Should I use a Bed Sheet for Quilt Backing?

Hello Everyone!

Today I’d like to make a quick comment about bed sheets as a choice for quilt backing. My comments are based on what I’ve read and conversation with fellow quilters. I have never used a bed sheet for a quilt backing.

When a bed sheet is manufactured the thread weave is very tight. Sheets are made this way to withstand the rigors of us humans who abuse them. The tight weave is why you shouldn’t use them. When you sew through them the needle will pierce or break those very tightly woven threads. The result is a quilt back with broken threads that will break down quickly, developing holes. And then the quilt you spent hours creating, wanting the recipient to enjoy it for decades- perhaps it’s meant to be an heirloom quilt- will not live the life you had intended it to. Poor quilt!

When I pick out fabric for a quilt top I usually wait to buy backing fabric. I like to finish the top and see what feeling it gives me; sometimes what I think I wanted changes after the top is done. Then I shop for backing fabric. At this point I can also tell what fabric I want for the binding too. Usually the binding is one of the fabrics in the top; something that will make every other color/element of the quilt pop. Another thought- why would you want a (most likely) solid color bed sheet when there are so many choices of beautiful fabric for the backing?

Please do your beautiful quilt top the justice it deserves- give it a beautiful back! Take the time to buy and piece your backing; your smile will be much larger when you admire your finished quilt!

Until next time- find some time to sew!