I just recently learned to quilt and for the backing of the quilt, I used a king size sheet for my queen sized bed. I wanted a solid color and didn't want to spend $4 a yard when I could get a sheet at Walmart for $5 and get the color I wanted. I then tied it and put a binding on it and my quilt was done.
My DD did a twin quilt the same way with a double sheet. I think the only way you would have to use actual "bolt material" is if you did a quilt larger than a king, because a king flat sheet has a little over an inch of folded over material.
I do this also - I have also picked up flannel sheets to use instead of batting for a nice summer-weight quilt, and old 100% cotton sheets (sometimes still in the package) from estate sales. This works best for a tied quilt, as the sheet is usually thicker than regular fabric and harder to hand quilt.
Just be sure to pre-wash the sheet as they tend to shrink just a bit, and look for 100% cottons.
Enjoy your new quilt, and your new hobby!
Yes, I too would leave the sheets for tied quilts that will get used and washed a lot. If you put all the work into a hand quilted quilt, you don't really want a sheet on the back.
For the middle of a tied quilt, my grandmother used old blankets. Just make sure they are washable, and in nice condition. This makes a very heavy quilt, for those cold winter nights!
While this is a very thrifty idea I think that any experienced quilter would tell you that it is the quality of the material you use that will determine how long your quilt will last. If you are looking to make casual pieces for when you want to change up your bedding without spending a lot this is a good idea. If you are looking to make an "heirloom" quilt to last a lifetime I would look for deals on quality fabric either online or your local thrift shop. Good idea though!
I have used sheets for years. My very favorite quilt was when the sheets had scenery on them. I put one color on top and another color on bottom. I also tied it. That was 42 years ago and it is still very pretty. Also, I do strip quilting or some people call it string quilts. I go to the thrift stores and get sheets, tear them in to 14 inch squares. Then I put a backing on it. The sheet in the middle makes a warm and a light weight quilt.
I have quilted for years & used a top sheet for backing on nearly all of them once I realized the money I would save. I buy a good quality sheet, because I usually give mine as gifts & because I want them to last. I have also used printed sheets as well, whether I am hand-tying or quilting it--then you have a reversible quilt. A quick comforter is a giant 'pillowcase' made of two flat bed sheets sew together on 3 sides. Slide filling material in the center & hand tie with colorful ribbon or yarn, then whipstitch or sew the open end closed. I've done this for my children & grandchildren made from sheets printed with their favorite cartoon characters & they're always met with enthusiasm. You can also make curtains to match the theme just by threading a curtain rod through the top of a coordinating or matching flat bed sheet. My grandmother used old blankets to fill her quilts & I've done a few myself. There's nothing like slipping under a big old heavy quilt when there's snow on the ground & ice in the air...
I read recently that it's not a good idea to use sheets as the backing of a quilt. The weave is too dense. The needle will cut the threads, and make holes in the fabric. They might not be noticeable at first, but after repeated washings, they'll weaken the fabric. I think flannel is more loosely woven. The surface of the flannel would help keep the quilt from sliding off the bed.
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