If you're trying to quilt on a budget, you may have wondered, "Can I make a quilt from bed sheets?" Quite often, bed sheets are much cheaper than buying equal amounts of quilting fabric. But if bed sheets can be used to make a quilt, why aren't more people doing it? Or are they? And is this money-saving fabric hack right for you?
In this blog post, Amari from @nextgenquilting is here to tell you that bed sheets can be a great option for quilts! Lots of people are using them (just maybe not talking about it), and after reading this post you will also feel confident making a quilt from bed sheets!
Here are Amari's top 8 tips and tricks for making a quilt from bed sheets, plus a bonus cheat sheet showing you how much yardage you can get from different sized sheets.
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Tip 1: Choose Low Thread Count 100% Cotton Sheets
When making a quilt from bed sheets, choose 100% cotton sheets with a low thread count (think 300 or less) so that it blends well with your other cotton quilting fabrics. Unlike 100% cotton sheets, those made from other materials like stretchy polyester or microfiber can be more challenging to work with.
At the end of the Week 4 Adventureland sew along post, Suzy shows a sample quilt that used a bed sheet for the backing. The sheet is not 100% cotton — it’s microfiber. Microfiber is a little softer (which I love!), but I also didn't quilt the quilt myself. If you choose to experiment with bed sheets that are not 100% cotton, double check that it's ok with your longarmer or if you're quilting it yourself, make a tiny quilt sandwich and run a test to make sure your machine tension is adjusted accordingly and that you like the finished result.
Tip 2: Rip Seams to Maximize Fabric Quantity
When using sheets for fabric, you’ll want to maximize the amount of usable fabric. This means ripping the seams along all of the edges (including removing the elastic from the corners of fitted sheets) and even deconstructing pillowcases if you purchased a sheet set. Carefully remove all of the stitches and iron the sheets nice and flat.
Tip 3: Shop Your Linen Closet First
Do you have old sheets in the back of your linen closet gathering dust? Reduce fabric waste and breathe new life into them by making a quilt from bed sheets! Give sheets a good wash, rip out all the seams, press with a hot iron, and save money along the way.
Tip 4: Watch for Sheet Sales
Home goods stores run sales on bedding throughout the year — think back-to-school college dorm necessities and holiday sales like Black Friday. If you’re thinking about making a quilt from bed sheets, save money by stocking up on them when they’re on sale!
Tip 5: Look for Fun Prints
Bed sheets come in all kinds of interesting prints and patterns – from low volume to high contrast. Find something you love that will complement the other fabrics you plan to use in your quilt. Hint: shop kid’s sheets for vibrant and colorful options!
Tip 6: Consider Prewashing
If you don’t usually prewash your fabric, you can likely get away with using unwashed, brand-new sheets in your quilting project. However, if you’re repurposing some well-loved bed sheets from your linen closet, think again. Having been washed several times after each use, these sheets have had plenty of opportunity to shrink to their smallest size.
But the other, unwashed quilting fabrics in your project haven’t. And that means your quilt may shrink up unevenly when you go to wash it. So, if you’re giving old bed sheets a second life in your quilt project, pre-wash all of your fabric before you get started. You’ll thank you me later.
Tip 7: Calculate Your Fabric Needs
Ok, so you found the perfect set of bed sheets in a print that you love and it’s going to look amazing in the quilt pattern you’re about to make. But how big of a sheet do you need to meet your fabric needs? Should you spring for the king size? Or can you get away with the twin-sized sheet and save a little cash?
Use the following chart to help guide you. Keep in mind that fitted sheets are typically 20-30" shorter in length and width than their flat counterparts. Also, you may want to use the bed sheet for binding as well as backing like the Adventureland quilt above.
Sheets work great for quilt backs since they are typically much wider than traditional yardage (which you often have to stitch together to create a piece large enough for your needs). For a quilt back, select a flat sheet that is at least 8″ wider and 8″ longer than your quilt top. This will allow you to have 4" of excess all the way around when you go to assemble your quilt sandwich.
Tip 8: Purchase Extra to Create a Set
When using sheets for fabric in your quilt, consider purchasing an extra set for your bed. Throw your finished quilt on top and viola! You have a cohesive bed set that instantly matches!
As you can see, making a quilt from bed sheets has all kind of perks — they can help you save money, reduce fabric waste, and even avoid piecing a quilt back. So, the next time you’re in need of large quantities of inexpensive fabric, consider using bed sheets. And let us know in the comments below if you've ever used new or thrifted bedsheets to make a quilt!