How do I determine the best fabric for a quilt backing?
A quilt backing should coordinate with the front of the quilt, in color and in theme. A contrasting color can also be used for a more dramatic look. Unless you plan for the quilt to be reversible, keep the emphasis on the front piecing and patterning.
Many quilts feature pieced backings. One, for better fabric use as many quilts are wider than the backing fabrics, and second, for using up scraps. Many wider fabrics are available for backings, up to 120″ wide, so that only a single length of fabric is needed for the quilt, depending on the size. When using narrower fabrics, they can be run lengthwise or crosswise, depending on the quilt size and the best use of the fabric.
Don’t hesitate to use up larger scraps on a quilt backing, creating a pleasantly pieced arrangement to coordinate with the quilt itself.
Be sure to preshrink the backing if you did that for the quilt front fabrics to avoid any distortion or color transfer when washing.