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Thread: Sheets for backing?????????????

  1. #1
    community benefactor Knot Sew's Avatar
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    I have seen some web sites and books that say never use sheets, and others that recommend them for quilt backing.
    Walmart sells a 200 thread count, 60 cotton 40 poly sheet for $3.00 twin.{ these are available in several colors] Now if I decide to use it what are some do's and don'ts?
    In advance thank you for the advice. :P

  2. #2
    Leslee's Avatar
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    Ruthie, I think hand quilting would be torture if the backing was a sheet! Maybe one of our machine-quilting friends out there can tell us if it works when the quilt's machine sewn...?

  3. #3
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    I use sheets a lot for backing quilts. The better quality (tighter weave) sheets make hand-quilting a lot more difficult, but I think they're great for machine quilting. If I'm going to hand-quilt, I look for 180-count or less with a looser weave.
    I pre-wash in the hottest water and dry them on the highest setting to make sure they're thoroughly pre-shrunk.
    They really stand up to use and repeated washing. It could be my imagination, but I think the finished quilts are a bit warmer, too.
    It's always less expensive to use sheets for twin-size quilts or smaller. Beyond that, I do the math and calculate/compare the cost of using a sheet vs. regular fabric. (Why a queen sheet costs more than double when it isn't twice the size is beyond me, but that's the way it usually is.)
    I suppose if I was to ever make a quilt to enter into competition (as if I'd ever get that good. LOL) I'd spend the extra money on "fancy" fabric no matter the size. Otherwise, I'd rather save the money to spend on more fabric for tops. ;-)

  4. #4

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    I saw on one of the sites that a well know quilt artist said that she alway uses sheets for the back of her quilts.

    hellcat

  5. #5
    Country Quilter's Avatar
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    Thats all I use! I just bought a twin and two doubles at Walmart last week and it cost less than $25 ... its a personal preference I believe... alot of hand quilters have told me they wouldn't use them but I either tie my quilts or machine quilt them and it works wonderful for me! I just pre wash them, rip off the ends and sides and I am ready to go!

  6. #6
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    I have chosen to use sheets for the backing of quilts I plan to give away. I go to the Thrift stores and purchase Queen and King flat sheets that have been used enough to make them soft. While I am not a hand quilter, this keeps my costs low. The Long Arm quilter I use charges $40 and $50.

    A few of the quilts I made for family, I pieced the backs. The soft sheets give a good feel to the quilt for the persons using them. Some have been in soft colors and other have unusual patterns printed on them. They catch my eye and the quilter has told me that when her customers come in and see them, they remark about how pretty they are.

    It truly is a matter of choice and the type quilting you are doing. This is what works for me. The less I spend, the more I can make and donate to Battered Women's Shelter.

  7. #7
    community benefactor Knot Sew's Avatar
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    Maybe well washed is the way to go........I washed my sheet once and it has been hard going. I am hand quilting a irish chain in red and white. I am also using cotton batting. I have to wait two days between quilting sessions for my fingers to take more. Oh well live and learn. :roll:

  8. #8
    Norah's Avatar
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    My two cents worth :? is this. Most sheets have a much tighter weave than most of the fabrics we use for quilts and backing, so it is much harder to force a needle between the threads of the weave. Therefore, it is harder to hand sew, but easy to machine quilt. The sheet should wear better than the regular cottons that we piece with because it is a higher quality of fabric. Also, have any of you had trouble with the blended sheets (poly/cotton) pilling and balling up? You know, the little knots that get all over a fabric and makes you want to shave it or pick them off? That has been my experience, but sometimes I buy cheap sheets. Could be I get what I am paying for. :roll:

  9. #9
    quiltinlily's Avatar
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    Dear sister,
    I just read on www.quiltville.com not to use them. Go on Bonnie's site and read her comments and she will tell you not to use them for many reasons. They have seams, not cotton, not straight, etc, etc. Use all cotton pima for best results. Costs more but do you want a crummy result for all your time spent on the top to put junk on the backing? You should be as concerned for the back as the front. That quilt will live long after you, so, make it the best you have to give and you will be remember by your love for your work. Use quality in all ways, at all times, for the best results. Lin

  10. #10
    Country Quilter's Avatar
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    Well, for arguments sake...if for no other reason! LOL I have to tell about something I did about 25 years ago.... my sister and brother in law asked me to make them a "quilt"...well, I wasn't quite into pieceing alot yet then so I took two double flat sheets...put a batting in between them...and I tied them (not quilted) and zigzagged the edges shut.... they are STILL using that "blanket" today! Sheets last forever...I have been married 31 years and still have some of the sheets I received as gifts and they are in good condition yet!

