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.