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Thread: String Quilt foundation - dryer sheets?

  1. #1
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    String Quilt foundation - dryer sheets?

    What are the pro's and con's of using dryer sheets as a foundation for string piecing?

    I will Not be hand-quilting this, so that's one issue I can avoid.

    Thanks
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 02-28-2018 at 07:14 AM. Reason: remove shouting/all caps
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  2. #2
    Super Member quilting cat's Avatar
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    I would never personally even try it! Unused dryer sheets would get chemicals on your fabric, and used ones come out of the dryer wrinkled so ironing them would be necessary (time consuming even if they didn't stick to the iron!)
    Yes, paper has to be removed, but I've been pleased with pages from old telephone books. One project needed lots of string blocks of near- and off-white, and I had no ink from the pages on the fabric.
    Retired math teacher --
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  3. #3
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    I use them all the time. I use unscented ones several times and take them out and smooth them while still warm. No problems so far. I am making blocks with scraps and will put together as soon as I get enough.

  4. #4
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    if you don't mind the scent or you can use unscented, they work fine.
    I also keep a few around for making applique circles. I draw my circle on the back of my fabric, lay it face down on a dryer sheet and stich all around on the line. I cut a slit in the dryer sheet and turn the circle right side out. Gently work the edge out (sheets are fragile) press and you can cut away the center of the dryer sheet or not, and machine sew the circle to the background.

  5. #5
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Quilting Cat ... thanks for your thoughts. I'm one of those rare people who enjoys ironing. Seriously ... I plug in a good book and "zone out" with the iron!! As for using phone books .... I would, if I could find a phone book! I've not seen one years!!

    Terry & Tartan ... thanks for your thoughts. Thanks Tartan for the additional hack of using them for turn-under applique. I think I'm going to try that technique.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  6. #6
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    The question is - will you leave the dryer sheets on the string blocks when you make the quilt?

    Con: Dryer sheets are highly flammable, so if your intention is to leave them on the blocks, well, not a good idea.

    Con: Scent is another issue, as some people cannot tolerate artificial fragrance.

    How about trying it with a paper towel that you can easily tear off when each block is complete? I have never done that, so, if you try it, let us know how it works.
    A quilt is like a good life. It's full of mistakes, but, in the end, it looks pretty good.

  7. #7
    Super Member ArtsyOne's Avatar
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    I use old dryer sheets all the time both for foundation piecing and for applique. After a run through the dryer they have no scent. They're not difficult to iron - just set the iron on low and one swipe takes care of any wrinkles.
    A fabric stash is always missing that one fabric needed to finish the quilt on which you're working.

  8. #8
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    I make it easy on myself and use Stable Stuff by Ricky Tims. I don't quilt to recycle or make something new out of something old.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
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    My heroes are working people, paying their own way, taking care of their children and being decent human beings.

  9. #9
    Senior Member DeneK's Avatar
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    I also like Ricky Tim's Stable Stuff... But I also use the dryer sheets. The size of the sheets limits the size of the block, but other wise I really like using them. I have never had any issues with them but then my mantra is that I do not quilt for profits, prizes, or posterity. I want my quilts to be used and enjoyed

  10. #10
    Power Poster Boston1954's Avatar
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    I would be afraid of the stuff they are made of. I always wonder what it would do to the fabric over the years.
    Life is not a movie. No one is going to yell "CUT" when you make a mistake. - Anne L. Fulton

    I am from the South....39 miles south of Boston.

  11. #11
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boston1954 View Post
    I always wonder what it would do to the fabric over the years.
    This was something that I worry about, too.

    Years ago when I was a baby quilter, I tried this. My goal was to make turning under some applique leaves and petals easy on myself by sewing the fabric to a dryer sheet, then cutting a slit in the dryer sheet, flip the fabric through the slit to the right side, and then press the edges and voila! the applique edges are turned under and ready to go.

    Well. By the 10th or 11th leaf, the scent from the used dryer sheets was making me nauseous, and I am not sensitive to chemicals and scents. I abandoned the dryer sheets and went with a wash-away product.

  12. #12
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    The national brand dryer sheets use to last by 4-5 uses. Now I am lucky to do one load with them. They are now very flimsy after one use. I only use them in the dryer to keep down static electricity.

    I don't use them like the above people do.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  13. #13
    Super Member NZquilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peckish View Post
    This was something that I worry about, too.

    Years ago when I was a baby quilter, I tried this. My goal was to make turning under some applique leaves and petals easy on myself by sewing the fabric to a dryer sheet, then cutting a slit in the dryer sheet, flip the fabric through the slit to the right side, and then press the edges and voila! the applique edges are turned under and ready to go.

