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Thread: Using sheets for backing???

  1. #1
    Senior Member echobluff's Avatar
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    Please, please don't take this wrong...This by all means is nothing against those of you who use sheets for backing. This is just curiosity on my part. I've seen numerous posts on here saying you've used sheets for backing fabric. I understand the financial point of using sheets, but...Are these sheets 100% cotton? Are they of the same quality as quilting cotton? Are they woven the same as quilting cotton? I have 100% cotton Walmart sheets on my bed that are way higher thread count than my quilting cottons. After many washings, the sheets still aren't as soft/pliable as my fabrics. All of the time I spend planning, purchasing, cutting, piecing my quilt, I would never consider using sheets for backing fabric. I guess I'm just funny that way. I use 100% cotton fabric (no poly/cotton), 100% cotton thread (no cotton covered polyester) and Warm and Natural batting, for the following reasons: 1) Poly/cotton fabric doesn't get as soft as cotton, no matter how much it's laundered. 2) Using polyester thread when piecing/quilting cotton, the polyester filaments act like a knife and will cut cotton fibers...not something I want after everything that's gone into making a quilt to be loved/used. 3) I've found that poly batting beards more quickly than cotton. Plus, I like the "drapiness" of quilts made with cotton batting. Okay...I'll get down off my soapbox now (LOL) and look forward to hearing all your feedback. Have a great day! :-D

  2. #2
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    The sheets I use for backing are 100 percent cotton, and I actually PREFER used ones to new. The older ones have been washed many times, any color loss has already occurred, any shrinkage has already happened, and now I can cut and sew it to my satisfaction. To me, the older ones are better made and seem thicker than most of the new ones, with the possible exception of some of the higher priced ones, and at least one of those I'v felt didn't seem that a high quality for the big bucks.

    I use poly mainly for its long lasting quality, but for a very fine one, just don't know. Never made one that might be show quality, only for kids and friends and myself.

  3. #3
    Super Member suezquilts's Avatar
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    I purchase 100% cotton sheets 200 count for backings.
    I have been using them on quilts I'm giving away, graduation and such.
    I havent' used them on my personal quilts, only because I usually have something in mind for them.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Kat Sews's Avatar
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    I use what I have or can afford. Some of the quilts I have made using poly blends have been the nicest and most loved quilts. Since baby and childrens (even grown children) quilts are loved and washed to death it dosent make sense to use the weaker 100% cotton for those. Some of my quilts have won ribbons in the county fair and thats good enough for me.

  5. #5
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    I used sheets once, did not like the result, would not do it again. They way I figure it, the cost of backing is about the same as buying good sheets, and I get a better selection.

  6. #6
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by echobluff
    reasons: 1 2) Using polyester thread when piecing/quilting cotton, the polyester filaments act like a knife and will cut cotton fibers...not something I want after everything that's gone into making a quilt to be loved/used.
    This is a myth and totally not true. So please do not continue to perpetuate this old wives tale.

    From Superior threads:

    Will polyester thread really tear the fabric in my quilt?

    Thread will not tear through a fabric solely due to its fiber content. If a thread ever tears through a fabric, it is because it won the strength contest. In a battle of heavy use and high stress placed on a quilt, the strongest component will always win. It is not accurate to say that a polyester thread is stronger than cotton. I have a spool of thread on my desk labeled 100% cotton quilting thread. It is a very well known brand, widely available, and is one of the top selling machine quilting and piecing threads. It is twice as strong as a comparable polyester thread. Although it isn't labeled as such, it is coated with a glaze which strengthens the cotton fibers and makes the thread rather wiry. In a strength test, it beats a comparable size poly, rayon, and metallic every time. In a heavily used quilt, this stiff, wiry cotton thread could do more damage than a soft polyester thread. And it is 100% cotton.

    The point is this: The traditions, myths, and rumors that polyester thread will tear the quilt are not true

    Source: http://www.superiorthreads.com/educa...dition-or-myth

  7. #7
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    Many years ago I hand-quilted a quilt with a sheet as the backing. I'm sure it was a higher thread count than the cotton fabric, and it was miserable to quilt. Then a friend and I went together to work on a quilt for a mutual friend, and she bought a sheet to use as the backing. I washed it three times (probably not enough times!), and when I tried to use it on my longarm, it caused nothing but trouble with tension. I've found that using wide backing is much better - my machine likes it, and so do I. I'm happy for those who have used sheets and like them - it's just not something that works for me.

  8. #8
    Super Member Murphy's Avatar
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    Amen and thank you for clarifying and sharing this information.

    Quote Originally Posted by feline fanatic
    Quote Originally Posted by echobluff
    reasons: 1 2) Using polyester thread when piecing/quilting cotton, the polyester filaments act like a knife and will cut cotton fibers...not something I want after everything that's gone into making a quilt to be loved/used.
    This is a myth and totally not true. So please do not continue to perpetuate this old wives tale.

