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Thread: Using a bed sheet for backing

  1. #1
    Super Member NCquilter's Avatar
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    I've heard people say that they use a bed sheet for backing and I've also heard that it is a bad idea. What do you think?

    Thanks, Kelly

  2. #2
    Super Member isnthatodd's Avatar
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    I've done it several times for utility quilts. They are inexpensive (translate that as cheap), wear well, and wash well. I mostly tied those quilts, so don't know about hand quilting them.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Shelley's Avatar
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    BAD idea,with the exception of flannel sheets. The percale sheets have a weave that is so tight that when the needle pierces the fabric, it breaks the threads instead of going between them. You end up with holes in your fabric, which weakens it. You also have holds left if you have to re-do any stitches.

    I'm of the belief that if you use good fabric (buy it on sale!) on the back, you can turn the quilt over and have two quilts.

  4. #4
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    I do that all the time! I also use old blankets for the middle if I cannot buy batting/matting (?) Yep, I am on disability cannot afford buying good stuff.

  5. #5
    Super Member brushandthimble's Avatar
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    I had heard it was a bad idea, that you for the explation for why. I too like to get my backings on sale.

  6. #6
    Super Member Maride's Avatar
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    I have used it many times. I buy a set at Walmart and use the flat. If you remove the elastic you can also use the fitted. I don't buy very high count. I am using one right now that is a little looser weave than regular cotton. It feels more like a tight linen and it washed great. Is very soft and flexible. Before I had gotten a set that came in a fabric bag and those were so soft we kept the fitted for the bed. It looked great to have the bed covered with the same fabric as the back of the quilt, fold the quilt back a little to show the back, and have the same fabric on the pillow cases. It looked as the whole thing was purchased.

  7. #7
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I've heard that regular bed sheets are really difficult to hand quilt; I think that's where they got at least some of their bad rep.

  8. #8
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    I just got a couple of the 200 thread count ones to use for backing. As soon as I finish piecing the top I'll let you know how it works for me.

    It may be awhile as I am also hand piecing and still have a few left to add...over 1200 of the 2-1/2" squares in place and only about 300 more remaining. Got a bunch done this weekend, so maybe this last bit will go pretty fast.

  9. #9
    Senior Member booklady's Avatar
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    My grandmother hand quilted for me once and told me if I used a sheet again she would never quilt for me again! She said it was very difficult to hand quilt. I've followed her advice ever since.

    Machine quilting would be a totally different story I'm sure! Never had any complaints from the machine quilting lady I use.

  10. #10
    Super Member cuppi duke's Avatar
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    I use sheets all of the time for backing. I buy the 200 thread count at Walmart and have not had any problems. If I need a matching color I use dye(not Rit). and even do tie dyeing to make it more fun. Be sure to wash the sheet after dyeing tho so it doesn't bleed. I would rather spend 4.00 on the backing and have more money to buy the top fabrics. I remember my grandmother using anything she could find for quilts and I think we have somehow lost some of the old fashioned ideas that went into quilt making.

  11. #11
    Super Member mimee4's Avatar
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    I got a couple of sets of sheets at Penney's on sale - $2.97 for twin top, bottom and pillowcase. They seem just right for backing - not percale. I'll let you know.

  12. #12
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
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    I have known people who do. I do not because the weave is tighter than the other fabric and I believe it makes it harder to hand quilt.

  13. #13
    Power Poster sewnsewer2's Avatar
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    I can tell you from experience that sheets are hard to quilt!!

  14. #14
    Moderator Up North's Avatar
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    I hand quilt and use the 200 count main stay sheets from Walmart. These are not hard to hand quilt through and I have not seen any holes. I have sheets from over 30 years ago that are still in decent shape so I think fabric is fabric If it works use it. I like solid backs and love using them as they are all one piece and you can get them big enough for king size quilts.

  15. #15
    lucyb's Avatar
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    Remember when you didn't have to buy them in sets? I liked that a lot better. I have used them to make curtains and shower curtains, Now you have to buy the fitted sheet even if you don't need one.