    And, as I said in an earlier post....I dont hand quilt when I use sheets as backing and was also told by someone with a longarm that they don't line up well on the long arm machines...but for my regular machine quilting and tying I can't afford to go spend 3 or 4 times as much on material...when you can put a backing on a twin quilt for $3.00 then hey...go for it! LOL

  11. #11
    Norah's Avatar
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    I made a comforter like that once, to match my sheets on my bed. I used that thing almost daily for over 20 years! Now that is lasting quality.

  12. #12
    Donna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltinlily
    Dear sister,
    Use all cotton pima for best results. Costs more but do you want a crummy result for all your time spent on the top to put junk on the backing? Lin
    And does anyone know if "www.quiltville.com" will pay for everyone to use the best? If so, add me to their list.

    Now I really do like the sheets. I have never hand quilted and have just done a couple pieces on my Little Gracie II (used sheets), otherwise I have tied them. Now that Christmas is over my intention is to do some small quilts or table runners and learn to do quilting by machine, then I would use regular fabric, and who knows maybe I will like the actual cotton better then. It is so nice not to have to make a back or decide how much fabric to buy, just cut the sheet the right size when you lay it out.

  13. #13
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    To me, the "best" is anything that works well and looks good in the end.

    Sheets work just fine when machine quilting. And, if you get a sheet with a loose weave, they're just fine when hand quilting, too. Just make sure you wash it first to pre-shrink and soften the fabric.

    If you aren't sure whether a particular sheet will give you problems when hand quilting - and assuming it's dirt cheap - buy it and do a test using the part you'd have to tear of anyway. If it's too hard to quilt through, put it aside for your next machine project.

    I've learned so much from this forum. It's becoming more obvious by the day that the old rules don't necessarily apply anymore. Considering the price of fabric these days, I'm really glad about that. LOL

    :-)

  14. #14
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    Patrice, your post sparked an idea. Why not carry a needle and thread in your purse so you can test the sheet on the spot. Carry it in a pill bottle that can be easily located among the items we carry.(I hesitated to call it clutter, but then I would be speaking of my own purse.)

    Now, are you speaking of new sheets, or used ones? I have found some really good buys at thrift store. Goodwill has gotten higher in price, spending $8. for a Queen flat is outrageous when others charge $2. I do not live close to a Salvation Army, but some of the AMVETS thrifts are very reasonable.

    Again, "machine sewing" is a key...as well as "thrift" for quilts being given to charitie, and especially the homeless. They will be given a real test as they will probably not see a washing machine....unless someone offers to do them free.

  15. #15
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    I was wondering - less than one hour ago - whether I might be able to find affordable, useful Full - to - King sheets at a thrift store. We have two in addition to the Good Will.

    Your idea is interesting ... you'd have to carry needle, thread, a patch of "top" and a patch of batting. And hope the sales staff doesn't run you out of the store if they don't understand what you're up to. LOL

    And I agree. GW has gotten outrageous in price and awful in quality. They don't fix anything anymore before putting on the shelves to sell. The pre-sale repairs used to be part of their job training program. I give all my donatables to either my synagogue for the semi-annual "yard sale", to a local church that gives it all away free, or to the local women's shelter who also give away for free.

    I guess I'll be stopping at the thrifts on my way home from work today. LOL

  16. #16
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    I can't imagine anyone would mind....that is, in a thrift store...that you would do a test on the sheet before you buy it. Actually I find the employees there don't care about a whole lot...just get the job done.

    Now for me, I would not have gone to the trouble of taking the extra pieces (bat and top samples) but it does make good sense. I thought perhaps the sheet could be doubled several times to see how many thinkness would be easily penetrated with the needle and thread. Can you tell I do not do hand quilting? Sorry for the negligence.

    About GW ficxing things???? I know they are supposed to provide work for handicapped people, but I have been under the impression for some time that it is "as is" sales.