    From Superior threads:

    Will polyester thread really tear the fabric in my quilt?

    Thread will not tear through a fabric solely due to its fiber content. If a thread ever tears through a fabric, it is because it won the strength contest. In a battle of heavy use and high stress placed on a quilt, the strongest component will always win. It is not accurate to say that a polyester thread is stronger than cotton. I have a spool of thread on my desk labeled 100% cotton quilting thread. It is a very well known brand, widely available, and is one of the top selling machine quilting and piecing threads. It is twice as strong as a comparable polyester thread. Although it isn't labeled as such, it is coated with a glaze which strengthens the cotton fibers and makes the thread rather wiry. In a strength test, it beats a comparable size poly, rayon, and metallic every time. In a heavily used quilt, this stiff, wiry cotton thread could do more damage than a soft polyester thread. And it is 100% cotton.

    The point is this: The traditions, myths, and rumors that polyester thread will tear the quilt are not true

    Source: http://www.superiorthreads.com/educa...dition-or-myth

  9. #9
    Senior Member maryb44662's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by echobluff
    Please, please don't take this wrong...This by all means is nothing against those of you who use sheets for backing. This is just curiosity on my part. I've seen numerous posts on here saying you've used sheets for backing fabric. I understand the financial point of using sheets, but...Are these sheets 100% cotton? Are they of the same quality as quilting cotton? Are they woven the same as quilting cotton? I have 100% cotton Walmart sheets on my bed that are way higher thread count than my quilting cottons. After many washings, the sheets still aren't as soft/pliable as my fabrics. All of the time I spend planning, purchasing, cutting, piecing my quilt, I would never consider using sheets for backing fabric. I guess I'm just funny that way. I use 100% cotton fabric (no poly/cotton), 100% cotton thread (no cotton covered polyester) and Warm and Natural batting, for the following reasons: 1) Poly/cotton fabric doesn't get as soft as cotton, no matter how much it's laundered. 2) Using polyester thread when piecing/quilting cotton, the polyester filaments act like a knife and will cut cotton fibers...not something I want after everything that's gone into making a quilt to be loved/used. 3) I've found that poly batting beards more quickly than cotton. Plus, I like the "drapiness" of quilts made with cotton batting. Okay...I'll get down off my soapbox now (LOL) and look forward to hearing all your feedback. Have a great day! :-D
    I have used sheets (from thrift store) king size if I can find them. No, I do not always use 100% cotton fabric nor thread. I have made quilts out of everything, from flannal to polyester and never had any problems. I have used clothing from deceased persons for the family. The sheets that I use are "good" used ones that I know have been washed many times. I believe in using what you have like the folks did many years ago. Maybe my quilts are not the "professional" kind, but the people I've given them to love them. In fact, both DWR quilts were made out of sheets (front and back) and my girls love them. I also only use low-loft polyester batting in them. They are light but warm. I have not had any problems machine quilting or hand quilting that batting. This is just my way of doing things and to each his own ideas. I have pictures of a lot of my quilts on this board if you would like to see them. Happy quilting....Mary

  10. #10
    Super Member raedar63's Avatar
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    I guess my quilts are not good enough to justify lots of money on the backing . I make mostly scrap quilts . I buy my USED sheets at various places and am pleased. I guess I really don't care if they last forever. Now IF I ever get good enought to make really nice quilts I would spend the extra cash on the backing :)

  11. #11
    Super Member mimom's Avatar
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    I have used sheets on two quilts and they still hold up strong. I made them for my boys who dont use top sheets on their beds. So I am keeping them warm and not using any extra money.

  12. #12
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    I use both cotton and flannel sheets on the backs of my machine quilted quilts all the time with absolutely no problems. I think it's strictly a matter of preference and end use. My quilts are made to be used and sometimes dragged off to camp, sleep-overs or college. The sheet backings stand up to repeated washings and I don't have so many $ invested that I cringe when I see how wet and muddy my son's quilt is after his camp-out on the May 24 weekend. On the polyester thread note, we had the Superior thread educator for all of Canada at our guild meeting last night and there is absolutely NO REASON not to use it in our quilts. Use thread your machine likes and CHANGE your needle every 8 hours or with every project.

  13. #13
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    As quilters we need to use the fabrics and threads we have to create warm wonderful quilts and not worry so much about what's on the back of our quilts. As my daughter often reminds me "Mom the baby won't care".

  14. #14
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
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    At least you are consistent. i was wondering the other day about why so many seem to use cotton/poly sheets when it seems like so many also will only use 100% cotton in the quilt itself.

