Toile fabric in blue background with red figures.

COLLECTING TOILE FABRIC & HOW I USE THEM IN QUILTS? I am that odd person who collects toile fabrics. Yes, the weird prints that involve people, scenery, or animals that are two colors. They look like something your grandma may have used. I admit it – I am obsessed with collecting toile fabrics.  All colors and designs. 

Toile with white background and skeletons dressed in colonial clothing.

According to Masterclass ( ) “Toile comes from a French word meaning linen cloth….originally produced in Ireland in the 18th century….became known as toile de Jouy or toile…..designs were single-color prints on a white background featuring pastoral scenes, vignettes with people from the French country, and references to European mythology. The subject matter has changed…classic, provincial aesthetic and simple, single-color design remains the standard for toile today.”

Celebrating Abe toile
“Celebrating Abe” toile

I honestly cannot explain my fascination with these fabrics, but I rarely pass them up when I find this fabric for sale.

Toile fabric in white background with brown figures.

At this point, you are asking, “what does this weird fabric have to do with quilting?”

Toile with cream background and blue buildings.

The piles grew bigger and crawled from the cupboard to the floor and continued to grow. One day I was complaining to my husband about needing to piece together a backing for a quilt.

Toile with white background and brown buildings and animals.

He listened patiently (nope, didn’t even roll his eyes) and asked me why I didn’t use all the fabric that was in piles on the floor? What exactly was I saving it for? Eureka!!!!!!! What a great way to use the toile and not have to cut up the gorgeous fabric!!!!

Toile with yellow background and blue scenery and people.

My beautiful stash is finally being used without a whole lot of cutting it up into small pieces that I don’t find pretty at all. (However, I am trying to come up with a pattern to actually try to put some of this wonderful fabric into a quilt top).

See one of my quilts with a toile backing:

The photos here are toile fabrics that are currently in my extensive collection.

Toile fabric with white background and red scenery and people.

Another section of "Celebrating Abe" toile
Another section of “Celebrating Abe” toile

Quilters, we all have that stash of our favorite fabric that we pet, look at, run our hands across, rearrange, and buy more of but do not ever use.  Who says the back of the quilt must be some plain fabric? Let’s give our quilts pretty backings.


  1. I’m enjoying the design and layout of your website. It is very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often. Fantastic work! So many ideas. Thanks for sharing your designs and thoughts.

    1. Thank you for the kind words. So glad this quilt blog is useful and enjoyable for you. Happy quilting.

  2. You’ve got an amazing quilting blog right here! Subscribed so I get all your posts. Reading back thru the old posts – wow – a wealth of ideas.

  3. I currently live/work in France. Toile fabric was and seems to still be very popular in quilts. I have gotten some to use for the quilt backs but haven’t tried yet to use in the quilt top. You’ve made me think that I should give it a whirl. Love your blog. Keep up the great work.

    1. Enjoy your time in France. Toile is fun to work with – it also makes beautiful quilt backs. Happy quilting.

  4. First time on this fab blog. U cover so much and have so many ideas. I have been reading thru the posts this morning – Wow there is so much here! Subscribed.

    1. So glad you enjoy this quilt blog. Yes, I have many ideas – way more than will ever get into finished quilts. Thank you for subscribing. Happy quilting.

  5. I have some pieces of this fabric that are several meters long. Fab idea to use for quilt backs. Cheers.

    1. Toile makes great quilt backs. Sometimes I flip the quilt over, so the toile back is up – reversible quilt…. Happy quilting.

  6. What a great post. Thought I was the only quilter collecting these wonderful and under-appreciated fabrics. These prints are great in quilts. Keep sharing your thoughts and projects.

    1. I love toile! Quilts made with this fabric just have an old-world charm. Thank you for subscribing to this blog. Happy quilting.

  7. I was very pleased to find this quilting website. Thanks for this wonderful read!! I am enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

  8. I’m impressed with this quilt blog that is both educational and entertaining. Your ideas for quilts are fun. I am very happy that I stumbled across this blog.

    1. I am glad you visited my quilt blog. Hopefully you found at least one project to make for yourself, or ideas that will help you as you make quilts.

  9. I subscribed some time ago to this blog, and continue to suggest this quilt blog to other quilters. Thank you for all the helpful tips, and encouragement to make quilts in our own creative way. You are wonderful!

  10. I have been interested in toile fabric for many years, and collect it too. I stumbled on this post and what wonderful ideas of using toile in a quilt or as the back. Thank you.

