I use a 100% all natural cotton muslin on the back of almost all my quilts.

I like this material because it’s an all natural product and has no synthetic fibers in it and the cotton for it is grown right here in the US. It comes to me in a natural color that I always describe as oatmeal colored because most of it is a cream, but then there is these little tiny speckles of dark (just like oatmeal).

It feels just like any cotton….until you wash it and then it turns into this buttery soft goodness that I love so much. I use it in all my quilts with the exception of minky dot quilts, but it is in the rag quilts where it really stands out the most I think.

On a rag quilt all the little edges poke out in every seem, so you can see the muslin on the front of the quilt and it rags beautifully. There is nothing like it. I’ve used regular cotton, broadcloth, even flannel, but nothing in my opinion is better than muslin.

back of rag quilt dyed pale pink

Many people want color on the back instead of the natural (though, leaving it natural is still the most popular in my shop). I had to go buy regular cotton at the store to get the color they wanted. Then I started dyeing it myself with a non-harsh dye. It worked out great. No longer do you have to sacrifice the quality to get a nice color. Now we have both.

I dye in very small batches, almost per quilt, so I never actually get the same color twice. There is always just a shade or two of difference.
Unfortunately, I have yet to be able to achieve the color brown, or anywhere close to it. I end up with a shade of grape purplish everytime. I might in the future try tea-dyeing, but not for now. So I can do every color with the exception of brown for now.

19 thoughts on “Muslin

  1. Hi Melanie, I LOVE the soft, cotton look of your rag quilts so I decided to get some muslin for my next one I am making for my sister’s bridal shower. I have a question for you though, you said that you buy the natural “oatmeal” kind of muslin. I really like the turquoise blue color that you show you dyed. Did you use the natural oatmeal kind of muslin for the dyed pieces also? Or did you use pure white bleached muslin for your dyed pieces. Thanks for your help in advance.

  2. I am attempting a small rag quilt and just love the muslin you used on the quilt I ordered. You said UT’s Moda muslin in natural, but I see a couple different kinds. Can you point me to the right one?

  3. I want to use the same muslin you use in my next project. I read above you use Moda muslin but I see a couple different ones online. Can you point me in the right direction?

    • Hi,
      I use Moda’s natural unbleached 200 thread count muslin. I’ve never seen it available in any of my local craft shops, so I purchase it online here directly from Moda
      that being said, I do have a local hobby lobby that cares several varieties of muslin that are all good. They are not as good as the moda muslin. I’ve never used one better than that one, but if you are making one quilt it would be better for you to shop local since you have to buy by the bolt from Moda. I hope this helps!

      • Awesome, thanks! I was at Joann before I saw your blog post and was overwhelmed with the different muslin they offered, so I bought one of the more expensive ones. I have no clue what thread count, etc. It was $9.99 a yard (luckily I had a coupon) so hopefully I got a good one. It feels stiff so maybe it will soften up when I wash it. I just really like how the one you use has a wrinkled look to it. I didn’t see anything like that at Joann’s so I’m guessing that is an effect from washing?

      • Yes, it will wrinkle up after washing. It kind of transforms after its first wash. Like a whole other kind of fabric.
        The price you paid sounds like a decent one. :)

      • Oh and one more thing, I see you have the same Olfa rotary cutter I bought (I got the 60mm). I just replaced the blade today and it’s still not cutting through flannel folded in half (two layers). I mean it does, but I have to go back and recut because not all of it went through. I feel like it’s the blade and not me since the rotary cutter brand new worked perfect and I’m cutting the same I always have. Anyway because they are so expensive, I don’t want to buy another. Do you have tips on sharpening them? Tin foil??

      • I use the 45mm. But when it doesnt cut with one swipe, I usually change the blade. Cutting the same piece over and over irritates me so bad! I do change blades often and they are expensive. I usually buy them by the 5-pack at Cheapest I’ve been to find anywhere, even cheaper than directly from Olfa. I don’t bother sharpening b/c I’ve always heard negative things about it. The one time I thought about doing that, I checked the prices of a sharpener and was surprised at how expensive they are (I think it was on Amazon) and the reviews were pretty bad too. However, one blade usually last me more than a week, and I’d say I make 10-15 quilts a week.

      • Oh goody!! I got some Joel Dewberry fabric that I’m using it with and crossing my fingers I don’t mess it up! These will be great Christmas gifts! Thanks for the quick replies!

  4. Hmmm I must have a bad blade. It’s right out of the pack. I’ll have to check them out at Walmart. Didn’t even think of that, thanks! I need to start going to a new supply store anyway because sad to say I am now on a first named basis with the workers at Joann, lol!! Thanks so much for the info! My quilt purchase from you has started this new hobby of mine :)

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