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Thread: using 2 different kinds of muslin?

  1. #1

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    I'm new here, and kind of having a melt down (plus I'm pregnant and that is adding to my hysteria). I'm making my first quilt, I'm 'lap quilting' a sampler (I'm using this 20 year old book called "Lap Quilting With Georgia Bonesteel"). I have all of the blocks sewn together and I'm adding the borders right now. I'm just using muslin for the borders & backing to keep it simple. I have a few of the blocks completely done already, so I brought one of them with me to match the muslin. I bought 7 yards & I've cut out all the borders... and its not the same kind at all!!! Its much heavier/thicker (this must be because it was the cheapest kind, for some reason I thought I just needed to match the color & that all muslin was the same otherwise). I haven't sewn any borders on yet with the bad muslin... but, how much effect is this going to have if the majority of the quilt is super heavy duty muslin & a few blocks are really light weight muslin? And how hard will it be to quilt it (since I'm doing it by hand)? Should I just get the right kind and suffer the money/time loss? I really want a nice lightweight quilt for our bed for spring/summer (for some reason our military housing thinks you don't need A/C in Colorado!) UGH I'M SO MAD!!! Especially since I spent like 3 hours cutting out 96 3" borders!! HELP!

  2. #2
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board, Mrs White! from St. Louis. I wish I could help you, but I don't have much experience wiht muslin. I'm sure someone will have some good advice! The best advice I can offer is to BREATHE! I have done some things that I thought at the time were really disasters, but they turned out okay! :?

  3. #3
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    Welcome from Southern California. I don't use muslin in my quilts so I'm not sure how to help you. I am sure that there is someone here on the board that will. I was a military wife for 20 years. I understand!

  4. #4
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    As long as the color matches, you probably won't see the difference until years down the road when the thinner fabric wears faster. For hand quilting, the thinner stuff will go faster.

    I've never used a lot of muslin - my experience is the muslin shrinks unpredictably.

  5. #5
    Moderator sharon b's Avatar
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    I can't he;p with the muslin problem, but wanted to say Hi and Welcome from Northern Indiana ! Hang in there , someone here will be able to help you. Great group of helpers here :lol: Also we love pictures (hint) :wink:

    Sharon

  6. #6
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I don't use much muslin because of the shrinkage. If its a wall hanging and will not be laundered much it may be ok if the weight is not the same.

  7. #7
    Super Member Marcia's Avatar
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    MrsWhite--welcome to the board from GA.

    I am sorry that you are frustrated with your quilt. I think you are better off using the same weight of muslin throughout your entire quilt, including the borders.

    Where did you buy your original muslin? Did you return to the same store to buy more? Are you sure that what you purchased the second time is muslin? (I am not trying to imply that you do not know what you are doing--there are other fabrics that are the same color as muslin, but actually are not and sometimes they are in the same place in the store) Shopping for muslin is sort of like shopping for sheets--it is all about the thread count. If you buy a cheaper muslin that is a looser weave it is going to shrink more. If you buy a muslin with a higher thread count it will shrink less.

    Can you please post a picture of the blocks you have made for your quilt? Maybe we can help you with some ideas so that you are not so frustrated!!

    Good luck with your pregnancy---when are you due?

    My husband was in the Arny for 30 years. We were stationed in Colorado Springs for 2 of those years. Unless it has gotten hotter and more humid there, you will not need air conditioning in the summer.

  8. #8

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    I had a similar experience recently. I could not find a decent muslin here in my area. I used two different kinds and the color didn't even match perfectly. Once done, you could barely notice the difference.

    If it is just for general use I would just use what you have. but, that's just me. I am one who hates waste whether it be time or money.

    Lynette

  9. #9
    Super Member gcathie's Avatar
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    I too would want all the same muslin in my quilt ....cause they will shrink differently and show color change.....that's my 20 words worth.....:-).....Good luck and Colorado is usually dry so the heat isn't too bad...lived there 3 years....husbands from there and he said they had what the call a swamp cooler.....AKA air conditioner......:-)......hope this helps....

  10. #10
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I would finish the quilt with what I had and not fret about it at all. Don't even think about mentioning the difference to anyone when they admire it. :wink:

  11. #11
    Suz
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    Using two or more muslins adds to the charm of the quilts. If possible, mix up the different muslins when puttin the top together. Don't put the same lighter muslins side-by-side since it appears there will be fewer of them.

    Welcome and good luck. Suzanne

  12. #12

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    Hey thanks everyone!! I think I'll just use the 2 different kinds & spread it out, unless it ends up being way to hard to quilt through. And, the more I look at it, the thicker muslin is slightly darker too.. must be the difference between sunlight & fluorescent.

    I didn't even think about it not actually being muslin! I had trouble finding the grain line (well, without the selvage, I wouldn't have been able to), it seems like both directions of the material stretch the same amount. Is that how muslin normally is?

  13. #13
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrswhite07
    Hey thanks everyone!! I think I'll just use the 2 different kinds & spread it out, unless it ends up being way to hard to quilt through. And, the more I look at it, the thicker muslin is slightly darker too.. must be the difference between sunlight & fluorescent.

    I didn't even think about it not actually being muslin! I had trouble finding the grain line (well, without the selvage, I wouldn't have been able to), it seems like both directions of the material stretch the same amount. Is that how muslin normally is?
    This is very much in the spirit of quilting years ago, when women had to make do with what was available. I do think it adds to the charm of a quilt.