    Well. By the 10th or 11th leaf, the scent from the used dryer sheets was making me nauseous, and I am not sensitive to chemicals and scents. I abandoned the dryer sheets and went with a wash-away product.
    I had the same experience. And I was using the unscented ones too. There was/is some chemical in them that made my hands slick and feel funny. It wasn't an experiment I'll try again.
    We didn't realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun. ~ Winnie the Pooh ~

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by NZquilter View Post
    I had the same experience. And I was using the unscented ones too. There was/is some chemical in them that made my hands slick and feel funny. It wasn't an experiment I'll try again.
    I had trouble with my low-water washer unexpectedly and randomly depositing black stuff on clothes. Turns out, one of the best remedies was discontinuing dryer sheets, as they contain a surfactant that deposits a fatty substance on the fabric that can stay in through multiple washes. Between the surfactant on the fabric and the water/soap combo that lingers in the lines after using the washer, gunky stuff built up until a heavier load shook it loose.

    I think dryer sheets could surely be used as stabilizers, but you'd need to be sure the coating was truly out of there. They don't recommend them as cleaners for irons for nothing. Warm the iron and the oily stuff helps dissolve the gunk.

    hugs,
    charlotte

  15. #15
    Senior Member Jennie and Me's Avatar
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    I've used (used) dryer sheets in several string quilts and love the results. Plus, I like the recycling idea.

  16. #16
    Junior Member Lena1952's Avatar
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    I make lots of string quilts and use Easy Pattern or Pattern Ease ( which ever one is in stock). It is used to trace multiple pattern sizes so you do not destroy the original. I feels similar to a dryer sheet but without added fragrance or chemicals. It is 45" wide, inexpensive, does not need to be removed after sewing strips, washable and lightweight.

  17. #17
    Junior Member railroad's Avatar
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    For all of our charity string quilts we use old sheets as our foundations. They stay on, are thin, doesn't matter if they have a hole or two, works great. Endless supplies in thrift stores.

  18. #18
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    Use an old well washed sheet, or get some thin fabric and you can just not worry about it.

  19. #19
    Senior Member baskets4moo's Avatar
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    I've made lots of string quilts with used dryer sheets. I'm sensitive to chemicals so I hand wash the used sheets with a dab of Dawn dish detergent. It just takes a few seconds in the bathroom sink and then spread them to dry on the counter. They dry in a few minutes and no ironing necessary.
    Certified basketcase
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  20. #20
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    I am committed to recycling and am using dryer sheets with applique. I have been saving some ends and pieces for a string quilt and am anxious to try them as a foundation. I do recommend using them MORE than once before recycling though. You want to be sure all the fabric softener is out of them. Any remaining chemical could leave a spot on the fabric.
    "The great doing of little things makes the great life." Eugena Price

  21. #21
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone. I think I'm going to wash a bunch of them in the sink with Dawn and rinse in vinegar to make sure all the chemicals are gone - mostly because I don't want lingering chemicals to stain the quilt down the road.

    Not too worried about the flammability aspect as the quilt will stay in my home - not a gift - and as we don't smoke in the house I can't imagine it will be a problem. But I will certainly keep this in mind if I ever decide to make a string quilt as a gift for anyone.

    I've been saving loads of them in my used Tide-Pod's containers. It's time to dig them out and use them!!
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  22. #22
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Don't get me started on those laundry and dishwasher pods. I have so many friends who have had to pay repairmen to come repair their machines because those pods don't dissolve completely, and they gum up the works. I'm sticking to liquid detergents.

  23. #23
    Super Member sewmuch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peckish View Post
    Don't get me started on those laundry and dishwasher pods. I have so many friends who have had to pay repairmen to come repair their machines because those pods don't dissolve completely, and they gum up the works. I'm sticking to liquid detergents.
    Good to know, haven't tried them yet, now I won't....
    Interesting topic on the dryer sheets, I have always used muslim as a backing, something new to try...
    Nancy

  24. #24
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    I had no idea that dryer sheets would be flammable outside the dryer. I used to recommend using them, but now I'm not so sure.

    I have made string quilt blocks without any foundation at all with good success, as long as I iron them well after adding a string or two. I really hate removing paper from the backs.

  25. #25
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    I prefer lightweight non woven, non-fusible interfacing for applique (and would use it for string quilts if I made string quilts) because it is made for that purpose. I am a re-cycle,r but, I think using used dryer sheets is just a bit too far for me. There are just too many unknowns about the chemicals they contain when it comes to latent effects.

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