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Thread: Using bedsheets to back your quilts?

  1. #1
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    I was about to embarq on a new method of backing my quilts using bedsheets. I read the following which has changed my mind altogether. I know that many of the quilter here use bedsheets but were they aware of the following or is it all hooey? Sheets have a high thread count, which forces your quilting needle to break the sheet's threads as it pierces through. This leaves holes in your backing and diminishes the stability of your sheet. Quilting fabric has a looser weave, which allows your needle to easily slide between the threads and keeps your backing fabric intact. Actually, it makes a lot of sense to me! What do you think?

  2. #2
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Batiks generally have a higher thread count and we still love 'em and use them :wink: I think it is just a matter of preference :D:D:D

  3. #3
    Super Member nursie76's Avatar
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    It does make sense, but the thread count on sheets varies greatly. High thread count is heavy, but some of the lowest thread count sheets are almost like cheesecloth. I machine quilt, so wouldn't worry about it, but wouldn't use the real high count, too heavy and expensive to boot.

  4. #4
    Power Poster erstan947's Avatar
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    The hems on sheets are sewn with needles and that does not break down the sheet. Does not make sence to me. I hand quilted 2 quilts with sheets for backing. It did make it harder on my hands but did well. So like it's been said before personal preference.

  5. #5
    Super Member leaha's Avatar
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    I never, never use a sheet for the back of my quilts, for the reasons in first post.

  6. #6
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sue38
    I was about to embarq on a new method of backing my quilts using bedsheets. I read the following which has changed my mind altogether. I know that many of the quilter here use bedsheets but were they aware of the following or is it all hooey? Sheets have a high thread count, which forces your quilting needle to break the sheet's threads as it pierces through. This leaves holes in your backing and diminishes the stability of your sheet. Quilting fabric has a looser weave, which allows your needle to easily slide between the threads and keeps your backing fabric intact. Actually, it makes a lot of sense to me! What do you think?
    Load of bull if you ask me! Anyone who tells you, you can't use sheets is selling fabric

    ;) That's all sheets are...fabric. Some better quality than others and since a good portion of quilters quilt by machine thread count doesn't matter like it used to. Hand quilters need to think about getting a needle through it. I've never used a sheet but certainly will. Ikea has some awesome 100 percent, wonderful quality sheets!

  7. #7
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I have no problem with using sheets. They are fabric after all.

  8. #8
    Member julie777's Avatar
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    huh never used sheets before

  9. #9
    Cathie R's Avatar
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    I hand quilt and sheet do not needle well. I prefer muslin.

  10. #10
    Super Member mhunt1717's Avatar
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    I use them and love them!

  11. #11
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    Never heard of that myself. Never had any problem with everyday quilts that get a lot of washing and use. When in periods of no money, most people use what they have or can get cheaply, that usually means backing made of sheets because of the sheer volume of yardage. Haven't seen many old quilts with the backing ruined, but some fronts were looking pretty seedy.

  12. #12
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    I heard this many years ago when I first began quilting. I have never used one, so I don't have the experience.

  13. #13
    Power Poster CarrieAnne's Avatar
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    I have used lots of sheets with no problems!

  14. #14
    Senior Member Dingle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarrieAnne
    I have used lots of sheets with no problems!
    Ditto :thumbup:

