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Thread: how to repair a quilt

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    how to repair a quilt

    Can anyone tell me how to fix a quilt that the fabric is rotting and frayed? My Mom made the quilt many years ago and I cannot figure out how to fix it. It is just 4" blocks and has been tied. Will it have to be totally disassembled and then fix the frayed blocks? Thanks in advance for any ideas on how to repair

  2. #2
    Power Poster
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    It depends on what you mean by "fixed". If it's a genuine antique than the areas are preserved by hand stitching tulle over the original fabrics. If you want it to use, there are many ways to accomplish it. If there are only a few areas, you can hand applique butterflies, flowers etc. over the torn/ripped pieces. If the whole block needs replacing you can snip out the old square (being carful to leave the seam allowance intact on other blocks) and lay the new block under the blocks surrounding it and hand stitch the seams back in.
    It is sometimes hard to find fabrics that have the correct faded appearance of the surrounding blocks. You can sometimes use a modern fabric and use the reverse or wrong side of the fabric to better camoflage the repair. Good luck!

  3. #3
    Super Member quilt addict's Avatar
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    Tartan's explaination is good. It sounds like you want to continue to use it. If just pieces from the block need to be replaced, you can just hand sew pieces over the old one. Since it is tied you do not need to worry about requilting over the repairs.

    Good luck and we would love to see a picture of your Mother's quilt.
    Lisa

  4. #4
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    first....take lots of pix of the quilt as it exists now...this is for the last step. the info you have sounds great, the only thing that i would add is that occasionally, i have taken off the last row, either across or all around, and then used the good parts of those blocks to repair the bad parts in the center. i will say, take off a bit more than you need to right now...there will be other repairs in the future. this has the advantage of all the materials being original...and you should have plenty to fix center squares and do any repair to the backing... the binding might need to be replaced, but you might have enough backing to re-bind with that after taking off the outside row....any new fabrics give the whole quilt a new age...always the 'newest' fabric in the quilt. then after finished, document everything you did including any information you have about the maker, full name, approx date of quilt, any helpers, her relationship to you, and keep this info with the quilt (a pocket on the back is nice.)

  5. #5
    Super Member Rose L's Avatar
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    Good advice from Deemail. I would not remove the worn fabric bits, just smooth them down and applique a new piece over them. Doing this preserves the remainder of the original fabrics used. It is possible to buy vintage or antique fabrics to make your repairs with rather than new fabric. The fabrics should be from the same time period as the quilt. Reproduction fabrics are also acceptable if you can't find similar vintage fabrics as long as you document that you used them. It's also okay to use a different color of fabric for the patching than what was used in the original quilt but it is usually nicer to find something in at least the same color family. Also it is okay to replace worn and torn batting with new batting pieces as long as it's the same type of batting. Just cut all the ugly batting away until you reach what is still intact. Then add the new batting until it is the same level and thickness as the original batting. Stitches to the applique patch should be invisible and done with same kind of thread used in the original quilt. Following this advice will preserve the antique monetary value of your quilt. If you are less worried about it's value and just want to continue to use or display it, then you can use any fabric and pursue any type repair that you can make. Either way is completely fine. It's your quilt and you should do whichever allows you to continue enjoying the quilt. Best wishes with it.
    Last edited by Rose L; 12-19-2011 at 01:44 PM.
    Janome D1822/Janome 4618LE/1946 Singer 15-91 in original cabinet
    Bailey 17 Pro/Grace Original GMQ Frame with No-Flex carriage upgrade

  6. #6
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    If it just needs some areas repaired, I would probably hand applique an identical sized piece as close to the weight and colors of the original as I could get over the original piece. Be sure to wash the new material several times so that it doesn't shrink and damage the old material next to it. Same with the binding. If it worn out, just sew a new one over the old one with material that matches and has been washed several times.

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