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Thread: I need advise on how to repair this quilt

  1. #1
    Senior Member auniqueview's Avatar
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    I need advise on how to repair this quilt

    I found this quilt at a local thrift store. It really caught my eye because of the colors and pattern, but as you can see in the close-up, it needs repair. The pieces look like they may have been cut a little close, but none of it is torn, except one small part along a border is a bit frayed looking. The whole thing is hand sewn, and I did go out and picked up quilting sharps and hand quilting cotton thread.

    Some of the stitching makes me think that it may have been done by a person working on their first quilt. That would be just about my level, lol. Even in this condition, it will be displayed in my living room, because it is really beautiful, with not a stain on it. It is clean, so I will not have to wash it or have it cleaned.

    I currently have it hanging over a rack with another quilt. I do not have a quilting frame. I could lay it over my dining room table where I have my cutting mat set up (we seldom eat at that table, so it it always occupied with fabric, lol). I have a bad back, so I need to be where I can sit fairly comfortable.

    What is the best way to handle this? Should I try to iron the pieces flat and leave them as close to the edge as possible, or stretch them to meet? I will not be using this on beds or as a cover. It will only be displayed for its beauty. The woman at the thrift store asked me to please bring it back to show her when I got it all repaired. Thanks for any advise.

    http://s32.photobucket.com/albums/d1...t=IMGP2849.jpg

    http://s32.photobucket.com/albums/d1...t=IMGP2844.jpg

    http://s32.photobucket.com/albums/d1...t=IMGP2845.jpg
    If laughter is the best medicine, I prescribe a Dachshund or four.

  2. #2
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    To me it looks like it's probably a foreign made quilt. I would use invisible thread in the top and something that matches the back and zigzag those spots.

  3. #3
    Senior Member margecam52's Avatar
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    I agree...it's one of the 39.99 bed in a bag things. Pretty, and inexpensive, but not well made. I would get some wonder under, or other fusible web...cut to size, put between the top and the batting...pull and stitch the parts that have come apart...then press to adhere the wonder under.
    Marge Campbell
    TL18LS/Qbot automated quilter
    http://www.Lmcampbel.com

  4. #4
    Senior Member auniqueview's Avatar
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    I respectfully disagree. I carefully looked it over. There was no place that had a tag sewn into it at any area. The batting used in it is not paper thin as is pretty much the norm with those quilts. I have seen quite a few of them in stores and in the thrift stores, and frankly, the sewing on them is more uniform than on this quilt. However, we can agree to disagree on this. The material used on the quilt is of good quality, and I have spent quite a bit of time looking at fabrics lately. With the increases in prices, I look and feel for a long time before I buy these days. The gas pump isn't the only place I say ouch. The backing on the quilt is solid white, so my thread is white, hand quilting, of course. There are no rips or problems on the backing, or along the outside edge. Only on some of the pieces on the top. Thank you for looking.
    If laughter is the best medicine, I prescribe a Dachshund or four.

  5. #5
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, I don't see how you could repair it, it looks beyond help to me. And, in the tone of agreeing to disagree, I've seen mass-produced (aka made in China) quilts that, after 1 or 2 years and several washings, fall apart EXACTLY like that. Tags can be removed. But, if you like that quilt, who cares where it came from! Patch it as best you can and love it!

  6. #6
    Member Tollergirl's Avatar
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    I had a seam separate on the back of a quilt. it was after it was long arm quilted, so it was hard to pull back in place. anyway, my quilting friend tried a patch, but it did not look right. Being a needlepointer as well, i whipped out my needle and DMC floss and did a satin stitch to join the fabric. looked great, since I was able to use a floss color almost identical to the fabric.

  7. #7
    Super Member MacThayer's Avatar
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    I've done some quilt restoration, so I may have some tips to help. Do you have any idea how old the quilt is? I can't tell by looking at it. Perhaps you can't either. If you have any intention of cleaning it, do not dry clean it. The older fabrics were never meant to be dry cleaned, and the dry cleaning process can do irreparable damage to your quilt. The first thing I would wash it in is Retayne. It's a product out now that will "set" the dyes in the fabrics and keep the bright and clear, and most of all, keep the from running. You only have to use it once. I didn't use it on an old quilt top, and the colors ran badly in cold water while using a soap recommended to me by a textile restoration specialist. It ruined this irreplaceable quilt top. I was heart broken. Then if you ever have to wash it again, make sure to use a non-phosphate soap, something like a quilt soap, or a baby soap (like Dreft), or even baby shampoo. Do not use fabric softener. It just attracts dust to the surface, and makes it dirty faster. A bit of white vinegar in the rinse will not only release all last vestiges of soap (soap also attracts dust and dirt), but it will act as a minor fabric softener.

