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If the damage were isolated to just the large hole in the aqua, I'd say put a piece of aqua under the hole, and hand stitch the patch in place using a buttonhole type stitch. But I can also see damage in the small pieced squares. That makes me think it's just too large of a job. How about retiring the loved quilt, and help her make a replacement in the same pattern/colors! The repairs would be stronger than the remaining, and I think that with continued use the old quilt would just continue to disintigrate and then would be a total loss without even a shred of anything except a memory. This looks like a new years project for you! Sara
Ouch! I would bring the quilt with me to fabric store and hope to match colors. Without knowing what the existing batting and fabric is, I would suggest appliquing directly on top of the existing fabric. Is there a pattern quilted on the background? What shape is the back in?
How much use/abuse is your friend expecting from this piece? If it is just a knockaround quilt, I'd make a new center section and machine applique. If it is now going to be treated as a treasured heirloom, handwork may be in order. I have had luck in the past slipping in fusible interfacing, fusing, and appliquing, but it is a whole lot of work, and that piece looks pretty beat up.
From the lack of fading where it is ripped, I would guess ut dates from no earlier than 1970s. This would be treated differently than one from the 1870s. Is the friend expecting it to come back in "like new" condition? That would be a huge undertaking.
if this were a small quilt i might suggest a very subtle repair of the large area of aqua and having it professionally framed for display. i can't really tell how big it is from your pic. it does seem as though the damage is possibly too wide spread for a restoration. for usability a reproduction is probably the way to go.
it is a lovely piece.
To keep the quilt as original as possible, I would like someone else said,try to match the colors and, applique. measure the squares add 1/4 " for turning under, then draw the turquoise piece on a large piece of paper cut the piece a 1/4 inch all around press seam allowance under and place over the original and applique in place, secure the ragged edges of the large tear.or use piece of flannel cut like the piece just drawn and secure over sections to be repaired. if done right the only difference will be the color. you will never get the same color.
First, as the others have said, will it be on display from now on or heavily used? It may not hold up to much more use as the other fabrics will start to go out as well. Apllique a piece as close to the original color over the tear and do the same for the smaler pieces that need repair. Then in order to preserve the rest of it, just display it on a quilt rack out of direct sun. The alternative would be to use the pattern and construct a new one trying to duplicate the colors. No quick cure for this one I am afraid.