Anita's quilts and quilting

A semi-retired professional longarm machine quilter

Invisible seams on quilt back

I managed to go back to work a couple of days ago.  I’m feeling much stronger and even got outside for some sun.  It was time to get a quilt onto the machine.

The customer asked me to piece a quilt backing for her and she wanted the fabric pattern to match so the seam was invisible. Well, it’s nearly impossible to get a perfect match because fabric is very fluid.  It moves and stretches and is not always printed perfect.  I can get a pretty close match though and I thought maybe some of my readers might be interested in seeing how I do this.  I don’t think this technique will impress a quilt judge because I don’t believe any judges look for it.  A judge will simply think it’s a wide backing and move on.  Anyway this is how I make invisible seams on the backs of my quilts.

I start by cutting the backing fabric into two pieces.  One piece is going to be longer than the other by the distance of one pattern repeat.  In other words, measure the distance from one pattern repeat to the next and cut one piece of fabric longer than the other by at least that much.  Sorry I didn’t take a photo of that part because my customer had already cut her fabric into two pieces.  As luck would have it, she cut one piece longer than the other.

Take the shorter piece of fabric, fold the fabric along one selvedge edge, and press it.   Make this a generous fold of at least a couple of inches.

Fold and press a hem on one side of the shorter fabric

Ok, now lay the longer piece of fabric out with the right side facing up.  If you don’t have a large table then use your bed or the floor.

Line up the pattern on a quilt back 001

Next take the shorter piece of fabric and put it right side down on top of this fabric with the pattern going in the same direction.  Match the pattern both horizontal and vertical.  This means both top to bottom matching and side to side matching.  It might be quite a distance, depending on the distance of the repeats from side to side.

Line up the pattern on a quilt back 005

Put a little glue along the folded edge and match the pattern.   In the old days, before the magic of gluing fabric, we would carefully baste the fabrics together with needle and thread.  Oh my, glue is so much faster and easier!  Match the pattern as closely as possible.

Line up the pattern on a quilt back 007

I pin it together temporarily while the glue dries.    This prevents shifting away from the match.

Line up the pattern on a quilt back 009

Next I remove the pins, open the fabric fold and sew along the press line.  Then trim it back to 1/4 inch seam.

Line up the pattern on a quilt back 010

After it has done it’s job the glue is no longer needed.   Pop open the glue along the seam by pulling it with your hands.  Now look to see how closely you matched the pattern.  At first it might not look as matched as you’d like.

Line up the pattern on a quilt back 011

Don’t judge it until you’ve pressed the seam.  Pressing does wonders.

Line up the pattern on a quilt back 012

Outside of a little glue along the seam line you probably wouldn’t know where it was sewn.   Click the photo to get a closer look.  The glue will come out with the first washing or by taking a damp cloth to rub it off while pressing.


6 comments on “Invisible seams on quilt back

  1. Michelle Estes
    April 29, 2013

    Every time I see one of your creations, I think to myself, “she’s amazing!” I wish I had 1/4 of the talent you have.

  2. Lynda
    April 28, 2013

    Amazing! I have heard of using the glue method on binding and was a bit skeptical, but this wonderful! Thanks for sharing, Anita!

    • Na Na
      April 29, 2013

      School glue, like Elmer’s, is simply very thick starch so isn’t harmful in anything. And, it washes out so easily. A few tiny drops will hold the fabric very well and keeps me from getting stuck by pins. Try it sometime. I think you’ll like it much better than pinning.

      • Lynda
        April 29, 2013

        I think I will! Thanks!

  3. Cindy Nielsen
    April 28, 2013

    You are amazing. I probably wouldn’t attempt it. Personally I use flat sheets. It is cheaper, no fuss and quicker for me. I hope you are not over doing it.

    • Na Na
      April 29, 2013

      Yes, I use flat sheets for backs too. I’ve tried to convince these customers to do the same thing but they prefer yardage fabric. They won’t buy wide backing either. No, I’m not doing too much. I’m actually doing very little except watching all the Kentucky Derby madness going on. Just a few more days and it will be over for another year. Can’t wait.

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on April 28, 2013 by in QUILTS - PIECING, QUILTS - TIPS AND TECHNIQUES.

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