How to Use Vintage Sheets for Quilts

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They’re Inexpensive, Colorful and Fun to Work With!

Back when I learned to quilt we were told to look for 100% cotton vintage sheets to use for backing. The large size of a sheet often meant you didn’t need to piece the back and the soft fabric was easy to hand quilt.

Today, Jeni Baker makes entire quilts from vintage sheets. They’re fairly easy to find at thrift stores and are inexpensive to boot. Plus, the sheets she looks for tend to be colorful prints (usually  50%/50% polyester cotton blends).

How to Use Vintage Sheets for Quilts

Jeni provides excellent instructions for selecting, cleaning and preparing vintage sheets, which can be usable even if they’re a bit stained.

How to Use Vintage Sheets for Quilts

More modern lightly used 100% cotton sheets are also good candidates for quilts, although they tend to come in softer colors.

One thing to note is that Jeni recommends 100% poly thread when sewing with vintage sheets (because of the tightness of the weave). Should you happen to be lucky enough to find truly old 100% cotton sheets in good shape do a test to determine whether cotton or poly thread gives you the best stitch quality.

Click here for “How to Identify, Shop for and Sew with Vintage Sheets.”

How to Use Vintage Sheets for Quilts

Learn more about Jeni’s Giant Vintage Star quilt and pillow here.

In a second article Jeni shows us how to cut up a sheet to make the most of it. Her method produces sizes that we’re used to working with in purchased fabric.

Click here for the “How to Cut Up a Vintage Sheet” article.


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