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Thread: Sheets for quilts?

  1. #1
    Super Member AshleyR's Avatar
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    Sheets for quilts?

    Since the subject of fabric quality has come up again, I thought I'd throw something else out there -

    Do you use sheets in your quilts? Why or why not?

    I've always heard not to use them, but I will use it for backing. I just don't know why you're not supposed to so I thought the thousands of people on QB could give their opinions!!
    You can have any design you want. As long as it's loops!

  2. #2
    Super Member sewmom's Avatar
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    I've never used sheets in a quilt, but I know there are people who do. The reason "they"say not to are the thread counts in the sheets as apposed to fabric. The high thread count sheets would be extremely hard to hand quilt through. My opinion is, if that's what you want to do fine. Unless younger putting your quilt in a show, a Quilter can do what they want. I mainly don't because I like my back to coordinate with the front and I don't care to use solids. There's been lots of discussion on the board over this very topic.
    A time to tear, And a time to sew;
    A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;

  3. #3
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    We can't use sheets for backs or the quilt police will get us! Oh, that's right.... there are no quilt police! Seriously though, I have heard on this board that it is because of thread count not matching the quilt top and therefore, difficult to quilt. But I am just a newby myself, so maybe a more experienced quilter will give a better answer.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Kat Sews's Avatar
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    The theory is that the thread count is to high. My thought is that thread count varies with the sheet you choose. I have used them at times without any problem for backing even for hand quilting. I look for the lowest thread count I can find. Sheets are not usually all cotton so for a purest that would be a problem. As far a using in the top it would depend on your skill level. Cotton has more "give" to it and is easier for beginners to work with. Blends last longer for quilts that are to be used and not just for show. The quilt purists (quilt police) will probably disagree with me, but I think you can use anything you are comfortable with.

  5. #5
    Senior Member COYOTEMAGIC's Avatar
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    I use sheets all the time. For the back and for the batting. You'd be surprised how warm a layer or 2 of sheets can be. Lots of quilts I make for kids have sheets a backing. Shoot you can pick them up for a dine at the Goodwill or even Free on Freecycle.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Marni's Avatar
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    I have on occasion used sheets and it's worked out well-however the sheets I've been finding lately are so tightly woven that I'm scared to use them-skipping stitches etc. It is definitely your choice-though in a judged quilt show they aren't appreciated so much. I have found lots of nice patterns as well as solids in the past.
    It's not a stash-it's a fabric library!
    http://www.mamisquilts.com/

  7. #7
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    I believe that started when people were doing more handquilting (just my opinion). 32 yrs ago I made a quilt for my daughter. I slapped 2 Kmart sheets together and tied them. It was HARD to get the needle to go in, but I did it. She STILL has that quilt --- and it was dragged everywhere she went.........camping, sleepovers, etc. So, GO AHEAD and use sheets for quilts that are NOT going to be in shows. The QP at quilt shows may not accept them....but who knows!!! Oh -- I use sheets from thrift stores to practice on my longarm............LOL and the longarm quilting machine DOES quilt them just fine. But if I were to be putting them on a quilt, I would trim all selveges off and all hems.......those make the quilt backing tweak funny
    Dee


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  8. #8
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    Be sure to trim the selveges off and quilt with the machine. I personally don't use sheets as I don't like to use solid colors and I like to match the backing with the quilt. I tried to piece a back once, but had a devil of a time getting it to lay flat!
    Sue

  9. #9
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    I often use sheets for backing. I beleive most of the problem is they are difficult to get the needle thru when hand quiling. They work great for machine quilting

  10. #10
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    I used to use them when I first started out. They are hard to hand quilt through. I imagine they would be OK for machine quilting.

  11. #11
    Super Member aorlflood's Avatar
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    I sometimes use sheets for backing if I am going to machine quilt it. I won't use them for a quilt that I'm going to handquilt because of the tighter thread count. But for a machine quilted quilt...go for it! I like to look for sheets at thrift stores...if they are still in good condition and a pretty, but fairly neutral design, I buy them! I want to make sure they don't look have a "dated" design, etc. I prefer something like a striped or a pretty floral design.

    Where else can you get a quilt backing for $2-4???

  12. #12
    Senior Member ywoodruff5's Avatar
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    I use sheets as backing a lot. They hold up well and have that familiar "sheet" feel. Unless it is a quilt you expect to be a family heirloom and last 100 years I say go for it.