  11. This is a very nice post. I started a quilt blog years ago, but did not put the effort or work into it to make it a success. You obviously spend a lot of time not only writing the blog itself, but doing quilts and quilt related things.

    I love toile fabric, but never purchased any because it did not seem like something to go into a quilt. Thanks for the inspiration. I see this as another project for the future.

    Thanks again for the great blog.

    1. Thank you for the kind words about this blog. Yes, I do put many hours a week into it. I am hoping to make some income from it, but I want it to remain a fun blog that other quilters get ideas and encouragement from most of all.

      Happy quilting.

  12. My brother is a quilter and recommended this web site to me. I have been reading the posts for the last week and have enjoyed it a lot. Thank you for sharing your creativity and passion for quilts.

    I love toile fabric and while not intending to collect it, now have a large collection of this stuff. I had never considered using it in quilting, but after this post maybe I should.

    1. Toile fabric is fascinating to me. I don’t really know what draws me to it, but I have way too much of it. Toile does make beautiful quilts, or the backs of quilts. Collecting fabrics is fun, but using the fabric is more fun in my opinion.

  13. Excellent post. I love this quilt blog and have been a subscriber for several months. You make quilting so user friendly. Keep up the great work.

    1. I am so glad you love this blog and find it to be user friendly. My goal is to make quilting a fun, and simple activity that any level quilter can do. Happy quilting.

  14. Wonderful quilt blog! I discovered this post while looking for information on toile fabrics. I am now taking time to read some of your other posts. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you for the kind words, I am so pleased you took time to visit my quilt blog. Have a great day.

  15. I recently discovered this quilt blog, and am reading it from the oldest post to the newest. I think you have a lot of good information, and so many ideas to use for my own quilting. Thank you. Bookmarked.

    1. I am always glad to know that other quilters are finding this a helpful, fun, or encouraging blog to visit. Please subscribe so you get all the new posts too.

  16. This is the greatest quilt blog ever! You make it easy to understand why and how you do the quilts you make and share with us readers. I love toile fabric but never buy it because I don’t know what to do with it. Thanks to this post now I do. The next quilt I make is going to have a toile backing. Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing.

    1. Toile is beautiful and makes for wonderful quilt backs. I am glad you are enjoying this blog. Thanks for the kind words. Happy quilting.

  17. Very good written information. So much here to see and absorb about quilting. What a great idea to use toile for backings on quilts. A totally reversible quilt.

  18. Good post. I have collected toile fabric for more years than I want to admit and did not want to cut it up for quilts. My future quilts will be getting toile as the backing. Thanks so much for sharing this idea.

    1. You are so welcome. I know what you mean – toile is just too pretty to cut up into small pieces. Toile makes beautiful quilt backs.

  19. Hi there, I loved this post. It absolutely is such a practical solution to a large collection of toile fabric in my sewing room. Thanks much.

  20. I am so impressed with this quilt blog. Fresh ideas are exactly what I need. I subscribed too so I don’t miss any posts.

  21. Just a note to tell you thanks for solving my daughter’s angst about cutting up her toile fabric. She has collected it for years but couldn’t figure out how to use it in her quilts. She and I spent several hours looking for ideas and ran across this post on your quilt blog. She has already pieced two quilt backs together using fabric her toile collection and is just in love with the whole idea. Both of us are trying to figure out why we never thought of this before. Thanks, thanks, thanks.

    1. You are so welcome. I love how toile looks and it makes for beautiful backs to quilts. Happy quilting.

  22. Hello there! I collect batiks so I can understand the whole problem of what to do with this fabric. Also not wanting to cut it up. Looks like you found the perfect solution by making quilt backs out of your toile fabrics. Great idea for my batiks too.

    1. Collecting certain types of fabrics seems to be a common issue among quilters. Some people seem to be really good with cutting those fabrics up and using them in the quilt tops. I am not good at cutting up the toile so this is my solution. Glad it will make a solution for you too.

      Happy quilting.

  23. Fun idea. Thanks for sharing. I collect Kaffe fabrics and then can’t cut them so your idea is a great one for me too.

    1. Glad to help you. Collecting fabrics is so much fun but I feel guilty if I don’t use it so this is my solution.

      Happy quilting.

  24. I was very happy to find this quilt website. I wanted to thank you for your time and for this excellent read!! I positively enjoying every little little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new posts as they come out.

    1. I am so glad you found this blog and are enjoying it. I have lots of ideas for quilts and other tips to share so please keep coming back.

      Happy quilting.

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