20+ Modern Pieced Quilt Backing Ideas

Get inspired by our modern quilt pieced backing ideas. These simple quilt backing patterns will take your quilts to the next level!

I’ll admit I’m not very adventurous when it comes to quilt backings. Although I am very particular about the prints used on the backing, I usually stick to only using the one chosen fabric and piecing it so I get a big enough surface.

Honestly, most of the pieced quilt backing ideas I’ve seen around the www, feel kind of outdated. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with old-school classic quilting, but you probably know by now that it’s just not our style.

So we thought we’d look into this whole pieced quilt back idea and see if there’s a way to make it more contemporary and closer to our quilting style (spoiler alert – there is!).

Quilt Backing Basics

If you’re new to quilting and are just learning about quilt backings, you’re probably wondering what kind of fabric to use, how to piece it etc. I’m not going to go into to much detail here, but we have some great quilt backing articles and tools that I think you’ll enjoy:

Piecing a Quilt Backing

Unless you’re using extra-wide quilt backing fabric or making a small (baby) quilt, you’ll probably need to piece the quilt backing one way or another.

As you’ll see in a minute, there are probably endless ways to piece a quilt backing. Although you could go with pieces as small as for the quilt top in theory, I would advise against it. 

I suggest you go with larger pieces (but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it!) and sew them together ½’’ seam allowance. There are only a few seams across the entire quilt back (as opposed to the hundreds of seams on the quilt top), so using a wider seam allowance adds some stability to the seams.

Talk to your Longarmer

Another thing to keep in mind is the requirements of your long armer. 

If you’re planning to send your quilt out to be longarm quilted, I suggest you discuss your backing plans with the longarmer. They might have special requirements for preparing your quilt backing, so make sure your plans are in line with that.

20+ Pieced Quilt Backing Ideas

Now that we got the basics out of the way, it’s time for the fun stuff! Get inspired by these modern pieced quilt backing ideas.

The prints used in the mockups are all PBS Fabric: Over the Rainbow and Abstract Collage by Ambersand Studio.

One Fabric Quilt Backing

I’ll start with what is the most simple version of a pieced quilt backing. This is what the unadventurous quilt backer (aka me) uses most of the time.

How to do it: Choose a pretty fabric that pairs well with the colors used in the quilt top. Then, use our handy quilt backing calculator to figure out how much fabric you need. The calculator will tell you not only the required yardage, but also the number of seams you’ll need for your quilt top.

Finally, piece together the backing pieces (using a ½’’ seam allowance).

The quilt math and planning here can get a bit complicated. That’s why we have a whole article dedicated just to how to piece quilt backing (using one fabric). A very handy quilt backing chart is included!

Diagonal Seam Quilt Backing

This is just another version of the ‘one fabric quilt backing’. But it uses a very interesting way of piecing to get that extra width needed for the quilt back. 

How to do it: Instead of sewing together rectangular pieces of fabric, cut the yardage diagonally. Then, shift the yardage, so it ‘magically’ becomes wider. Just sew that one diagonal seam, cut away the two triangles on top and bottom and you’ve got yourself a quilt backing! You can find a detailed tutorial here.

Two Fabrics Quilt Backing

What’s better than one fabric? Two fabrics! This is an easy way to add some interest to your quilt backing (and get that extra width you need). 

How to do it: Choose the basic fabric for your quilt back. Then find a corresponding print or solid (use our Quilting Color Wheel for color combination ideas) and attach a strip wide enough to cover the quilt top and account for the overage. You can really have some fun here, pairing fabrics to add some visual interest. 

Improv Scrap Quilt Backing

If you’ve got a bunch of larger scrap fabric pieces lying around, you can use them to make a scrappy puzzle quilt backing. 

How to do it: There are really no rules here. Depending on the size of your fabric scraps, arrange them and sew them together to form a large enough surface. Play with prints, or use just solids, the sky is the limit!

Ombre Quilt Backing

For a very modern take on quilt backing, create an ombre effect from the top to the bottom of your quilt backing.

How to do it: Arrange rectangular fabric pieces in a gradient pattern, transitioning from one color to another, creating a smooth color flow across the backing. You can create this effect using all solids, your favorite prints, or a combination of both!

Large Rectangles Quilt Backing

This layout reminds me of abstract paintings and I think works great with minimalist modern quilt patterns, that we love so much here at DTQ!

How to do it: This is quite similar to the improv scrap quilt backing. But instead of arranging the fabric pieces randomly, create a more minimalist geometry. 

Checkerboard Quilt Backing

Another great (more classic) way to add some interest to the quilt back is by creating an oversized checkerboard or gingham pattern.

How to do it: Use two (or more) different fabrics to create a simple checkerboard backing. Cut the fabric into same size squares or rectangles. Sew them into rows and then sew the rows together. Super simple!

Accent Strip Backing

A great pieced backing idea is adding an accent strip where you would typically have the joining seam.

How to do it: Using scraps from your stash or extra fabric from the quilt top to create a strip long enough to cover the entire length (or width) of the quilt. If you use fabric form the quilt top, it really brings the front and back of the quilt together. Then, sew the strip to the backing fabric and you’re done!

Gift Box Quilt Backing

The gift box backing idea is similar to the accent strip, but here there are two strips that create a ribbon effect.

How to do it: Sew together the chosen backing fabric and accent (ribbon) strips. Work in segments to create the desired layout.

Large Log Cabin Backing

The log cabin quilt block is a great block to use for the quilt backing.

How to do it: Sewing a large log cabin backing is no different to sewing a normal log cabin block. The only difference is that here you’ll be using extra large pieces of fabric. We have a great step-by-step log cabin tutorial.

Quilt Backing with Extra Quilt Blocks

If you have some extra quilt blocks left from your quilt top, you can use them to create a fun accent on the quilt back. You could even make extra if you want to accentuate the basic element of your quilt on the quilt back, too. 

How to do it: Depending on how many quilt blocks you have and how big they are, you can arrange them in different compositions. Use a corresponding solid for the ‘background’ or go with a few different fabrics for a scrappier effect. You can try arranging the blocks in an interesting new composition like we did with the bear paws here.

What do you think? Are these pieced quilt backing ideas something you’d try for one of your quilts? These ideas actually got me pretty excited, so I think I might give it a go myself!


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2 thoughts on “20+ Modern Pieced Quilt Backing Ideas”

  1. Help,i am making a memory quit and this is my first quilt ever, i am attempting the back, and come to a standstill, i have one nightgown the i want to make a 4” square in the back surrounded by 4×8 strips to form a 12×12 square is this possible, yes i know i need to add for the seam allowance, thank you for any suggestions. My first attempt was a failure,

    1. Ula | Designed to Quilt

      Hi Lori. I hope I’m understanding correctly. If you were to sew (4) 4×8″ strips around the central square, you’d have to deal with partial seams (not great for a beginner). So my suggestion is to make basically a log cabin quilt block – I’ve put together a quick sketch with the sizes you need for your pieces. You can follow our log cabin block tutorial to see how the block is assembled, but it’s pretty straightforward. Start by sewing the dark green square to the yellow central square. Then add the top rectangle, the left and finally the bottom.

      Log Cabin Math

      The pieces above will prouced a finished 12×12″ block.
      Let me know if you need help with anything else!

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