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Thread: Using sheets for backing???

  1. #1
    Senior Member echobluff's Avatar
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    Please, please don't take this wrong...This by all means is nothing against those of you who use sheets for backing. This is just curiosity on my part. I've seen numerous posts on here saying you've used sheets for backing fabric. I understand the financial point of using sheets, but...Are these sheets 100% cotton? Are they of the same quality as quilting cotton? Are they woven the same as quilting cotton? I have 100% cotton Walmart sheets on my bed that are way higher thread count than my quilting cottons. After many washings, the sheets still aren't as soft/pliable as my fabrics. All of the time I spend planning, purchasing, cutting, piecing my quilt, I would never consider using sheets for backing fabric. I guess I'm just funny that way. I use 100% cotton fabric (no poly/cotton), 100% cotton thread (no cotton covered polyester) and Warm and Natural batting, for the following reasons: 1) Poly/cotton fabric doesn't get as soft as cotton, no matter how much it's laundered. 2) Using polyester thread when piecing/quilting cotton, the polyester filaments act like a knife and will cut cotton fibers...not something I want after everything that's gone into making a quilt to be loved/used. 3) I've found that poly batting beards more quickly than cotton. Plus, I like the "drapiness" of quilts made with cotton batting. Okay...I'll get down off my soapbox now (LOL) and look forward to hearing all your feedback. Have a great day! :-D

  2. #2
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    The sheets I use for backing are 100 percent cotton, and I actually PREFER used ones to new. The older ones have been washed many times, any color loss has already occurred, any shrinkage has already happened, and now I can cut and sew it to my satisfaction. To me, the older ones are better made and seem thicker than most of the new ones, with the possible exception of some of the higher priced ones, and at least one of those I'v felt didn't seem that a high quality for the big bucks.

    I use poly mainly for its long lasting quality, but for a very fine one, just don't know. Never made one that might be show quality, only for kids and friends and myself.

  3. #3
    Super Member suezquilts's Avatar
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    I purchase 100% cotton sheets 200 count for backings.
    I have been using them on quilts I'm giving away, graduation and such.
    I havent' used them on my personal quilts, only because I usually have something in mind for them.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Kat Sews's Avatar
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    I use what I have or can afford. Some of the quilts I have made using poly blends have been the nicest and most loved quilts. Since baby and childrens (even grown children) quilts are loved and washed to death it dosent make sense to use the weaker 100% cotton for those. Some of my quilts have won ribbons in the county fair and thats good enough for me.

  5. #5
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    I used sheets once, did not like the result, would not do it again. They way I figure it, the cost of backing is about the same as buying good sheets, and I get a better selection.

  6. #6
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by echobluff
    reasons: 1 2) Using polyester thread when piecing/quilting cotton, the polyester filaments act like a knife and will cut cotton fibers...not something I want after everything that's gone into making a quilt to be loved/used.
    This is a myth and totally not true. So please do not continue to perpetuate this old wives tale.

    From Superior threads:

    Will polyester thread really tear the fabric in my quilt?

    Thread will not tear through a fabric solely due to its fiber content. If a thread ever tears through a fabric, it is because it won the strength contest. In a battle of heavy use and high stress placed on a quilt, the strongest component will always win. It is not accurate to say that a polyester thread is stronger than cotton. I have a spool of thread on my desk labeled 100% cotton quilting thread. It is a very well known brand, widely available, and is one of the top selling machine quilting and piecing threads. It is twice as strong as a comparable polyester thread. Although it isn't labeled as such, it is coated with a glaze which strengthens the cotton fibers and makes the thread rather wiry. In a strength test, it beats a comparable size poly, rayon, and metallic every time. In a heavily used quilt, this stiff, wiry cotton thread could do more damage than a soft polyester thread. And it is 100% cotton.

    The point is this: The traditions, myths, and rumors that polyester thread will tear the quilt are not true

    Source: http://www.superiorthreads.com/educa...dition-or-myth

  7. #7
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    Many years ago I hand-quilted a quilt with a sheet as the backing. I'm sure it was a higher thread count than the cotton fabric, and it was miserable to quilt. Then a friend and I went together to work on a quilt for a mutual friend, and she bought a sheet to use as the backing. I washed it three times (probably not enough times!), and when I tried to use it on my longarm, it caused nothing but trouble with tension. I've found that using wide backing is much better - my machine likes it, and so do I. I'm happy for those who have used sheets and like them - it's just not something that works for me.