  16. #16
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    I too use sheets all the time for quilt backs. They are absolutely not problem for machine quilting and wash and wear very well. I especially like them on quilts that will see a lot of hard use (think Youth Shelter and industrial washing machines) or quilts for kids that will be really used and dragged around. I frequently buy 200 threat count sheets ($5.00 on special in Canada) for Community Quilts and even higher thread count sheets on family quilts. I try to buy the darker colours or patterned ones in King Size and use the leftovers to make a matching pillow case to store the quilt in or as the gift bag to present the quilt. Using sheets really cuts down on the overall cost of a quilt and I can't think of any reason not to.

  17. #17
    Super Member MaryStoaks's Avatar
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    I use sheets from the thrift store. Most of the time I can find 100% cotton but in a pinch poly/cotton will do. They are always available here as we live in a snowbird area. I have never had a problem quilting them with my Tin Lizzie. I do change the machine needle whenever I think of it. If the needle is dull and the sheet is a high thread count I can hear a pop with each stitch that tells me to change out the needle.

  18. #18
    anglgrl's Avatar
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    I machine quilted my top quilt then I finished with hand sewing the sheet on the back worked out great.

  19. #19
    Super Member Barbm's Avatar
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    I just hit a sale of clearance flat sheets at Wal-Mart. They were $2.00 for the twin and $4.50 for King. I bought several.

    I use wide backing fabric for gifts and raffles. I use the sheets for utility or low cost (i.e. scrap) quilts.

    I'm making a quilt right now for hubby and me. I'm using a sheet for the back. It's not for "good" but to use. When I make the quilt of my dreams, I will use wide backing and have it professionally quilted.

    So, I'm both ends of the spectrum. (And I used sheets before I found out about wide fabric- never had a problem machine quilting.)

  20. #20
    Kellys Table's Avatar
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    Concerning bed sheets. 42 years ago I made my wedding dress from a new sheet, turned out great, very hard to sew on; then 10 years ago cut it up for fabric. Problem is I bought the best sheet I could find, shrunk it first, but the sheet was like sewing through a very heavy batik, if that makes since. I still use flat sheets, but make sure they are 100% cotton, much easier to use.
    Hope this helps. http://cluttergutter.com.
    Kelly

  21. #21
    Senior Member pennijanine's Avatar
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    I buy sheets at the thrift stores. You can usually find different colors and sizes and they are cheap! They are also very soft. You should unfold them and check for quality before you take them to the register. I have a large dresser just for storing all the sheets that I have accumulated. Penni

  22. #22
    Super Member pittsburgpam's Avatar
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    I have used sheets and the last one I got was at Walmart in Oregon to make my granddaughter's quilt. It was 120 thread count and we tied it.

    I think if you get 100% cotton and not a high thread count, they're fine to use. My grandmother always used sheets, never knew her to use anything else, and all her quilts were tied or hand quilted.

  23. #23
    Senior Member redrummy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Up North
    I hand quilt and use the 200 count main stay sheets from Walmart. These are not hard to hand quilt through and I have not seen any holes. I have sheets from over 30 years ago that are still in decent shape so I think fabric is fabric If it works use it. I like solid backs and love using them as they are all one piece and you can get them big enough for king size quilts.
    I too hand quilted on "sheet" backed quilts. I found it to be no worse than any other material. I think you should try it, and if you like it, continue. I have used several types of material, and if I want an all one piece back, I generally use a sheet.

  24. #24
    Super Member Pickles's Avatar
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    I always use sheets would do it no other way and have had no problem with them at all. I also go to Thrift stores and buy them
    and store them in Big Plastic Bins, I'm one for saving every penny I can , I figure the pioneer's had it right and there's are still around today and doing great, so if it worked for them why rock the boat now, when this is why we are carrying on the fine art of Quilting to pass it on as they did for use. :D

  25. #25
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    I never do, always try to buy the extra width backing

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