Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sheets for Backs??

First off, thank you to everyone who left wonderful insightful comments on my post from yesterday on whether to change my header or not.  You sure know how to help a girl out.  For the moment, I will be sticking to plain and clean.  Because like so many of you pointed out, when it comes down to it, that is what I like, and for the moment, that is what I like :)

So what do you do when you get to the back of your quilt??

My backs are usually decided by what type of fabric I have on hand.  If I have large scraps left over then I normally do a pieced back with all sorts of fun random piecing.  I do this because I like to use up those prints.    If I have just a little bit of scraps leftover, I usually do a fabric WOF back with maybe a strip of the leftover scraps in it, if I am feeling up to it.  (Although, mostly I do this if my quilt is over 80" and I just need a few more inches to baste it, this happens mostly in twin size quilts :)  And my little baby blankets are almost always just a piece of fabric that is a yard and a half making a 44" square, mostly because it's easy.

Here is the pieced back I put together this afternoon.  It falls into that large scraps left over category so it got turned into what I think is a pretty fun pieced back.  (These prints are from Pat Bravo's Indie collection and there's a quilt underneath the back that I will be sharing soon, yup, tutorial coming your way :)

But when I am finished this quilt, I am then moving onto finishing my King Size and Queen Size Braided Irish Chain quilts.  I didn't order backing fabric for them at the time I bought the fabric for the front.  And the last few days I have been thinking about what I wanted to do for the back.   And I admit, the thought of piecing those huge backings made me cringe a little.

So this morning, when I got my little Daily Steals email and they had King Size Sheet sets on for $15.00 (screaming deal) I had a little light bulb moment.  I thought to myself, the last time I was down at the little long arm shop, I saw 2 ladies who had used sheets as backing.  And then I thought some more and realized lots of quilters use vintage sheets for backing.  So I went for it. (It was one of those timed deals so it's not like I could dwell on it for days.)   I bought 2 sets and am planning on using the straight sheet for backings.  And I suppose I will have some extra pillow cases.   (The deal lasts for about another 6 hours if you want to grab some for yourself :)



So here is my question for you today???  Have you ever used a sheet for a quilt back??  If so, do you have any pointers for me??  Any help would be appreciated as this is totally new to me :)
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48 comments:

  1. Oh, I really want to hear those responses, too. I'm a newbie, and from what I've read in Blogland, it appears to be a Love/Hate thing with the sheet backs.

    I like them (I have lots of vintage sheets), but I've read a couple of longarm quilters will not quilt if the back is a sheet (?!).

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    1. Yup, use sheets all the time. Low thread count definitley, high thread count causes problems. My preference is flannel sheets. Pre-wash as it shrinks a BUNCH. Flannels tend to go on sale in September. Used to get flannel flats from Mervyns every September...

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  2. I always use sheets for my backs. I piece them with some left over fabrics just to break it up. The trick is though to use low thread count sheets, 200 or so. Too high a thread count and they are impossible to quilt...as I learned the hard way with my long arm : ) SO far I have had good luck with wash and wear of these. Just my 2 cents on this! : )

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  3. I love using sheets for backs. I do it everytime I can find one that matches closely enough. Thus far I've only used the cheap walmart flat sheets. I've never had a problem with shrinkage or, well, any problems.

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  4. I like to piece my backing with fabrics I have left from making the top. Sometimes I go to my stash and piece what I have on hand. Sometimes I use clearance fabrics. I have never used a sheet, but I'm not opposed to using one. Sounds like you found a good deal, Melissa : )

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  5. I've used sheets and had no problems! I just treated it the same as cotton backing, good luck!

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  6. Very first quilt I ever made was two sheets with batting in between. I tied it as I didn't know anything about quilting back then and one of the sheets had squares set at an angle so it was very easy to tie. I have it to this day and my kids still love it. In fact my daughter has asked me to make one for her out of different sheets but I will actually quilt hers. I don't see anything wrong with using sheets although I have read on one blog not to do it. But what I have noticed is whatever you want to do someone is going to say you shouldn't so I think that you just have to do what you want.

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  7. I've used sheets quite a bit. Like another commenter said above, use a lower thread count. I use a 350 thread sheet recently and it was rough. I had lots of skipped stitches and my machine tension was having issues. I always prewash sheets because they tend to shrink quite a bit. Other than that, just go for it. Check your tension. I have to up mine when using a sheet. Have fun!

