesn’t work well as a quilt backing or for binding.
You might want to hold off buying your backing and binding fabric until you’ve finished your patchwork. This gives you an opportunity to select the colours that best complement your finished patchwork, and also allows you to measure the final quilt and be sure you are getting the right amount.
New, good quality, 100% cotton patchwork weight fabric is the easiest to work with. If you are new to quilting or don’t have a walking foot (see here) then using new cotton will help you get the best results.
A Few Pointers on Choosing Fabric
- Avoid backing fabrics that will need pre-washing for this project. If you do, then you may end up needing to join pieces to make a large enough backing as the fabric may shrink slightly on washing.
- It’s a good idea to take your completed patchwork to the shop with you.
- Look for fabrics that will complement the clothes and allow them to be the main feature.
- A fabric with a bit of texture or pattern, but no obvious direction or repeat is the most flexible (and most forgiving of any mistakes!) – a marble, shot cotton, tiny dots, tiny floral etc. The marble stars and dots fabric used by Patchwork Castle is perfect. It’s best to avoid anything with a pattern that needs to be kept absolutely straight as this can be tricky to achieve when layering, basting and quilting.
- If your preferred backing fabric has an obvious ‘way up’ then consider how this will look in relation to your quilt top – for the square cot quilt it’s not such a concern, but for a cot bed it might make a difference.
- You can use the same fabric to both back and bind your quilt, or choose contrasting ones.
- The colour you choose for the binding will bring out those colours in your patchwork. So if you want an overall ‘pink’ feel use pink, if you want to pull out a highlight colour, use that colour for your binding.
- White or very pale backing fabrics on quilts get grubby very quickly and will mean you have to wash your quilt more. Very dark, plain colours can catch every bit of lint and fluff!
- If you do make a larger quilt and have to join backing pieces then avoid backing fabrics with an obvious repeat in the design. This makes joining the pieces much easier.
Where To Buy Backing Fabric
If you have a local patchwork fabric shop then it’s really worth a visit to see what they have available. If not, then there are some great on-line suppliers.
Here’s some of my favourite on-line suppliers of quilting fabric suitable for Baby Clothes Quilts or Blankets.
This is a fabulous website for all kinds of patchwork fabrics for children, and often my first stop if I’m after something special. Emma selects the very cutest fabrics from the latest ranges, as well as a lot of great basics like spots, stripes, chevrons and plain colours. You can also select from some lovely fabric bundles – great if you are looking at making any other patchwork projects.
Puddleducks have a great selection of fabric for all kinds of projects, as well as a good range of haberdashery, quilting equipment and patterns.
Cotton Patch is a fabulous one stop shop for everything patchwork and quilting (and many other sewing projects too!). Well worth a dig around.
Over To You
Have you selected a special backing fabric for your Memory Quilt? We’d love to see your ideas, purchases or finished projects – please do leave a comment below.
Get More Support
You can get further advice about the resources you’ll need to create your Baby Clothes Quilt by signing up for our free ‘Memory Quilting Resource Guide’ – get your copy here.
If you are making your own baby clothes Keepsake Quilt then check out our Baby Clothes Memory Quilt Tutorial. The tutorial takes you step by step through all the stages of creating your own Memory Quilt, and our friendly Facebook group is a great place to ask advice about backing
Thanks for reading!
Until next time