The Mythical Pieced Orphan Block Backing

001We all say we want to use up scraps, but well, most of us don’t make scrap quilts.  And if we do make scrap quilts, we march right out and buy that big extra wide fabric for the backing.  Guilty!  But as you know, I keep trying to do some stash reduction.  For my most recent quilt, I pulled out a few blocks I had already made (see my gadget challenge) and another one that I made in complimentary colors for the quilt.  I did have one piece that was 2 yards that was in my stash.  The rest is just smaller pieces from my stash.

Please don’t think I invented this method of taking a block or two and putting it in a strip of fabric so that it makes a “panel”.  I’ve done my own version of it for a while, but I usually only use cutoffs from the front or leftover pieces.  And note, I am not trying to center anything.  The lighter blue on either side of my panels is actually a two yard strip.  I started with it, made and added the red panel.  Then I had a small piece of the same light blue (oriented the other direction–it’s a directional fabric) that I added to the red panel.  Then I used up several blocks and made the darker blue panel and sewed it to the right of the narrow blue strip.  Then I sewed the light blue fabric (2 yard piece) to that panel and made a tube.  At that point, I had 4 panels joined in a tube.  To finish the backing, I randomly selected a spot to tear the fabric so that it looks like I have 5 panels.  And neither of my block panels are centered either horizontally or vertically.  That’s too much pressure.

Honestly, I could have made a couple of more panels and maximized scrap usage.  But that’s enough for today.  How about you?  Do you ever make scrap backings to use up your orphan blocks?  I only used 5 on this backing, but I have used more.  And used those big purchased solid backs too.


3 thoughts on “The Mythical Pieced Orphan Block Backing

  1. I recently finished my Orca Bay and had leftover fabric from the top and no backing. I ended up using most of the leftover fabric and pieced together 4 large stars fro the backing. They’re not perfect as star points around the outside edge are cut off, but it made for a nice color-coordinated double sided quilt

  2. I think this is a great idea.. you can use either side of the quilt and it will still look great. I , for one am guilty of buying the wider fabrics for backings ,, I used one and after that it was too easy to convince me that is the way to go.
    Your backing looks great!

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