Heather Thomas

Figuring Yardage for Quilt Backs

Heather Thomas
Sign in
Duration:   6  mins

Knowing how to figure out the amount of backing fabric that is required for a quilt is a great skill to have. Not only will it ensure that you always buy enough fabric for your project, but learning how to figure it out before having to just measure the pieced quilt top can allow you to purchase all of your fabric at the same time. Heather Thomas shows you how to calculate the amount of yardage of fabric you need for different sizes of quilts.

Doing the Math

To first determine how much backing fabric is required, you must know what size of quilt you are making—for example, a quilt for a twin-size mattress or a queen-size mattress. Heather shows how to use the standard size of a mattress and add in extra fabric requirements for quilting and what is known as the drop. This final measurement is how large the pieced quilt top will be. Heather then explains that extra yardage is required around the perimeter of the quilt depending on the type of quilting being done.

In general, you always want the backing fabric at least a few inches larger than the quilt top to account for any movement or shifting that can happen during the quilting process. More excess fabric is required for machine-quilting over hand-quilting, and even more still if you plan to use a longarm quilting machine or send it out to be quilted.

Heather then walks you through the math several times to ensure you see how to do the math for yourself, in case your quilt is a different size than one of the example sizes she shows. She then shows how to turn the large number figured into an easy yardage measurement. Check out more videos for tips to backing on reversible quilts as well as more tips on cutting and measurements.

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

Make a comment:
characters remaining

6 Responses to “Figuring Yardage for Quilt Backs”

  1. tj

    The incorrect spelling of equasion should be spelled equation.

  2. Carol Willhoit

    Thank you so much! Your video is very clear and easy to understand.

  3. Janice

    Where can I get a copy of her cheet sheet that she said we can use?

  4. Janice

    Where can I find a copy of her cheet sheet that she said we can use?

  5. Lauren Schafer

    Thank..this was very informative...but I really would love information on wide backing fabric and how to figure out the conversion from regular width fabric to wide backing fabric. Thanks!

  6. Grace

    Where do I locate the print out with these instructions so I can do the math on my next quilt?

Get exclusive premium content! Sign up for a membership now!