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Thread: What to use for quilt backing?

  1. #1
    Senior Member pscott392's Avatar
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    I am extremely new to the quilting world and would like to know what you use for your quilt backs. I had thought of using a bed sheet, but a quilting friend of mine said NEVER to use them because they are woven differently and will shrink differently from the pieced top. Any and all advice will be extremely appreciated.

  2. #2
    Super Member StitchinJoy's Avatar
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    I used a sheet once. I was very new and also very poor, so I used what I had-- an old twin sheet that didn't fit the bed we had. It was poly and cotton. It didn't shrink at all but my all cotton brand new fabric top did shrink a bit. The batting bearded through the sheet backing where it was quilted. And oh, I was quite disappointed.

    Now I use only cotton, all 100% quilt shop quality cotton, and I prewash the fabric for the top and the backing. I don't like surprises.

  3. #3
    Super Member cherylynne's Avatar
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    I always use 100% cotton. Sometimes I buy the wide width so that I have no seams. I'm sure that there are other fabrics that others use successfully. I have used flannel, but it does make for a heavy quilt. Doesn't slip off, though.

  4. #4
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    We have just been discussing this topic recently. Read back a little of do a search. Bedsheets make wonderful backings -both cotton and flannel. Using yardage is great too but will cost considerbly more. It's your quilt, back it your way.

  5. #5
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    You can use almost any thing for backings! Depends on how much you want to spend , weight, top fabric ect. I have used sheets with no problems
    S, flannel, old clothes, fleece, mink, there's a fabric called cuddle that I saw. Suppose to be soft. Have fun and be creative!

  6. #6
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
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    My great grandmother made me a quilt that had wool coats & left over upholstery fabric in it!

    I won't go that far but I have used old blue jeans cut into squares, sheets--cotton & poly/cotton, flannel, extra wide cotton, and double sided pieced cotton. Bearding is usually a problem with the batting--not the backing fabric. If it came through poly/cotton--it would have poured through muslin. Sheets are actually more tightly woven than most quilt shop quality cottons. Even the cheap sheets are 150 thread count whereas the best quilting cottons are less than 100. The main problem with using sheets is some types pill so there will be little nubbies but some muslins pill, also and due to the higher thread count, they are harder for hand-quilters to quilt through. Some threads and/or quilting machines may not like the tighter woven sheets either but can usually be coerced to play nice.

  7. #7
    Super Member kathdavis's Avatar
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    All the quilts I have made so far are reversible. So I back all of mine with another quilt top. I figure I have to spend the money on fabric for the backing, so I might as well try another pattern and learn from it. Sometimes, I end up liking the backs better than the fronts.

  8. #8
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    I have used sheets for backing, without a problem, as have many others. A reason not to use sheets is that sometimes the sheets have high density thread count, and that may make it difficult to quilt, but there is no other reason not to use them, if you use the lower density sheets (around 200 count).

  9. #9
    Senior Member LaurieE's Avatar
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    Basically you can use anything you want. Sheets are not woven any differently than off the bolt cotton fabric. They both have threads going vertically and horizontally. That's called the grain of the fabric. All cotton fabric has that no matter what industry turns it into. It's what you do with it that's important.

    I've used new sheets, old sheets, and fabric off the bolt. A lot of it will depend on if you are planning on hand quilting or machine quilting. If you're hand quilting, old sheets or off the bolt may be easier to needle for you. New sheets still have a lot of sizing in them and it takes quite a bit of washing to really soften them up for needling. Off the bolt may have a lot of sizing also. As you get used to touching fabric, you will begin to learn the feel of fabric with sizing.

    You will also need to consider the type of batting you're going to use as well. I usually use polyester for hand quilting. I find it needles better than cotton or the cotton/poly batting. For machine quilting, I have found cotton works best. Each type of batting will create a different effect.

    It's completely up to you on what you want to do. Keep in mind that everyone has different experiences and has had different results. There really isn't a 'right' way or 'wrong' way. There's only your way. If something doesn't turn out quite the way you thought it would, just stand back and say 'I meant for that to happen' and continue on.

    I look forward to seeing your finished quilt.

  10. #10
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    If you're going to use a sheet, PLEASE be sure to wash it first, to get all the shrinkage out of the way!

    I like to economize by buying an extra twin-size sheet and cutting it down to make several pillowcases. Once I made the mistake of not shrinking the sheet first, before cutting the fabric for the pillowcases.

    Then after the pillowcases were laundered the first time, they were no longer big enough to completely cover the pillow!

    (Which also says that most of the shrinkage was along one direction, not both... otherwise I would never have been able to even get the cases back onto the pillow at all!)

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