Monday, September 12, 2011

Cutting your Backing Fabric : Across the Sea QAL


OK!!! We're moving on to the back of the quilt today! Exciting times. I hope by now you are totally in love with your quilt top and just can't wait to get started on the back.

This back is based on the concept of crosses arranged randomly to give a floating effect. It might look a little bit tricky for a beginner but I promise you its not! I've done all the Maths on it (for those of you who know me and are laughing at that statement, you will no doubt have already guessed that it took a whole weekend and my brain coming close to imploding, lol!) and will walk you through it. There is piecing, but it is in big, wide strips and should come together quite quickly. The only fiddly bit is the bordered cross block which is straightforward really, it just needs a little bit of extra care when piecing because the pieces are small. And its only 1 block (or two for the lap size) so its definitely worth the extra bit of work for that nice effect.

So, lets get started, will we?  Please read this post fully before starting to cut!!

Cutting Instructions:

For the large backing fabric strips cut as follows. All the strips are cut Width of Fabric (WOF), as the amount of fabric required for continuous strips would be very high. Also, I don't mind seams in my strips as they disappear once they are quilted. However, if you wish to have continuous strips, and have sufficient fabric, please follow Jennifer's directions for how to cut long continous strips. My instructions assume that your fabric is 43" wide (excluding selvedges). If it is less than this you will need to cut more strips.

Prepare your fabric for cutting. I strongly recommend reading this tutorial before starting. You might even want to cut a small test strip first to make sure your lines are straight. I used an extra wide fabric, so I needed to fold it twice. However, for standard width fabric, you only need fold it once. Line up your selvedges and your raw & folded edges against your lines on your cutting board.


Cut for a straight edge, then cut:

Baby size:
4 x 12.5" strips
3 x 9.5" strips

Lap size:
7 x 12.5" strips
3 x 9.5" strips


As my ruler is 6.5" wide, I use the cutting board measuring lines for my measurements. To get an accurate half inch cut, I line up the half inch line on my ruler with the relevant line on my cutting board. This gives me an accurate cut of the last half inch.


I know you all are aware of this but I feel I need to make sure you can hear your mother/grandmother/home economics teacher's advice ringing in your ears: Measure TWICE, cut once! These strips are so wide, its easy to make a mistake!!!!

Next we will cross cut the WOF strips to give our backing pieces.

Baby Size

Take 3 of your 12.5" WOF strips and carefully cut the selvedges off. Then measure and cross cut the first strip at 9.5". This should leave you with a 9.5" piece, and a 33.5" strip. (If your fabric is wider than 43", trim the longer piece to 33.5".) Repeat this twice more, which will leave you with 3 x 33.5" strips and 3 x 9.5" strips.



Take the last 12.5" WOF strip and lay flat. Cut off your selvedges. Measure 21.5" from your cut edge and cut giving you 2 x 21.5" strips.

Set aside these pieces. Next, take your 9.5" WOF strips and cut the selvedges off. Take one of the strips and cross cut 2 pieces 12" each. These two pieces will be sewn to each of your WOF strips to give you 2 long strips measuring 54.5".


* If you have extra wide fabric, or sufficient quantity to cut continuous lengths, you use the technique in Jennifer's post to cut your fabric in a different way, once you end up with the required pieces above.


Lap Size

Take 2 of your 12.5" WOF strips and carefully cut the selvedges off. Then measure and cross cut the strips at 9.5". This should leave you with a 9.5" piece, and a 33.5" strip from each WOF strip. (If your fabric is wider than 43", trim the longer piece to 33.5".)

Take the next 12.5" WOF strip and lay flat. Cut off your selvedges. Measure 21.5" from your cut edge and cut giving you 2 x 21.5" strips.

For your next 12.5" WOF strip, cross cut a 24.5" strip and a 9.5" strip from it. Then make two further cross cuts to give you two 3" strips. Each 3" piece will be joined to a WOF strip to give you 2 x 45.5" strips (the join will not appear in your quilt back but is needed in order for the strips to line up properly).

Lastly, from the 5th 12.5" WOF strip cross cut a 9.5" piece. Set aside the rest of this strip to use in a moment.

