How did I get to have the largest amount of extra wide Quilt backings in the UK?
When I started longarm quilting I was amazed by how many people brought me quilts with make do & substandard fabrics for backing their quilts. After all the time and effort that goes into making a beautiful quilt top, surely we should not spoil our quilt by using something less than perfect. When I started to look deeper into this issue I found the reason why.
Extra Wide backing are difficult to get hold of because not all fabric manufactures make them, so to get a range you have to deal with a lot of different companies. Most of them need to come in to the UK from USA, some go via Holland too and the delivery times of these can be several months.
I decided that it would be a good idea to stock a few for my customers, little did I know that this would soon grow to being the largest collection of extra wide quilt backing in the UK!
Why is it important to use an extra wide backing fabric on your quilt? When you load a quilt for longarming you attach the backing fabric first and attach this to two cloth leaders which in turn are attached to two rollers. This is then wound tight and bungee cords are attached at the sides for side tension. If you are joining fabric to make a backing this puts extra stress on your joining seam and can cause puckering or bearding through the join.
These are some other questions I regularly get asked -
How wide are extra wide fabrics?
Most are 108 inches wide, the batiks are generally 106 wide.
Batik? - I was told never to use batik for backing because it is too closely woven.
Yes that is correct regarding standard width batik. the extra wide ones are a slightly different weave and are specially designed for backing fabrics.
If I buy some extra wide fabric, can I use the remaining fabric for standard patchwork/binding?
Yes of course.
Why do longarmers need at least four inches extra of backing & wadding all round my quilt top?
The first reason is for loading. The backing needs to be attached to the rollers - so there is some fabric that cannot be quilted. We need to attach bungee type cords to the side to create some tension - so we need fabric to attach our clamps to and some spare which will be distorted by this. The other reason is that when we are doing a pantograph - an all over pattern, we actually need to quilt right across and OFF the quilt top at all edges. When the quilting is done the quilt can be cut down and any spare fabric is returned for reuse.
Why can't I just use a bed sheet?
Sheeting is a much higher thread count than patchwork fabrics. When you quilt it the needle makes a hole rather than going between the fibres. This can cause bearding (ie the fibres from the wadding can poke through the holes).
Extra Wide fabrics are too expensive.
First of all you need to consider that an extra wide fabric is two and a half times the width of the fabric normally used for patchwork.
I stock fabrics ranging from just £10 per metre to £25 per metre. So in reality the £10 per metre fabric would equate to just £4 of normal width and the £25 batik range would be around £10 per metre if normal width, so really they are better value than standard fabrics and it saves you having to join and have a seam down the back of your quilt.
What fabric do you stock?
I have extra wide fabric from Moda, Whistler Studios, Studio E, Windham, John Loudon, Timeless Treasures, Kaufman etc.
How many different fabrics do you have?
Currently I have 123 but I have more arriving all the time.
Where can I see your fabrics?
They are in my secure on line shop which can be found here -www.quiltsandwich.co.uk
If you are local or want to come & see in person - that's fine. My fabrics are at in our hotel - The Royal Bridlington, Shaftesbury Road, Bridlington. YO15 3NP I just ask that you telephone me or email me in advance so that I can make arrangements to be around. Telephone number is 01262 672433 email is firstname.lastname@example.org
What else do you sell?
I have a full range of wadding - poly, 80/20, black, cotton & wool plus Moda Scrap Bags, & some fantastic Colour Me Quilt Kits plus some other bits which are handy on our workshops and retreats.
This year I decided to take a stand at Harrogate Quilt Show for the first time. Here is my overloaded stall.
I had a great time and met so many lovely quilters that I already knew and many new ones of course too.
So when you need some backing fabric, have a browse at my selection.