  13. #13
    Super Member AshleyR's Avatar
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    Gosh, I've been using them all along and didn't know it was hard! I only hand-quilt and didn't know I wasn't supposed to use them because they're difficult. I can't even imagine one of my quilts in a show, so I don't think that's going to be an issue! LOL
    You can have any design you want. As long as it's loops!

  14. #14
    Senior Member QuiltNama's Avatar
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    I use sheets all the time but do not hand quilt (way too hard to push needle through). I search out good sheets from the goodwill, salvation army, yard sales, etc., wash them up and trim all salvages, top & bottom hems and keep for using on my LA. If I find good flat sheets on sale in my local stores, make sure the are around 200 thread count as those don't pill as often as some in lower thread count. Your quilt...your way...

  15. #15
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    Every quilt I've sent out to be machine quilted I've had her use a really good sheet for the backing (I picked up the sheet). They hold up super well and I really like them on the back of a machine quilted quilt.

  16. #16
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    I use sheets all the time, both flannel and cotton. I can buy a queen sized sheet for $10 or
    often less and you can't even buy a yard of quilting fabric for that in Canada. I like not having
    to piece fabric for a back and often find some very unique patterned sheets. I buy them when I find a good sale and then just check my sheet stash to find a suitable back. They quilt just fine, wash and wear well.
    Shelbie from the High County in Southern Ontario

  17. #17
    Super Member QuiltnLady1's Avatar
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    I have used quilts for sheets and they were fine. My first large bed sized quilt (in the late 1870's) was a king size with a lovely blue green scene of water and palm trees -- I hand embroidered the quilt through the batting and backing echoing the entire pattern and adding some detail that was not in it. It was a bit harder to get through the sheets, but some ivory soap worked to help get the needle through the layers. It came out beautiful -- and I wish I still had it. When we moved to a new house, it had a different color scheme and DH took it to Goodwill one day since it was "just sitting around" -- I cried.

    At church, we use sheets all the time for our charity quilts -- they hold up much better than pieced quilts since we tie them. We get some beautiful patterns at Goodwill, etc and love them.
    QuiltnLady1

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  18. #18
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    I use sheets quite often for backing. I pick them up new/sale and second hand. I machine quilt or tie and they hold up well in my opinion. I've found some great sheets that match up nicely with my fronts. I don't have any goal to enter a quilt show so don't worry about the "rules". As has been said...there are no quilt police...do what YOU want!

  19. #19
    Super Member Abby'smom's Avatar
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    I have used new sheets in my quilts for backing and for solid color pieces for many years-- they wash well and hold up -- some of them have a little polyester in them (although I thought that they were all cotton when I made them) -- the problem now is finding low count, all cotton, reasonably priced sheets --
    diane

  20. #20
    Super Member AshleyR's Avatar
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    I was more concerned that they wouldn't hold up as well. But I figured that they are getting as much wear and tear as a top sheet normally would anyway. Less, if there is a top sheet "protecting it". I don't follow the "quilt police laws", but I often wonder why those laws are in place. I assumed it was to sell fabric LOL
    Quote Originally Posted by AnotherMadQuilter View Post
    I use sheets quite often for backing. I pick them up new/sale and second hand. I machine quilt or tie and they hold up well in my opinion. I've found some great sheets that match up nicely with my fronts. I don't have any goal to enter a quilt show so don't worry about the "rules". As has been said...there are no quilt police...do what YOU want!
    You can have any design you want. As long as it's loops!

  21. #21
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    Its a good thing there are no Quilt Police they'd probably give me a Life Sentence because I've used a lot of sheets thru the years - for the family members who live in OK and Tx a couple flannel sheets for batting works better than even the thinnest batting.The most I've ever spent on cotton sheets was 2.99 because it was a brand new set w/pillow cases still in the package - cotton sheets are getting harder to find so when I find them I grab them they won't go to waste around here

  22. #22
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Some LAQ will refuse to quilt with them, as certain long arm machines have problem with the tight weave.

  23. #23
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltnLady1 View Post
    I have used quilts for sheets and they were fine. My first large bed sized quilt (in the late 1870's) was a king size with a lovely blue green scene of water and palm trees --
    Wow! You must be our senior member.

  24. #24
    Super Member Deborah12687's Avatar
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    I have been using bed sheets since I started quilting and have had no problems using bed sheets for backing no matter what the thread count is. I do have a few problems when the needle gets dull just have to change the needle.

  25. #25
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    I have a customer or two who use sheets for their backings. Quilting by machine, I have not had a problem with them. In my opinion, the thinner sheets washed a couple of times work wonderful for backings. However, I don't believe I would use them for a quilt that might be entered in the show.

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