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Thread: Bedsheets for backing

  1. #1
    Suz
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    I recently received a packet from American Patchwork encouraging me to purchase their book. In it was several inserts of interest and quoting from one insert regarding using bedsheets for backing:

    "Using bedsheets to back your quilts? DON'T DO IT!

    Sheets have a high thread count, which forces your quilting needle to break the sheet's threads as it pierces through. This leaves holes in your backing and diminishes the stability of your sheet.

    Quilting fabric has a looser weave, which allows your needle to easily slide between the threads and keeps your backing fabric in tact."

    Just thought you'd like to hear their opinion. Suzanne

  2. #2
    Junior Member marty_mo's Avatar
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    I've heard that before but I also work with quilters who use sheets for their backing and has done so for years. Thanks for sharing the info.

    Anyone here use sheets? What has been your experience?

  3. #3
    Super Member Maride's Avatar
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    I only use flannel ones after washing them a few times to make sure they will shrink no more.

    Maria

  4. #4

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    I almost always use sheets. They are readily available here where backing fabric isn't. I've never had a problem and my quilts have lasted so far, but I also don't machine quilt so keep that in mind.

    Lynette

  5. #5
    BlueChicken's Avatar
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    My first ever quilt I used a black bed sheet to back it.

    I machine quilted it, although not intensely. I have to say it still looks great, and it has been through the wash a lot. It's my son's bed quilt, so it gets a thrashing.


  6. #6
    Super Member Pam Pollock's Avatar
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    I quilted 2 bed sheets together with Warm & Natural batting just to practice all my pantograph patterns when I was learning. It has been washed many times w/o problems as it's been used for a beach blanket, picnics, poolside etc.

  7. #7
    Moderator Up North's Avatar
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    I use bed sheets and when my children were little my mom made them rebersable quilts with a character sheet on each side they sure took a beating and held up just fine. They are still around someplace and my oldest is 36.

  8. #8
    BlueChicken's Avatar
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    I guess it goes back to what the quilt will be used for.... if you're creating a family heirloom to be passed from generation to generation, then maybe a bed sheet is not appropriate for the backing. But for an everyday quilt that the kids will use, maybe it's ok.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mkanderson's Avatar
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    That is all my Long Arm quilter uses is bedsheets! I take one for each quilt that she has done for me (except one) I don't get the really high thread count for them. For years I have got the 180 and 200 count and they have worn really great on all of them!!! She didn't have a problem with quilting it. I had a quilter tell me the other day that she would not quilt if I wanted a bedsheet on the back because it was too hard on the needles. I guess some people want the highest thread count that they can get thinking that the higher the better sheet!!??????!!

    It is funny.....I was thinking about this yesterday and get on here this morning and here someone is talking about it!!! Love this place and all of you!

  10. #10
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    I've used sheets for backing before and never had any trouble.

  11. #11
    Jerrie's Avatar
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    That is all i use i gets mine from Walmart and i never had any problems and other people i gave quilts say it is nice feeling i use a 200 thread count some times 300 but 200 is the main one

  12. #12
    Power Poster sandpat's Avatar
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    I'm thinking that article has been written by someone with an interest in selling quilting fabric. I personally have not used a bed sheet, but have been told that its fine when using the machine...but horrible when hand quilting. (the weave is tighter and much harder to get the needle through)...anyway...thats what I was told. I personally know of people who use them all the time and have had no problems.

  13. #13
    Senior Member redrummy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Up North
    I use bed sheets and when my children were little my mom made them rebersable quilts with a character sheet on each side they sure took a beating and held up just fine. They are still around someplace and my oldest is 36.
    I also use sheets. I made my kids twin sized blankets with their receiving blankets and backed it with kid print sheet. They loved the, my daughter still uses hers, 24 years later. A baby blanket wore out, I had to replace it, but it was easy to quilt. I ended up making 3 more, for my nieces and nephew. I tied theirs. I made a queen sized quilt, to be a keepsake and it was my first handquilted grownup large quilt. I had no trouble other than tangling thread. Now I use beeswax, and that problem is solved. I actually had more trouble quilting one with regular material. I broke needles, thread, bent needles...etc. On here I learned from others that the needles are as important as fabric. I bought betweens, changed them when the seemed dull, and another problem solved. I love the info I get from here. Love everyones piece of advice, it gives insight to help each other.

