Tips and Tutorials on the 22nd – #29 – Wash Your Back!

Welcome to the May edition of Tips and Tutorials on the 22nd #TTot22. Yes, you read the title right and this tip is not about your bathing habits! Although, I have to admit that in my current state (broken ankle) I need more help with the simple tasks than I used to. However, the upcoming hint is a cautionary tale for those who wonder about what seems to be a lot more shrinking on a big quilt. But, before I get to my tip, I wanted to remind you of the fun link-ups we had last month.

Yvonne linked up her tip on Conquering Curves. She is a curve-master (I used to have a foot for my Elna called that), and Yvonne can really help you overcome your fears of working with curves. She really understands how to tame the curve and make it sew like a dream.

Second, there is a great tutorial by Jennifer of Dizzy Quilter on quilting with denim. I especially love Jennifer’s tips about tools and what kinds of denim to “hoard”.

My tutorial was about lining a patch pocket. I used an orphan block and lined it, so that it could be used in a bag or on a journal cover or even attached to the inside of a jacket, where a pocket would be needed. I would want the patch to be lined, so the seams don’t come apart during use. It is a nifty little trick, if I do say so.

So, why wash your backing for a quilt??? Most of my quilts are to be used, loved and washed. I want to be accurate about size and have found that some of my quilts are loosing more size than I would like.

Backings, especially the 108″ wide backings are looser woven than many of our quilting cottons. I just noticed on Backside Fabrics that they are including this caution on their website. You see these backings can shrink a little more than our quilting fabrics – up to 8% shrinkage!

Personally, I have seen a 80″ x 80″ top get shrunk down to 72″ x 72″. The shrinking could be from both the backing AND the quilting. We like denser quilting than we used to and that shrinks up the quilt a bit. SO, some people are saying the combination can lead to a 10% shrinkage on a quilt. YIKES…that explains how 80″ became 72″!

My recent queen quilt was made to take this into account. I washed the 108″ backing, but I haven’t yet measured it to see what the shrinkage was. I am hoping that this way I reduced one of the shrinking variables and it will keep some of generous overhang that I wanted on this particular quilt. It isn’t quilted yet, so I can’t tell you the results, but I will. This quilt will be washed before it goes to its new home, so watch for more details on this experiment!


Now it’s your turn to post, and the rules are simple – write up a tip or group of tips or a tutorial that is quilting or sewing-related and link that post below. The linky party is open from midnight on the 22nd, through midnight on May 31st. The post does not have to be new but should be one that hasn’t been linked to Tips and Tutorials in the past. If you don’t have a blog, please send it to me ( and I will post your tip or tutorial for you!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

In case you didn’t know, if you have missed some past #TTot22, you can check them out in the tab at the top of my page or on my Pinterest board.

I am not quilting at the moment due to my broken ankle. The machine and all the tools are upstairs, and I am not doing those stairs (there are a number of pie-shaped steps) until I can be weight bearing on my right ankle. So, for a little bit, there will be less of me here than usual. I long to be back to sewing, and do have an applique project that I am going to get to, tomorrow, so you will see something about that soon!

Coming Up on My Blog:
Tips and Tutorials on the 22nd – 6/22

Disclaimer: *Links with asterisk indicate an affiliate link and as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Your price is not any different, but a small percentage of the sale will go to supporting my blog.


  1. May 22, 2022 / 9:08 AM

    I have a wide backing that has a lot of sizing in it, and I’ve been debating whether to wash it. Now I have my answer!

  2. May 22, 2022 / 2:25 PM

    Wide backs can shrink quite a bit! I know that everyone has different preferences on prewashing or not, but at some point to get a backing that is large enough means that you need to leave it unwashed if you don’t want seams. It’s a tricky balance!

  3. May 23, 2022 / 8:15 AM

    Well this is a great tip, thank you! I’ve noticed the weave is a bit loser… I am about to load Pop Star for quilting (have been mulling over ideas for the past week) and I’ll be using once again a wide backing from Benartex. The previous one of theirs I used was for a quilt in Make Modern, which I have yet to wash… So when I do, because it is on the sectional in our living room, though not being used at present since it’s summer, I will be sure to NOT put it in the dryer even for my usual five minutes. And I am going to pre-wash this one, which is the same line, just a different colour. Thank you! On my list of to-do’s is doing more curved piecing. I’ve done a lot of free-form à la Karla Alexander, and a bunch of painstaking curves for NY Beauty blocks, but need to get back at it, and also use my Betty Crockerass templates I recently purchased!

  4. May 31, 2022 / 9:33 AM

    I never even thought about the backs being an issue. But I have mostly used regular quilting cotton for my backs. Great idea.

  5. June 16, 2022 / 7:48 AM

    So sorry to hear about your ankle Kathleen, and I hope you heal quickly and painlessly. Great tip about the backing. I’ve not purchased any wide backing as I usually piece my backings, but I have my eye on some for my next project – good to know!

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