Too Much?

As I have said recently, much as I love making patchwork quilts, tragically my quilting skills are not up to much.

So, in an attempt to disguise any imperfections, I’ve decided to avoid using plain backings as they are too unforgiving.

Of course, trying to find extra wide fabric for quilt backs when you want to avoid a join is not easy.  Patterns are limited and the majority are to be found in the U.S. which usually mean the shipping costs more than the fabric.

This, in miniature (as I’ve only completed one braid so far), will be my next quilt

FriendshipBraidQuiltPrep (2)

I searched for some suitable backing and have actually ordered a chevron design from the U.S. at a bargain price and, even with the shipping, it is still cheaper than I would get it here or the U.K.

riley blake chevronsThis is from Riley Blake and, as well as going quite well with the front, I thought the chevrons, which are two inches apart point to point, might give me some guidelines for quilting.  This should be winging it’s way to me across the pond as we speak.

However, on Friday, I went charity shop rummaging and came out with ten vintage sheets.  As you do.  I think they will be good for a number of things.  Cutting up and making a quilt top from fabric that is already nice and soft and worn giving the resulting quilt a nice vintage look.  Making a dress or blouse.  Using as sheets (there’s an idea!)  Or – using as backing for quilts.

Vintage Sheets (1)

So, spot the green and white check one on the bottom.  What do you think about using that for the Friendship Braid quilt backing?  Too much?

VIntage Sheet Quilt Backing

All comments invited and welcome but not necessarily taken any notice of 🙂


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  1. #1 by Frivolous Monsters on February 15, 2015 - 16:03

    Is vintage sheets not an odd thing to find in a charity shop?

    • #2 by tialys on February 15, 2015 - 16:20

      When I still lived in the U.K. I didn’t frequent charity shops. Sometimes, if I was shopping with my mother, she would drag me into them and I would try to look airily detached from the proceedings. However, living in rural France – and possibly getting older – has made me give less of a toss what people think and I have discovered that there are often many things of interest to be found. Here in France you can often find beautiful antique linen sheets with the embroidered monograms that would have gone into a bride’s trousseau and they are often unused and still folded up as they would originally have been before being stored in linen presses or drawers. If you’ve ever considered buying linen bedding – which I’m willing to believe hasn’t crossed your mind! – it is hideously expensive and so buying antique ones is a good option. These floral ones I’ve bought here are not antique but probably from the 1970s and are also very common to find here. It’s a good way of getting a lot of fabric for not much money.

      • #3 by Frivolous Monsters on February 15, 2015 - 16:49

        Yeah, never really had to consider buying linen bedding. Most charity shops here are (still) rather tragic. The more impressive ones are where the chains have made an effort and filtered out the good stuff for special shops where they’re going to charge more for them. I think the only charity shop I actually buy stuff from is the specialist (Oxfam, I think) bookshop in Manchester. I’ve rarely bought a book from any other charity shop as they are just awful unless you want Mills and Boon.

  2. #4 by katechiconi on February 15, 2015 - 16:04

    I’d say it was the perfect choice. Not too much at all. I adore a green gingham, so perhaps I’m biased, but I think it’s lovely. I hope it’s not too high a thread count, as that’ll make quilting a bit of a chore. Sheets tend to be finely and tightly woven, much more so than quilting fabrics and it can make getting the needle through all the layers quite hard. Here’s hoping it’s only a 250 or something, which will be quite easy to work with. And use a new needle!

    • #5 by tialys on February 15, 2015 - 16:22

      Thanks Kate. I hadn’t thought about the thread count actually. Some of the sheets are much finer than others but I think the green and white one feels slightly stiffer – I don’t think it has ever been used so I’ll see what it’s like after I’ve washed it. Maybe I’ll have a little practice with a quilt sandwich before I commit – although I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing it with the machine!!

  3. #6 by on February 15, 2015 - 16:18

    Not too much, just right. I’ve been using old sheets as backing since I started quilting, and recently bought a new one in a supermarket (Leclerc), because it was just the colours I wanted, and massively wide. The new one was a bit stiff for hand quilting, but where there’s a will…… I like your braid.

    • #7 by tialys on February 15, 2015 - 16:27

      Thanks Viv. I’m quite chuffed I spotted that green and white check one as it does seem as if it will work and, if not, it cost all of 3 euros!