    I am not a purist, so I don't mind using poly/cotton, esp. on my charity quilts to the poor. I figure if the quilt is used for 2-3 years, then that is good....so a poly/cotton sheet (used) is fine.

    But I also had some of the same thoughts about why people will spend all this time on the front and then use whatever on the back.

    Since I use "whatever I have" on the front as well, I do scrappy backs... :)

  15. #15
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feline fanatic
    Quote Originally Posted by echobluff
    reasons: 1 2) Using polyester thread when piecing/quilting cotton, the polyester filaments act like a knife and will cut cotton fibers...not something I want after everything that's gone into making a quilt to be loved/used.
    This is a myth and totally not true. So please do not continue to perpetuate this old wives tale.

    From Superior threads:

    Will polyester thread really tear the fabric in my quilt?

    Thread will not tear through a fabric solely due to its fiber content. If a thread ever tears through a fabric, it is because it won the strength contest. In a battle of heavy use and high stress placed on a quilt, the strongest component will always win. It is not accurate to say that a polyester thread is stronger than cotton. I have a spool of thread on my desk labeled 100% cotton quilting thread. It is a very well known brand, widely available, and is one of the top selling machine quilting and piecing threads. It is twice as strong as a comparable polyester thread. Although it isn't labeled as such, it is coated with a glaze which strengthens the cotton fibers and makes the thread rather wiry. In a strength test, it beats a comparable size poly, rayon, and metallic every time. In a heavily used quilt, this stiff, wiry cotton thread could do more damage than a soft polyester thread. And it is 100% cotton.

    The point is this: The traditions, myths, and rumors that polyester thread will tear the quilt are not true

    Source: http://www.superiorthreads.com/educa...dition-or-myth
    Someone posted recently that they did have a quilt that tore at the seams that had been sewn with poly thread. I just prefer cotton so that's what I use. I've never bought poly other than when I sewed clothes and used coats cotton wrapped poly.

  16. #16
    Super Member Lv2sew2011's Avatar
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    I've been using sheets as well, even though I've just started, I havent had any issue with them. And since I'm learning why not save the money since there so many mistakes any way! LOL

  17. #17
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    I have used cotton sheets and have had no problems with them.

  18. #18
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    They are more difficult to quilt through, and they will PILL if not good quality!

  19. #19
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Sheets are fine for the back and many are of better quality than the fabric used for the top! Just as all 100 percent cotton quilting fabric is not the same ( lots of discussion here on that subject) neither are all cotton sheets. Yes a high count sheet will be difficult to hand quilt, and if you make a mistake quilting it there can be holes from the needle. So buying a 200 thread count to 150 thread count cotton sheet is comparable to cotton quilt fabric.
    As for the poly thread , it is a myth. enough said on that subject.
    As for bearding from a poly batting, it depends on the quality of the scrim. A high quality poly batting can perform well. It is the quilters choice for the desired outcome ,warmth, draping, hand vs machine quilting, many variables come to play in selecting the batting for a quilt.
    There are many individual choices and circumstances that are enveloped in the final quilt, each should be a treasure and free of judgement.

  20. #20
    Super Member mimom's Avatar
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    Very well put Lori S, I felt a little judged by the poster

  21. #21
    Super Member IrelandDragonQuilting's Avatar
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    I like the idea of using a flannel sheet, never thought of that. I am going to try that on my next bed quilt. I think that will add more warmth.

  22. #22
    Senior Member izzybelle's Avatar
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    That was an honest post. And just like everyother post people have their own ideas-what works for some, or liked by some, is personal preference. I appreciate the honesty and candor of everone who had an opinion. As a newer quilter (less than 3 years) I often have these questions running through my brain, and are too afraid to ask for fear of looking stupid. So many wonderful people on this board have said, "There are no stupid questions". I am thankful to everyone here. Your help is wonderful

  23. #23
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    I look for 100% cotton sheets at thrift stores. As someone else commented, they've been washed a zillion times and are pretty soft and you have no seams. I like the bit of savings this provides. For some reason I can spend lots for gorgeous batiks for the front, but almost all my quilts are backed with sheets or a nice quality muslin.

  24. #24
    Senior Member 2manyprojects's Avatar
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    I have used sheets on 2 "early" quilts and it is very hard to quilt thru as not same material and as always needs to be prewashed and dried...I would not use them again.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaciqltznok
    They are more difficult to quilt through, and they will PILL if not good quality!
    I use them all the time for tie quilts--and prefer good USED sheets I usually get for $1 or $2--yes they ARE tough to quilt through--which is why I tie them! Usually use 100% cotton for ours, but blend for charity quilts that will be washed and washed--and dried in a dryer most likely---and use blankets in those instead of batting so they hold up for years....
    No problems with pilling so far as I check the sheets carefully for thread count and quality...

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