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  8. I have used sheets for backing. I happened upon a big CLEARANCE of cotton sheets at Target one day - I got a LOT of them. Hey, don't dismiss the fitted sheets, you can cut out the corner elastic and have quite a bit of usable fabric! I just read on a longarm quilter's site that yes she would use a sheet that you send in for backing as long as you had taken the hemmed sides off.

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  9. This sounds do able, and I love the vintage sheet idea, but I am making modern quilts, so a solid like this sounds great....... I love to crawl between my sheets so hey why not quilt if it works, keep me posted..

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  10. I have used sheets for backs and they work fabulously because they launder so well and get smoother and softer as years of washings go by. Walmart is where I buy them, $5 100% cotton.

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  11. I've made lots of quilts with sheet backings and they've worked fabulously. Not piecing is wonderful. I've used exclusively thrifted sheets, some vintage, some not. Most 100% cotton and even some with a bit of poly in them (really cute prints that I just had to use.) Every time I am in the thrift store I look at the sheets and often I find something that I can use.

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  12. I use sheets for twin quilt (and bigger) backings. I like to cut them up a little to add some interest echoing the front, but other than adding one or two quilt squares I really just use a whole sheet. Like earlier commenters said... prewash, and stick with lower thread counts. I really like to use thecompanystore.com percale solid sheets (I think they're around 200-250 thread count?) because I can usually find a good coordinating color to go with my quilt front. They are also pretty cheap if you get them on clearance or on a coupon code or get them on free shipping... Seems like the consensus here is to go ahead and use them. I wonder what the "other side" has to say about it...

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  13. Yep! I have used sheets both vintage and new. Why not? They are fabulous to use as backings.

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  14. I've used a sheet once. It as an old sheet from an estate sale. It was great not to have to piece a back - even used it as a self binding. However, it was a tight weave and I had tons of skipped stitches and broken thread. It was fine with straight line quilting but not with fmq.

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  15. I have used sheets many, many times and never have a problem with them. I don't prewash them, either, although it wouldn't hurt to do so. I use the Walmart brand of sheets (I usually pick up a flat sheet or 2 each time I go to keep up my stash). I'll admit it here, too, I use them for the front as well. While I'd love to use Kona or Shot Cottons or Bella Solids, it's just not in my budget. But I can swing $6 for a flat sheet. :)

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  16. I love your Indie project so far! I started drafting my Indie quilt pattern tonight. I wish pattern writing came as easy to me as sewing does!! :)

    I have yet to use a sheet for a quilt backing, but I've always wanted to try! Good luck!!

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  17. I've used sheets for years, before I began piecing tops and backs. They are a great size and wear really well. When we lived in Georgia I would go the to fabric mills and buy their sheet seconds. Those quilts, tied with yarn have outlasted everything else.

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  18. Yes ma'am! Go for it! My only suggestion would be to try to cut off a piece and definitely check your tension with a quilt sandwich before you dive in.

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  19. The ones I saw on your site were micro fiber, will they do as well as all cotton? I know everyone is suggesting all cotton, and I believe the micro fiber is a polyester fiber of some sort..just thinking out loud.

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  20. Yes on sheets, actually I've used them for fronts and backs. I do not use microfiber, I'm afraid of them shredding later on. I have seen that happen to a utility quilt. I shoot for lower thread count (200-300) and mostly cotton ~
    :-}pokey

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  21. I have and I loved it. So much cheaper and easier than piecing.

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  22. I am so glad you asked for advice.... I always wondered about this. There are some good comments about it here. Thanks.

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  23. I've used a flanelette sheet for a back before, it was great. haven't used a normal sheet though.

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  24. I almost always use sheets for my backing. I haunt T.J. Maxx and Marshall's looking for 100% cotton sheets, especially ones that are cute for kid's quilts. I also buy these amazingly soft sheets at Target, also 100% cotton and dye them when I don't have the right color for backing. It's easy and saves a ton of money.

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  25. I love using vintage sheets for the quilt backs.

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  26. Oh yes, and duvet covers work well too :oD

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  27. I'm certainly not a fabric snob. I just would like to know what thread count to look for so that I'm not having trouble quilting it. I don't want to have to tight of a weave in the thread so that it is going to be a problem. What thread count would you say is the fabric that we normally buy from say... the Fat Quarter Shop???

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  28. I found the cutest polkadotted sheet and plannto use it as a backing! Best deal ever! I got it for less that $2 how could you ever back a quilt for so little?