  4. #8 by Lynne @ boutschoisis on February 15, 2015 - 19:27

    I spy moda “Gypsy girl” and the green check will echo the checks in that range very nicely indeed! 3 euros -what a bargain! We don’t seem to get many charity shops as such in Normandy – just plenty of vide-greniers and a few Emmaüs sales. As Viv says French sheets are ideal – especially as they are usually 100% cotton – no polyester! Lynne.

    • #9 by tialys on February 16, 2015 - 14:26

      Well spotted Lynne – it is Gypsy Girl. Our vide greniers disappear from around the end of October until the end of March and then they are in full swing every Sunday again. We only have one charity shop – and it is Emmaus. It’s definitely not like the British high street is it??

  5. #10 by Jan Marriott on February 15, 2015 - 23:19

    Oh, I wish you were in North America, I could have given you tons. Trouble is they are quite heavy to post.
    The price is right!

    • #11 by tialys on February 16, 2015 - 14:27

      I bet you have a huge collection Jan. Do you use them to make other things with or just for themselves?

  6. #12 by Thimberlina on February 16, 2015 - 00:53

    Sorry, no advice to offer as I’m not a quilter. Just passing through enjoying the photos. And love the last sentence about taking no notice of comments. Made me chuckle 😀

    • #13 by tialys on February 16, 2015 - 14:29

      No worries! There are plenty of other things I make you could offer advice on.

  7. #14 by lovelucie1 on February 16, 2015 - 14:04

    Personally I prefer the green gingham to your red chevrons. Perfect, I would say.

    • #15 by tialys on February 16, 2015 - 14:30

      That seems to be the overriding preference Lucie. It’s a shame I didn’t wait until I’d been charity shop rummaging and I could have saved myself some money. However – I do like the red chevrons and I’m sure it will be a useful addition to the stash.

  8. #16 by creative pixie on February 16, 2015 - 14:27

    In the past if I’d have seen vintage bed sheets in a charity shop I would have thought urggh but now that I know people use them for patchwork they seem more appealing.

    • #17 by tialys on February 16, 2015 - 14:40

      I know just what you mean. Who knows where they’ve been before. I give them a thorough inspection, a sniff, a good wash and choose a sunny day so they can dry in the fresh air. It’s quite nice to feel smug about doing a bit of recycling too.

  9. #18 by creative pixie on February 16, 2015 - 14:28

    Forgot to say that your braid looks really pretty.

  10. #20 by Zoe on February 25, 2015 - 12:31

    That green and white check is awesome! You should definitely use it for the purpose you’re talking about (not that I know anything at all about quilts). Great haul of some lovely vintage sheets! xx

  11. #21 by tialys on February 25, 2015 - 20:51

    You’re right – I think I have to use it with the quilt as, to find something so ‘right’, there must have been some kind of witchery afoot. And for 3 euros too!

  12. #22 by Zoe on March 4, 2015 - 15:43

    What?! You’re coming to one of my classes?! How thoroughly exciting. I’m not sure there’s much I can teach a sewing ninja like yourself though! It’ll be wonderful to meet you. Roll on April… xx

    • #23 by tialys on March 5, 2015 - 09:03

      There’s always something new to learn and pattern making is something I’ve never really got into. Plus, it was a treat for my daughter who is just starting out on the dressmaking road and I thought it would be a useful skill for her to have, a fun thing for us to do together and a good excuse to come over to the U.K. and stock up on tea bags 🙂

  13. #24 by Nanette on March 5, 2015 - 10:50

    I always use op shop sheets or doona covers that I deconstruct. I think there’s so much more variety in them than the choices in extra width quilting fabrics. And I love the pre-washed and washed etc softness of them. I like the green check too, seems unanimous unless you do decide to ignore us all and the quilt chooses something else at the end. And maybe someone will ask for red blocks in Kate’s block swap and you’ll be all set with your chevrons 🙂

    • #25 by tialys on March 5, 2015 - 11:04

      Hello Nanette. I think I will always go down this road in future. As you say, the wide quilting fabrics are limited and, in fact, rare in my neck of the woods so I have to order online and pay the shipping costs which is all unnecessary expense really. The red chevrons have arrived and it is lovely fabric but I’m sure I’ll find a use for it. Maybe I should go for red blocks in the block swap and then I know I have the backing already – it’s a thought.

  14. #26 by Nanette on March 5, 2015 - 23:23

    …or the red would look nice as backing on teal or dark blue……..I like to mix my backings up a bit and not always do matching. It gives the recipient a nice surprise. But if a red quilt would be your thing, we’ll happily make red blocks for you 🙂

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