The final two 12.5" WOF strips just need the selvedges cut off leaving 2 x 43" strips.

Next, take your three 9.5" WOF strips and cut the selvedges off. Take one of the strips and cross cut a piece 24" long.  Then take the leftover part of the 5th 12.5" wide strip above, and trim it to a width of 9.5" to match the 3 pieces you have cut. Then cross cut your new 9.5" wide strip to 24". This will leave you with 2 strips measuring 9.5" x 24" .These two pieces will be sewn to each of your WOF strips to give you 2 long strips measuring 66.5".


* If you have extra wide fabric, or sufficient quantity to cut continuous lengths, you use the technique in Jennifer's post to cut your fabric in a different way, once you end up with the required pieces above.


Set aside your backing strips and move on to cut your fabric for your cross blocks.

For these crosses, I used some of the same fabric I had used on the front crosses, with a some new fabric mixed in. Whether you want to repeat, or go for new fabrics is totally up to you! By now you'll be familiar with how to cut these, so I am going to give the measurements only. If you need help with cutting, just drop me an email.


We are making 4 different cross blocks.
If you are making the baby size, cut 1 of each size.
If you are making the lap size, you will need to cut one of each size, plus an extra Block 2 and an extra Block 4, giving 6 cross blocks in total.

For these blocks, because there are so many pieces in similar sizes, particularly for the background fabric, I recommend separating each block out clearly while you are cutting. I put all my pieces for each block into small ziploc bags as I cut so I can't mix them up.



Block 1: Same as cross block for quilt front.
Cross fabric - 1 piece (4.5" x 4.5"), 4 pieces of (4.5" x 2.5")
Background fabric - 4 pieces of (4.75" x 4.75"), 4 pieces of (4.5" x 2.75")

Block 2:
Cross Fabric - 1 piece (2.5" x 2.5"), 4 pieces (2.5" x 1.5")
Background Fabric - 4 pieces (2.5" x 2.5"), 4 pieces (2.5" x 1.5"), 2 pieces (6.5" x 3.75") and 2 pieces (13" x 3.75")

Block 3:
Cross Fabric - 1 piece (3.5" x 3.5"), 4 pieces (2" x 3.5")
Background Fabric - 4 pieces (2" x 3.5"), 4 pieces (3.5" x 3.5"), 2 pieces (13" x 2.25"), 2 pieces (9.5" x 2.25")


Block 4: (Bordered Cross Block)
Cross Fabric - 1 piece (4.5" x 4.5"), 4 pieces (4.5" x 2.5")
Border Fabric - 4 pieces (1.5" x 4.5"), 12 pieces (2.5" x 1.5"), 4 pieces (1.5" x 1.5")
Background Fabric - 4 pieces, (1.5" x 4.5"), 12 pieces (2.5" x 1.5"), 4 pieces (3.5" x 1.5")

Note re: Bordered Cross Block:

When you are cutting the fabric for your cross "border", its up to you if you want to go scrappy, or keep it all the same fabric, and whether to contrast or compliment the cross fabric. I went with contrasting. The only thing that is important is not to use a directional fabric print for the cross borders as it will make it really difficult to figure out the placement of the fabric.


Ok, have you got all that? I hope it makes sense, if not, leave me a comment. We'll be piecing the cross blocks on Thursday, and then assmbling it all next Monday!

And, remember to check back Wednesday when I have a great Kona giveaway coming up!

5 comments:

Di @ Willowbeck Designs said...

Wow you post early in the morning! Thanks for the excellent instructions. I will get to it this morning.

Judith said...

Well done on a great tute S. I might be putting soft fleece on the back of my cot quilt so won't be going pieced, but I really love your floating crosses design. Jxo

Sarah said...

Great back, and tutorial! The different sized crosses looks really good :-)

Katy Cameron said...

Uh, yeah, I think my head just rotated about 3 times lol Love the look of it, but I just realised I need to recalculate all of mine as I've missed out the white border on the front. Think I'll see how it'll all go together before I put cutting blade to fabric...

Jennifer @ Ellison Lane Quilts said...

Great post Sarah. I'll get to work cutting! :)