  14. #14
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonpi
    As long as the color matches, you probably won't see the difference until years down the road when the thinner fabric wears faster. For hand quilting, the thinner stuff will go faster.

    I've never used a lot of muslin - my experience is the muslin shrinks unpredictably.
    moonie and mrswhite - do you think that prewashing and machine drying the muslin would help with the shrinkage AND the softening? that might bring the two different weights more in line. sometimes what feels heavier is just full of sizing that washes out. surely the washing and drying would make it easier to sew. yes?

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    Welcome from NE CA. Glad you joined us.

  16. #16
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    butterflywing moonie and mrswhite - do you think that prewashing and machine drying the muslin would help with the shrinkage AND the softening? that might bring the two different weights more in line. sometimes what feels heavier is just full of sizing that washes out. surely the washing and drying would make it easier to sew. yes?
    I thought of that, too. Some muslins will shrink after they are re-washed, and not just the first time. I love the look of muslin, and I know some people are happy using it, but I would not trust it as a large part of a quilt. I've never had problems using it in applique. I bet a year from now, you won't be able to tell one from another.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by butterflywing
    Quote Originally Posted by Moonpi
    As long as the color matches, you probably won't see the difference until years down the road when the thinner fabric wears faster. For hand quilting, the thinner stuff will go faster.

    I've never used a lot of muslin - my experience is the muslin shrinks unpredictably.
    moonie and mrswhite - do you think that prewashing and machine drying the muslin would help with the shrinkage AND the softening? that might bring the two different weights more in line. sometimes what feels heavier is just full of sizing that washes out. surely the washing and drying would make it easier to sew. yes?
    I prewashed & dryed it, so hopefully that will help with the shrinking. And, I tried quilting through it, and I think it will be fine as long as I use the lighter weight muslin for backing, so I'm not sewing through 2 layers of real heavy muslin. I'm hoping to finish it soon (HA! right), so I'll have to post pictures when I'm done.

  18. #18
    Super Member 2 Doods's Avatar
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    My MIL made a quilt with her aunt that is muslin with cross stitching all over in taupe and metalic gold. It must have been done in the 1950 or a little earlier. I don't know why they were unable to use all the same muslin but there are 2 types. I don't know if it always showed but does now after aging. However, it is still a very striking quilt and I hope it makes it to my home someday :lol:


  19. #19
    Senior Member GiGi's Avatar
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    Just my two cents: If you take your muslin and serg around all edges BEFORE you wash it, it will maintain it's shape better and not unravel and shrink as bad. If you don't have a serger, just zigzag around the edges. This is good for all fabric as it will have an easier time in the washing machine unless you have one of the tumblers like in the laundry mat. In addition, the delicate cycle is much nicer to the fabric. That's my two cents for what it is worth; it has always worked for me. GiGi :-o :-o :-o :-o :-o

  20. #20
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonpi
    butterflywing moonie and mrswhite - do you think that prewashing and machine drying the muslin would help with the shrinkage AND the softening? that might bring the two different weights more in line. sometimes what feels heavier is just full of sizing that washes out. surely the washing and drying would make it easier to sew. yes?
    I thought of that, too. Some muslins will shrink after they are re-washed, and not just the first time. I love the look of muslin, and I know some people are happy using it, but I would not trust it as a large part of a quilt. I've never had problems using it in applique. I bet a year from now, you won't be able to tell one from another.
    sooooo...do you think there's any hope that they will shrink evenly at all?

    or do you consider that this would be an ongoing problem with two different muslins?

  21. #21
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    With the prewashing and drying, it's unlikely either muslin will shrink a lot in the second washing. Some shrinkage in the fabric is okay anyway; it just adds to the crinkle quality of the quilt. Given the fact that you have prewashed and dried the fabric in the dryer (most of the shrinkage comes in the dryer, because of the heat), I think you will be fine.

    Also, quilting itself controls shrinkage. If you want to be extra safe, just quilt more closely. I did a class with Harriet Hargrave once and she showed us a flannel quilt she made to prove to her students that prewashing isn't necessary, even with flannels that ordinarily shrink a lot. She used unwashed flannel, quilted fairly heavily, measured the quilt, washed and dried it, and measured it again. Those fabrics would have shrunk considerably if washed by themselves, but did not shrink at all in the finished quilt -- because the quilting stabilized them. Not sure I'd do that myself, but she did prove her point.....

  22. #22
    Junior Member Donna Mae's Avatar
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    I would probably go get the muslin thats all alike. Use the other you have for another quilt.
    But I would probably use what I had and chock it up to a learning thing!!
    Welcome to the board.

    Keep it rockin,
    simple quilter

  23. #23
    Senior Member dlf0122quilting's Avatar
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    As far as the shrinkage goes, if you take the time to add a little more hand quilting in the blocks, it should help eliminate some of the excessive shrikage in the looser woven muslin. You are doing just fine. You will some day look back on this and just realize as we all do that some things are meant to be lessons learned on the path.

    Let us know when that baby is due. Do you know what you are having and is the quilt for the baby?

    Hi from Southern California.

  24. #24
    Junior Member nantucketsue's Avatar
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    I agree with Butterflywing. I would wash the heavier muslin on a hot wash, I always wash my fabric anyway in case of shrinkage, but in this case it might also help lighten the shade. Goodluck with whatever you chooose to do.

  25. #25
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    I use muslin all the time..........I L-O-VVVV-E mulsin. I try to get as close as I can to the same weight, but I am more concerned about matching the color than the weight of the fabric. AC not REQUIRED in Colorado, nice to have some days though.....hope you have a brick house. :)

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