    But you weren't going to wash it, so let's move on to repairs. First of all, gently press the quilt. That will move things into place so you will be able to see where there is actual loss of fabric and/or batting. Address the batting first. Freshen up the edges of the ragged batting that is left. Using scraps of batting, fill in the empty spaces, and either use the fusible tape to bond it to the nearby batting, or if the area is too small, or if you'd rather, just stitch the batting into place. It's critical that you do nothing more than fill in empty space, and not change the shape of the quilt. In the one area where there is a "hunk" missing, you can do one of two things. Pick complementary colors, cut them to fit -- looks like you'll need two there, and I don't know what on the back. Make the seam so it fits down the center of the original seam. Then carefully hand sew it in place. A slightly less noticeable approach would be to remove the entire two sections of the patch, make completely new patches for the area, and sew them in. The motif then remains exactly the same, and if the colors are reasonably close, no one will pay any attention to a slight difference in color. Then you just have to fix the quilting.

    Where the fabrics have separated, put a fusible web underneath (after the area was pressed once, and then press it again, stretching the fabric as far as it can reasonably go. Don't over stretch. If you can't get the fabrics to meet, you could try a color coordinated satin stitching, and see if that reaches across. That failing, a color coordinated and appropriate small appliqué should do the trick.

    Just one more word about washing. Our ancestors never washed their quilts the way we do. They would go years without washing them. Washing clothes was hard, so they washed only what was dirty and smelly. So they washed sheets, but not the quilts that went over the sheets. What they did do on a regular basis is either take those quilts out and beat the dust out of them (which I don't recommend for an heirloom) and then left them out in the fresh air to "air out". This was done at least twice a year, and made for sweet, dust free quilts. They also spot cleaned their quilts as necessary. Fels Naptha was my Grandmother's and Great Grandmother's favorite for this, and I use it too, for lots of things. It's a heck of a lot more effective than Spray and Wash, and considerably cheaper too! In her later years, my Grandmother, and then my mother, took to vacuuming their quilts to get the dust out. I don't mean applying direct suction to the quilt. They would take a piece of nylon stocking, put it over the widened end of the vacuum, and simply keep vacuuming the quilt. That way, dust was picked up, but the suction never "sucked in" the material of the quilt. The nylon made it much, much gentler. Then they would put a clean sheet out on the dry grass, out of direct sunlight, and lay the quilt outside. Sometimes they'd leave it out for a couple of days, and just keep turning it over from time to time.
    (Sunlight is hard on quilts, so keep it out of the direct sun if you can). When they came back in, they smelled so sweet!
    So I guess I'm saying that you can clean a quilt without soap and water, and do minimal trauma to the quilt. (The average washing takes 5 years off a quilt's life.)

    You say you want to hang it. Remember, you are hanging old fabric. If there is any way you can attach fresh fabric to the back of the quilt, so the quilt is hanging on new fabric, that would be great. The old fabric needs structure and support. Put a new back on the upper third of the quilt, and run a rod across the entire top of the quilt. Attach the quilt hanger to that new rod, and that that rod and the new fabric carry the weight of the quilt. It'll make a huge difference for the quilt, and is not that much more fussing around.

    I'm tell you these things because, mostly, I learned them the hard way, and I'm hoping you learn from my mistakes. You have a beauty of a quilt there. Do it justice!

    Best of luck!
    MacThayer

  8. #8
    QM
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    MacThayer, thank you for that lesson.
    BTW, my experience with cheap foreign quilts is that they are machine made, which this certainly does not seem to be.

  9. #9
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
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    Good luck w/ your quilt fix...MacThayer - wonderful information for fixing the quilt - I'll have to file that info back...

    You guys talking about the mass produced quilts reminded me that a friend of my mom's refers to them as quilts her Chinese g'mother made...

    just wanted to give you guys a giggle for the morning.
    my name is becca and i'm a quilt-a-holic :-)

  10. #10
    Junior Member Sewhappytoquilt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QM View Post
    MacThayer, thank you for that lesson.
    BTW, my experience with cheap foreign quilts is that they are machine made, which this certainly does not seem to be.
    Wonderful information - should almost be re-posted on the "tutorial" site - thank you!
    Loretta Sewhappytoquilt

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