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Thread: Need advice for vintage quilt top repair

  1. #1
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Need advice for vintage quilt top repair

    I was recently given two vintage quilt tops, probably from the 1930's era. I would like to repair them, replacing fabrics where necessary, and then quilt them on the longarm. Both tops have a mixture of hand and machine stitching, and they may have been washed at some point. They are clean and don't smell. Some of the fabrics are deteriorating, but most are okay. The main problem is that they are coming apart at the seams in many places. Either the seam allowances are very narrow, or the fabrics have frayed. I'm not sure whether to just sew these seams together as best I can and trust to the quilting to hold them together longterm, or whether I should use some type of stabilizer. Any suggestions?

    Along with these lovely tops, I received a whole slew of vintage blocks, but that is a story for another time.
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  2. #2
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    I got one made a very long time ago and I just sewed with my needle and thread on the places I thought would hold and on the bad ones I zig-zagged a small place with same color thread and hope the quilting does it's trick. It isn't going to be in a show or anything so it's for my family. Some day they will probably make a dog bed out of it.LOL Barny

  3. #3
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    Barny gave you a good idea.
    Also, these fabrics are widely reproduced these days and it would be easy to find new prints to replace the damaged areas if you desired.

    You can also place an appliqued piece, as closely replicating as possible, over the bad places.

    Or cover the frayed torn spots with small very thin, densely woven tulle or similar fabric, and just stitch that down. Machine quilt over it.

    Jan in VA
    Jan in VA
    Living in the foothills
    peacefully colors my world.

  4. #4
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    I redid one my great grandma had made. It had been on my bed my entire childhood and was really worn out. Many seams were fraying. I cut narrow strips of fusible interfacing and put under the bad places. I then zigzagged with invisible thread over the seams. It looks pretty good.

    I also used Retro Clean quilt soak on it when it was all finished. That stuff is amazing. It even took out blood stains from when I was a kid!

  5. #5
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
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    If there is enough to sew, i'd probably take fraycheck to it to prevent more fraying, then hand sew it back together. Good luck - those are beautiful!!!
    my name is becca and i'm a quilt-a-holic :-)

  6. #6
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions. I hadn't thought about fray check, or zigzagging, or tulle, and had never heard of Retro Clean. Now I have so many new options.

  7. #7
    Super Member quilt addict's Avatar
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    Dunster, how lucky to receive such nice tops. They probably were washed at some point and that has resulted in the fraying since there was not the quilting to support those narrow seams.

    All the suggestions so far are good. I would do the applique a similar piece over the frayed or damaged pieces. You didn't mention your intentions for the quilts after they were finished, I think provides the most stable pieces once finished.

    Not sure what method you planned for quilting but you will want to be careful when you tension the quilt for quilting that you do not pull any more seams apart.
    Lisa

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