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  29. I'm happy to see so many pro-sheet people. When I first started quilting a few years ago, I asked this question and didn't get a very positive response, which i thought was strange. Quilters have been using whatever fabrics they could find for centuries, so why not now? I can see how a lower thread count would be important. I may try this on one of my next quilts. It would sure allow me to stretch my fabric budget considerably.

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  30. These are AWESOME comments. I'm relieved to hear that so many folks say "yes!" to sheets (because I have a small collection of vintage sheets I've been hoarding for years). :)

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  31. thank you ladies for all of your positive comments, I've wanted to use sheets for backing for years but was always told I couldn't, I too thought that was strange. So now I already have the backing to my string quilt I'm working on, yippee!

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  32. I've used sheets for decades as quilt backs and have only recently started piecing quilt backs. Only advice....pay attention to the thread count if you want a softer snuggly quilt back.

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  33. I have used sheets before, too. They make it so easy since there is no piecing. Also, I use them whenever I back duvet covers or if I need to line something. I love to grab them when they go on clearance. I used up my last few that I had so I am on the lookout again. I always pre-wash them because I find that they can shrink a lot. It is so great to see how many pro sheet gals there are!

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  34. as long as they are cotton and you pre-wash them they should work just fine. No seams is a Plus!

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  35. My mother in law backed our wedding quilt, 22 years ago, with a JCPenney cotton percale sheet (abt 200ct) that I donated for the project. Daily use for all those years, and it still looks new.

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  36. Yes, the polyester blends are sneaky too - look out for those. I am always looking for quality 100% cotton sheets at thrift stores for my quilt backs. With used fitted sheets, they are usually much more worn out than the flat ones though.

    I use new fitted sheets whenever. I don't use over 350 thread count, but I don't really trust some of the 200 - you just have to feel them and tug on them to make sure the sheet is quality, as there is a lot of variation.

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  37. Here's me thinking I was the only one who used sheets as backing!! Always use a sheet, much cheaper to buy and I personally like a solid backing. Starting to look at duvet covers now as well!!!! Hugs

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  38. I am on my first quilt top done and so beautiful warm and natural for batting ive seen how its pinned with backing my question is this why is a straight forward quilting something everyone seems to imply that its tooo diffucult ?

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    1. Hi Goldie,

      It's not that it is difficult to stitch, it is that it is difficult to keep flat and with no bubbles. When stitching straight lines you are often using a walking foot and that will help with the bubbles. But, because the fabric is being "feed" through the machine it is easy to get bubbles or creases in the backing where you can't see it. The key to avoiding this is to baste, a lot!! The more you baste, the less you have to worry. I hope this helps :)

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  39. I am always looking for quality 100% cotton sheets at thrift stores for my Sheets backs. I also buy these amazingly soft sheets at Target, also 100% cotton and dye them when I don't have the right color for backing.

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  40. Well! If i talk about myself then I do not use microfiber, I'm afraid of them shredding later on. I have seen that happen to a utility quilt. but I use the Walmart brand of sheets (I usually pick up a flat sheet or 2 each time I go to keep up my stash). I'll admit it here, too, I use them for the front as well. I would like to add comments here. Regards : Lisa Dodd

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  41. I am using a sheet as a backing and it is giving me fits when I try quilting! The bobbin thread bunches up and skips...just seems to be impossible to finish. I may have to take out what I've done and hand stitch..which I've never done. Not sure of the thread count, I got it at a second hand store. Any suggestions??

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  42. What about using a blend of 60% cotton, 40%polyester and 40% Algodon for backing on an art quilt?

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  43. My quilting stash contains several window curtains, cloth shower curtains, table cloths and many sheets that I have picked up at bargain prices. Fabric is fabric.

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  44. I make recycled quilts, using donated fabric scraps and clothing for the blocks. Old donated blankets for bating, and old sheets for the back. If properly put together, one can make an envelope by sewing the the 3 layers together on 3 sides, turn it inside out, and the top should be right side out, the sheet on the back, blanket in the middle. Tuck raw edges under on the unsewn side, stitch it shut. And it is now assembled. It can then be tied in regular intervals to keep it stable, using crochet thread or wharever you have on hand, such as yarn or string if you have a needle with large eye. Of course you take care to make each layer the same size, smoothing them all out to match up before sewing and tying. You could do a contrasting top stick around outside edge...get creative. I take these to shelters and ask that guests be allowed to take the quilt with them upon leaving. I have more specific directions if anyone wants more info.

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Thank you so much for your sweet comments. I just love hearing from you!!
Have a Happy Quilting Day :)

Melissa