Hello my quilting friends! I have a new quilting debate for you today asking a simple question – can I use bedsheets in my quilts? Well, that’s where I begin at least! I also touch on using cheap fabric from big box stores, t-shirts, and weird fabrics like silk, wool, jeans, and cordory. Enjoy watching the podcast and my progress on the free form crochet sweater right here:
Or you can listen to the episode or download it to your computer here:
Quick Links to things mentioned in the show:
Should You Use Bed Sheets in Your Quilts?
This is a debate I’ve seen come up multiple times in quilting forums and groups and it really is a logical question – I need a giant piece of 100% cotton fabric that’s as big as my bed for the backing of this quilt. Well, how about this top bed sheet that’s already the right size?
Short answer: yes, that’s just fine.
Just in case you've heard differently, here's a bit of background: Bed sheets have a reputation for being difficult to quilt through from hand quilters. It makes sense that a high quality, high thread count sheet would be difficult to stitch through by hand.
But doesn’t that mean batik fabrics are harder to hand quilt through too? I find my favorite Island Batik Fabrics often have a tighter weave than the sheets on my bed.
So if you've heard that using bed sheets in your quilts is a big quilting no-no, you need to consider the source. Is she a hand quilter? Has she ever used a sheet in a quilt personally?
Many times quilting lore is shared from person to person with no real-life experience behind it. This is why quilter's are still being told not to use polyester thread. It's a rumor that continues to be spread in the spirit of helping one another out.
I don't think using a bed sheet in your quilts is an issue anymore. Quilting has long since moved beyond hand-work only and most quilters machine quilt or have their quilts longarm quilted.
Are bed sheets an issue to quilt through on long arms? This is definitely something I want to test out in my next longarm quilt. I plan to pick out two top sheets – one super cheap, low thread count sheet and one high thread count, expensive sheet and quilt two throw quilts to see what happens.
The way I figure it – If my machine doesn’t try to eat it, I can quilt with it.
This goes straight into weird materials. Jeans, t-shirts, silk, wool, leather – you name it, quilters have made quilts out of it! If you’re feeling bored or you just have a lot of something weird laying around, why not try it?
Now there’s another thing that can be behind the whole – DON’T USE THAT campaign and it’s simply good ole fashion snobbery. Some people think buying fabric from big box stores is just plain wrong. I received several negative comments on this free pattern made for JoAnn Fabrics.
Dude, if you can afford $12 - $18 a yard fabric, go buy it! But please don’t tell someone it’s wrong to use it in their quilts.
Yes, the gray goods that cheaper fabrics are printed on is lesser quality. The weave isn’t as tight and the quality isn’t as awesome.
But any fabric you purchase today is still 300% better quality than the fabrics our grandmothers or great grandmothers were using in the 1970s. Before you turn up your nose at it, please consider that it doesn't matter what someone else is using. Worry about yourself, purchase the fabrics you want to use, and go make your quilts the way you want to make them!
Whew! So that's it for this quilting debate. I hope it puts this whole bed sheet thing to rest. I do plan to buy some sheets and try them out on the longarm to see what happens. I'll be curious to know how a 500 thread count sheet compares to a 200 thread count and also against my normal quilting solids, prints, and batiks.
Let's go quilt,