This turned out to be a really flannel cute baby quilt. As a quilter I cannot always guarantee a good outcome when it comes to highly pieced quilt backs. I was relieved when I turned it over and found no pleats in the back. In the end it is a lovely quilt.
This is the quilt back. I understand that pieced backs are trendy and look how great this looks! It’s also a great way to use up fabrics.
Now from the long-arm quilters point of view, this is the type of backing that gives me worries. It’s easier to explain when you see the backing loaded on the machine. See the next photo down.
Why do Longarm quilters like to avoid highly pieced backings???
While this is a nicely pieced backing, it was a bit wider at the top than at the bottom. That is a hint that something is off. It doesn’t lay flat. Yes, I have clamps to add to the quilt edges but I really don’t want to use those to try to pull the fullness out of the backing. I don’t want to stretch her quilt. What will happen when the clamps are released?? Will it pull back in and lay like a ruffle?
The next step is to lay the batting over this, then place the quilt top over the batting. After that you can understand, I cannot see the area that is sagging on the back.
The photo below is looking up from under the quilt back, under my machine. You can still see after clamping the sides, the piano key area is still drooping. I cannot guarantee what will happen when it’s quilting. Now there is a 50/50 chance that will pleat. (the fabric will fold over itself and be stitched down that way) If it pleats I have to rip out that area, turn the quilt upside down, try to steam it down & restitch the design backwards. That is a lot more work, a lot more time.
So the reason Longarm quilters are not excited about highly pieced quilt backs is because they take us longer to deal with in general, and because we cannot control what is happening on the bottom layer of a quilt when its quilting.
Thankfully, this turned out well and is a lovely quilt. I think the backing would have made a beautiful second quilt top.