I remember first learning to hand embroider, and my mom instructing me that the mark of a talented sewer could be found on the back of her work. The back of my work should always be neat as the front. It’s a lesson I sew by still, and I’ve extended it even further. I always embellish the back of my projects. I think it adds a nice finishing touch, and it reminds me of my mom’s wise words. On the back of cards, I simply add a coordinating stamp. Many of you have seen my knit blankets, that I back and bind like quilts. And on my quilts, my baby quilts in particular, I like to applique the back, usually with something just as basic as the alphabet.
Here’s a quilt I made for my little guy three years ago. The front is a very simple rail fence design, which is a great pattern for a beginner to start with. And, as I’ve told you before, I know my talents do not include free motion quilting at this point, so the quilting is basic “stitch in the ditch” straight line sewing: the perfect set-up for embellishing the back of this quilt. I machine applique the pieces on after much of the quilting has been completed. Yes, this is the more cumbersome way to do this. It is much more difficult to get a partially quilted piece of fabric through your machine than just a simple piece of cotton that you will eventually use as your quilt backing, but I don’t trust myself to applique the pieces exactly square and then match that up with the quilt front while I’m basting. If I remember correctly, for this quilt I finished the “in the ditch” sewing around the center 25-patch, then folded back the quilt top and batting while I appliqued the letters and numbers to the quilt back, then did the little bit of quilting that was left around the inner border.
And, here’s another great tip that I discovered while making this quilt. Instead of purchasing stencils or templates for these letters and numbers, or trying to freehand draw them, I simply played around with my word processing program on my computer. I found a font I liked and printed out a few different sizes of the letters. I cut them out and placed them around my quilt, then chose which size I felt filled the space appropriately. I then used the cut out letters as my templates, and traced them onto my double-sided fusible. You know the rest!
Next time your quilt needs a little extra something, I encourage you to flip it over and think about what you could create on that beautiful blank canvas!
Nikki, In Stitches
Other Possibly Related Posts from Nikki, In Stitches: