Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Measure Twice

You know that old adage, right?  The one that says, "Measure twice, cut once?"  I worked in a wood shop for a few years so I know that adage.  But do I think of it when I'm working on a quilt?  Not usually.

Case in point:

The Sunday Morning quilt top laying on top of batting and backing.  Before making the backing I measured the top at 67 1/2" x 90".  I spent nearly a week making a scrappy back that measures 76" x 98", or a little more.  (I didn't think I needed to be too careful about the outside edges of the back being even so some sections extend wider.) 

I finished the back today, pleased to have batting on hand, pleased that I could get on with the layering, basting, and finally the quilting, which is what I really want to be doing. 

I pinned the back to the floor.  I layered the batting on top.  I carefully laid the quilt on top.  What?  How could the back not have 4" all the way around?  I measured the top again only to find that the real measurement is 74 1/2" x 90".  Disappointment set it.  I am so sad.

As I see it, I have three choices:
  1. Take off the top two layers.  Take out the pins in the back.  And add a strip of fabric along the width of the back.  (I have no interest in doing this.  I'm tired of working on the back of this quilt.)  Or,
  2. Remove one block along the width of the quilt top, thereby making it 67" wide.  Are the proportions out of whack for a quilt to measure 67" x 90"?  Or,
  3. Quilt it as it is and try not to let the top shift (and add fabric to the back if/when I find it needs it.)
Have you ever had this problem?  What did you do?

One more quilting lesson -- learned the hard way.



  1. I've had this problem. Sometimes I think I've had EVERY possible problem. I would just quilt it as is. If you are just slightly short in the end binding will cover it. If your shortage is greater you can trim the top to match the other layers or add to the back as you said. And then you'll have a story to go with it!

  2. I had this problem once. I hand quilted a wall hanging size quilt and I knew it would be close on two sides. When I got to the edges I had run out of backing. So I just hand sewed a little backing fabric to the edge and finished quilting. I looked at it as giving the quilt some character. After all, don't we all drool over antique quilts because of the imperfections? :) Good luck and I'm anxious to see how your beauty turns out!!!

    1. Hi, Corn and Wine. I think that if this quilt were a wall-hanging I try to quilt it without enlarging the back. But because the quilt is so large and there's only an inch on either side.... I got up the day after this post and decided to bite the bullet and take the layers apart to add extra width to one side. I hope it all works out. I do love the imperfections in vintage quilts -- and I suspect that this quilt will have plenty of imperfections by the time I'm finished with it. Thanks for your encouragement.


I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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