    Now you can GO SHOPING. Have fun

    June

  17. #17

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    wHEN i HAND QUILT ED i TRIED A SHEET BUT IT TO HARD ON THE NANDS i HAVE NOT TRIED IT ON THE MICHEN BUT i THINK i WELL YOU ALL GAVE ME A IDEAlol ANYTHING TO SAVE i ON SS Neva

  18. #18
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    In response to your remarks about working on an old quilt, I would say I would love to make and have one, but I know I won't beause I cannot do the needlework by hand. However, I did find this as an easy version and it is in my mind as an eventual project. What do you think?

    http://www.mccallsquilting.com/golden/mg32_pattern/

    Here is another NEW group...just in its 3rd day and getting to know new members. It came out of the WWQP Bulletin Board. They moved to a Blog and some did not like the format. This is similar to the old.
    http://home.comcast.net/~bjmoo/quilters/newdayquilters.htm

    I have joined a number of groups to see what I really like. I don't want to spend a lot of time searching for posts, so this one is really easy. Someone sent me a link to About.com and it is as bad as some others. I have jsut dropped 2. I need to have time to sew...not sit in front of the computer.

    I hope you have a good day at work...and I suspect you have already gone. Not sure of your location. Mine is in SW Ohio on the Ohio River.
    June

  19. #19
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    HERE IS MY "DO" LIST

    .1) .wash and wash (IF NEW) to get them softened.

    .2) remove the stitching from the hems and steam them out. (good reason for buying larger sheets. You can cut trim at the stitching line)

    .3) .check the measurements to determine if this will fit the quilt you ae planning. I find that Queen and King are preferrable inmany ways.

    .4) used sheets are often nearly new. Check for 3 corner tears.

    Overall...sheets someone else has washed will save you time, water and energy to dry them. Cheaper sheets could be coarse and not easy to hand quilt.

    Lots of considerations, but worth thnking about.

  20. #20
    Donna's Avatar
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    Here, our Salvation Army won't take anything unless it is in good condition and they charge outrageous prices for it. I have worked in subsidized housing so I do know that they will help people with their rent and utilities. Rarely will I buy anything from them anymore. It really does irritate me that it is becoming a place for the "upper" middle class to shop, not the needy.

  21. #21
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    It's a pretty pattern and does look waaaaaaaaaay easier than the traditional garden. I'd say ... Go For It!

    I started hand-piecing a traditional garden years ago. It comes out of the drawer for a few weeks at a time. Hopefully, it'll be finished before I croak and become an heirloom. If it isn't, I'm leaving instructions that they should just toss it into the ground with me so it won't plague my descendants instead of pleasing them. 8)

    I also like your TO DO List. I'd suggest one change, though. Measure BEFORE you spend the money and do all that prep work.

    :wink:

  22. #22
    Super Member vicki reno's Avatar
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    I use sheets in my quilts. I machine piece and quilt and it has never been a problem for me. I was blessed with a lot of free fabric from several people who were cleaning out closets and knew I'd give the fabric a good home. Since a lot of my quilts go to the Christian Life Home in Raleigh, NC (unmarried mother's home), I use whatever I have on hand. I like the "good stuff" , too but can't afford to use it all the time.

  23. #23
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    I found a St. Vincent dePaul Thrift store today. They were so reasonable in their prices, I could hardly believe it. Some of the flat sheets were $1.50 and $2.00. I have not been an a S.A. store for a long time, but I do know Goodwill is charging higher prices.

    Yes, they do offer services to people in need, as does St. Vincent and Goodwill. One thing I learned recently is these places no long accept used mattresses. The big Bedbug scare has caused them to refuse even clean bedding. They just don't take chances.

    Buying these Thrift items is another way to support these organizations as they reach out to help others.

  24. #24
    Donna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by june6995
    One thing I learned recently is these places no long accept used mattresses. The big Bedbug scare has caused them to refuse even clean bedding. They just don't take chances.
    Now that makes you stop and think. I used to manage a property and we were one of the first to have bed bugs. The woman had just bought the mattress, over $700.00 and they were only in that mattress, not one of her kids' bedding had one! We had the exterminator in and he said you can bring them home just by visiting someone that has them, they crawl onto your clothing or into your purse, even a bag.

    What I am getting at, is, we could probably get them just from shopping if some one else had one on them when they shopped. They can go 2 months or longer without food.

    Amazing how one topic can lead to so many.

  25. #25
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    And that reminds me....my parents got some bugs from a bag of potatoes. That was in the 50's when stores did not know what an exterminator was.
    The kitchen in our old house had linoleum where today we have Formica and Corian. It was glued down and had a metal strip across the front for finish. All that had to come off.....and the linoleum came up because they had eaten all the glue. Can you guess what they were? I hate to write the word even now. Everyone hates bugs but these must have the worst reputation among homeowners...especially those who enjoy their kitchens.

    Sorry...i just had to share that. It is a vivid image. Do you think I am damaged for life by such an expereince???

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