  14. #14
    Super Member Mamagus's Avatar
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    I always use sheets. Never been a problem for me and I love hand quilting!

  15. #15
    Super Member Ms Grace's Avatar
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    This is interesting. I'm really considering trying a bedsheet for the backing. Do you use a 100% cotton sheet or a 50/50 blend??? :?:

  16. #16
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I have never used one, but it is tempting. I machine quilt so it shouldn't be a problem.

  17. #17
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    I am glad to hear many of you save $$$ 's by using bed sheets for backing. Oh my goodness, they are so quick and easy to load on a frame, and there is no piecing. I buy only flat sheets, but fiber content is not a matter of concern. I use a quilting machine and love the feel of the well-washed sheets. Mine all come from the Thrift stores. Getting them for a couple of dollars makes the quilt cheaper to produce. My quilts are given to charities so I make them the most economical way possible.

    Quilters are practical!!


  18. #18
    Senior Member quiltnana's Avatar
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    I can remember my grandma using sheets for backing her quilts as a mater of money. But she always used up everything including my grandpa's clothes for quilting. If you are making your quilt to show then maybe I would not use sheets but for practical quilts I don't see why not. I have three quilts my grandma made in the 40's with sheets and clothes and they are so soft and snuggly and thats the way it should be....treasured.

  19. #19
    Super Member Barb M's Avatar
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    I have used bedsheets on every quilt ive done. No problem with handquilting, and absolutely no problem machine quilting lol, the sheets break the needles??? lol and punch holes in the fabric, i suppose if you are using a large needle, but i just use my regular 12 needle, and have not had any problems...think about it, the bedsheets get sewn in the factory don't they, hemmed and stuff :) :) :)

  20. #20
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    Wow. I've used sheets many, many times and will continue to do so. I've never had any problems at all. I've gone to auctions and have gotten both new and old sheets extremely cheap.

  21. #21
    Super Member JoanneS's Avatar
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    Wow - this thread has been an eye-opener! I guess I've just believed what I've read in the quilting books. I did have a lot of trouble hand quilting a quilt with a sheet for backing once, so I never tried it again. However, I had not washed it several times. Maybe that was why. Now I only machine quilt, so maybe I'll try a sheet again. I LOVE this board!

  22. #22
    farscapegal
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    I don't use sheets for my backing. I like for the back of my quilt to have some of the fabric I use on front or something that goes with it.

    Just my preference.

    Sybil

  23. #23
    Senior Member Shelley's Avatar
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    SOME sheets work just fine. Others cause major problems. I have one on the machine right now, and I'm at a loss what to do.

    It's an old (previously) hand quilted quilt. Some of the threads have worn away, and she just wanted me to put machine quilting in the missing areas. This quilt has been wash numerous times. It's been well used - some of the embroidery has been worn away, too. It has a very thin cheap batting.

    It was one of her first quilts, and she's been doing this a long time now.

    I've used every white thread in the place, top and bottom. I've adjusted tension, speed. I've even said bad words (then promptly apologized - my studio is in a former church). I use a practice piece on the side and get beautiful stitches, with every combination of threads. Move to the quilt and get [email protected]!! Huge skips.

    If it weren't for previous bad results with sheets, I wouldn't know the problem. For the charity quilts, all of us who use the longarm to quilt them have said no more sheets, unless they are flannel. It's not worth the hassle.

  24. #24
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    i've used sheets . no problem with whites, but the dark ones lose their new look after washing. that crisp color is gone. as for thread count, bring it on. i don't mind changing a needle in exchange for a backing that lasts forever.
    i've even wrapped the edges and they do not wear out at all. i've been very satisfied. i only use cotton and i pre-wash, especially darks. i buy or make matching pillowcases. one twin sheet will give you four pillowcases, if you don't mind ones with seams all the way around.

  25. #25
    Super Member MaryStoaks's Avatar
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    I usually use sheets for backing. I find them at discount stores, thrift stores, garage sales etc. I always have my eyes open for a bargain sheet or fabric. I like to find all cotton but If it's poly/cotton it works too. I like the higher thread count but you can't always have everything. I quilt with my Tin Lizzie, no problems, I do change needles often. I have used 108" wide cotton quilt backing fabric, it's very nice for "special" quilts, but give me a sheet for the price ( used sheet >$3 vs. $30 for the wide quilt fabric).
    Mary

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