  15. #15
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Yes I have heard of the reasons you listed. Yep I have used Batik wide backings and the needle size of the longarm made the "waste" fabric unusable. (Sometimes they run the pattern over the edges of the actual quilt onto just the batting and backing) These had holes so large the waste backing could never be used for anything else. This is because of the higher thread count and tight weave of the batik. So ... to make a long story short it did wash and 'wear" fine but.... I would be very cautious of using the very high thread count sheets. Particullary of you make an error the holes made from the original stitching will be noticable. Most recomendations for needles for machine quilting are to use a top stitch needle ... this is quite a large needle and would make sizable holes in a high thread count sheet. I look for a thread count of no more than 250 per inch and no less than 200 if using a sheet and it is fine. It depends also the needle size you use. Sometimes on a batik or other fabrics I lower my needle size .. yes even when I am quilting all the layers. As a general note it is a good idea to use the smallest size needle possible for finely woven goods even when piecing, and a new needle .. so as not to "pull"a thread.
    I have been using sheets since the 70's when the only wide choice there was ... was muslin. Not all my quilts have sheets for backs but a great many do. All have held up well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by erstan947
    The hems on sheets are sewn with needles and that does not break down the sheet. Does not make sence to me. I hand quilted 2 quilts with sheets for backing. It did make it harder on my hands but did well. So like it's been said before personal preference.
    This is the most logical thought! I also use sheets with no problems

  17. #17
    Junior Member Ladybugnana's Avatar
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    All of my quilts full size and larger are backed with sheets. I usually use the walmart brand but sometimes different ones. I have never had problems with any of them, they wash and wear wonderfully, no holes even after years of use. I wouldn't trade them for anything at this point as I machine quilt with a regular Babylock quilting machine that I sew the blocks together with.

  18. #18
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    Bed sheets come in different thread counts -- some are 200 threads per square inch, some are 800 (I think some are in the 1000s)....I see NO reason to not use them! I made a quilt for my daughter out of 2 sheets. It went to every campout, every sleepover and probably places I don't want to know about. She's still using it. I made it when she was 4. She's not 37!!!!!!! And I saw it in her house the last time I was there!!!!

  19. #19
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    I use sheets all the time, cotton and flannel. Some of the sheets are poly/cotton and they work too. I look for sheets on sale and my small local department store (Giant Tiger in Canada) often has flat sheets that are seconds for less than $10 and even some of the main brands made in the U.S.A. which make great long wearing backs. I try to buy King sized sheets and use any extra fabric to make matching pillowcases which can be used to store the quilt when it isn't on the bed. One look at the pillowcased quilt sitting on the shelf, tells me what quilt is folded inside without pulling my linen closet apart.

  20. #20
    Super Member Quiltforme's Avatar
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    I have never had a problem with sheets for the backing on my quilts. I just make sure that they are washed to avoid shrinkage. I love how they look!

  21. #21
    a regular here hazeljane's Avatar
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    I have used sheets for 20 years and have no problem, and no holes. I prefer good quality cotton sheets, with a thread count of 200-250. Occasionally I use cotton sateen with the same thread count, but it's a bit slipperier, so I prefer the straight weave.

    There will always be quilt police, but I have quilts I've made that have been laundered at least 50 times, and there is no trouble with them. I also buy white sheets and use them as sashing and background fabric. No trouble at all.

  22. #22
    Gal
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    As has been said on this site many times before, it is your quilt you can do what ever you wish! In my experience for what it is worth, I have used poly/cotton bed sheets for my backing when I have used poly/cotton fabrics for the quilt top, no problems, I use the cheaper sheets with not such a hight thread count. I am sure what you have read is true if you go for the dense 'Egyptian' cotton sheets with a very high thread count. I am entering no competitions and I work mosly in scraps and recyled fabrics so using sheets is fine for me, it is down to what you can afford and what kind of end results you are after.

    Gal

  23. #23
    BMP
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    I have used sheets in the past without any problems. If I can save some money for the backing I can buy more fabric. Some of the backs call for as much as 7 yards, and at the cost of nice fabric thats alot of new fabric I can buy.

  24. #24
    Senior Member calicocat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erstan947
    The hems on sheets are sewn with needles and that does not break down the sheet. Does not make sence to me. I hand quilted 2 quilts with sheets for backing. It did make it harder on my hands but did well. So like it's been said before personal preference.
    My thought exactly!!!!!!!! I use sheets all the time. No problem.

  25. #25
    Super Member Mary O's Avatar
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    Glad that to read all the post because I was considering using a bed sheet and felt like I would be breaking a rule.With the cost of fabric now I'm heading out to Wal Mart.....

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