  8. #8
    Super Member Murphy's Avatar
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    Amen and thank you for clarifying and sharing this information.

    Quote Originally Posted by feline fanatic
    Quote Originally Posted by echobluff
    reasons: 1 2) Using polyester thread when piecing/quilting cotton, the polyester filaments act like a knife and will cut cotton fibers...not something I want after everything that's gone into making a quilt to be loved/used.
    This is a myth and totally not true. So please do not continue to perpetuate this old wives tale.

    From Superior threads:

    Will polyester thread really tear the fabric in my quilt?

    Thread will not tear through a fabric solely due to its fiber content. If a thread ever tears through a fabric, it is because it won the strength contest. In a battle of heavy use and high stress placed on a quilt, the strongest component will always win. It is not accurate to say that a polyester thread is stronger than cotton. I have a spool of thread on my desk labeled 100% cotton quilting thread. It is a very well known brand, widely available, and is one of the top selling machine quilting and piecing threads. It is twice as strong as a comparable polyester thread. Although it isn't labeled as such, it is coated with a glaze which strengthens the cotton fibers and makes the thread rather wiry. In a strength test, it beats a comparable size poly, rayon, and metallic every time. In a heavily used quilt, this stiff, wiry cotton thread could do more damage than a soft polyester thread. And it is 100% cotton.

    The point is this: The traditions, myths, and rumors that polyester thread will tear the quilt are not true

    Source: http://www.superiorthreads.com/educa...dition-or-myth

  9. #9
    Senior Member maryb44662's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by echobluff
    Please, please don't take this wrong...This by all means is nothing against those of you who use sheets for backing. This is just curiosity on my part. I've seen numerous posts on here saying you've used sheets for backing fabric. I understand the financial point of using sheets, but...Are these sheets 100% cotton? Are they of the same quality as quilting cotton? Are they woven the same as quilting cotton? I have 100% cotton Walmart sheets on my bed that are way higher thread count than my quilting cottons. After many washings, the sheets still aren't as soft/pliable as my fabrics. All of the time I spend planning, purchasing, cutting, piecing my quilt, I would never consider using sheets for backing fabric. I guess I'm just funny that way. I use 100% cotton fabric (no poly/cotton), 100% cotton thread (no cotton covered polyester) and Warm and Natural batting, for the following reasons: 1) Poly/cotton fabric doesn't get as soft as cotton, no matter how much it's laundered. 2) Using polyester thread when piecing/quilting cotton, the polyester filaments act like a knife and will cut cotton fibers...not something I want after everything that's gone into making a quilt to be loved/used. 3) I've found that poly batting beards more quickly than cotton. Plus, I like the "drapiness" of quilts made with cotton batting. Okay...I'll get down off my soapbox now (LOL) and look forward to hearing all your feedback. Have a great day! :-D
    I have used sheets (from thrift store) king size if I can find them. No, I do not always use 100% cotton fabric nor thread. I have made quilts out of everything, from flannal to polyester and never had any problems. I have used clothing from deceased persons for the family. The sheets that I use are "good" used ones that I know have been washed many times. I believe in using what you have like the folks did many years ago. Maybe my quilts are not the "professional" kind, but the people I've given them to love them. In fact, both DWR quilts were made out of sheets (front and back) and my girls love them. I also only use low-loft polyester batting in them. They are light but warm. I have not had any problems machine quilting or hand quilting that batting. This is just my way of doing things and to each his own ideas. I have pictures of a lot of my quilts on this board if you would like to see them. Happy quilting....Mary

  10. #10
    Super Member raedar63's Avatar
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    I guess my quilts are not good enough to justify lots of money on the backing . I make mostly scrap quilts . I buy my USED sheets at various places and am pleased. I guess I really don't care if they last forever. Now IF I ever get good enought to make really nice quilts I would spend the extra cash on the backing :)

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