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Thread: Is there any hope for this top?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Leann's Avatar
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    My great-grandmother hand-pieced this top almost 50 years ago. It was never finished and never treasured; being used as a paint drop cloth and ironing board cover. At least one of the non-yellow fabrics has rotted away. My mom wants me to finish it for her. It has turned into a monster! I don't know what to do with it. If I tear it apart and start over, it will be left for MY great granddaughter to finish. I've looked at embellishing it with beads, buttons, applique, etc. It does not help that the top does not sing to me - it is rather bland. It is approximately 48" x 75" and I don't think it would stand up to being used (maybe should be a BIG wallhanging).

    How can I salvage this piece of history? Thanks in advance to this super group of quilters!

    Great Grandmothers top of my school clothes
    Name:  Attachment-29681.jpe
Views: 26
Size:  117.4 KB

    Back side of top, paint spots peeking through
    Name:  Attachment-29682.jpe
Views: 27
Size:  35.7 KB

    Tucks like this appear throughout top
    Name:  Attachment-29683.jpe
Views: 30
Size:  45.3 KB

  2. #2
    Senior Member renee765's Avatar
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    I think you hit on the answer yourself when you said maybe it should be a wall hanging. How about taking good sections of it and have those sections framed? You might be able to do an arrangement of different sized frames, or three of the same size, or something artistic like that. (I'm not artistic, so can't suggest much!) That way you have preserved the original and made it a part of a home, just not as a traditional quilt.

  3. #3
    Super Member Toto's Mom's Avatar
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    Well, you might salvage the good parts for throw pillows. Some squares, some hearts, and rounds. You can always cover some of the paint spots with small lace rosettes, and maybe use ribbon to cover small holes. I wouldn't worry about imperfections like small tucks. They will give your things "character".
    I have some that have been made from the salvaged parts of old quilts, and they work well with my vintage quilts, and bears.
    Breaks my heart to see all that labor of love not treated with the respect it deserved.
    Kudos to you for rescuing a part of your heritage.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mosquitosewgirl's Avatar
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    I would try Googling "quilt museums". Depending on where you live there might be one near you. They have experts on antique quilts such as this one and would be able give you good advice. Good luck.

  5. #5
    Bobbinwinder's Avatar
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    Your greatgrandmother was quite careful to compose her blocks with stripes turned to please the eye...I can certainly forgive a tuck or two, can't you? Taking it apart is not going to strengthen it...I'm in agreement with you that it will not hold up for actual use, but it should be finished and occasionally displayed to be enjoyed and always cherished. Whatever you do to preserve it will be far better than leaving it in its present state. I'd consider using lightweight fusible stabilizer on the backside of the weak fabs... what is your plan for quilting? Consider the paint as beauty marks...that's a kind term for AGE SPOTS...the top has survived...scars, warts, neglect, and abuse...all of those are just as much a part of it now as the original work your ggm did...celebrate them and LOVE that top pretty...you can do it...you just have to want to! Thanks for sharing the photo and good luck!

  6. #6
    Power Poster sewnsewer2's Avatar
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    I agree with the wall hanging. You could also put it in a glass frame.

  7. #7
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    Awesome treasure!

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    If there are others who would also treasure this piece, it might lend itself to being cut into maybe 4 smaller tops for sharing and more appropriate for hanging?? Consider the paint spots part of the quilt's story. It has one to tell! I, too, quilted a very old top but was told it no longer was an antique since the quilting was new. Perhaps it needs to be folded and displayed that way but, like you, I felt the aging fabrics needed some support and am pleased that I did quilt it. I feel safer handling the aging fabrics. You have a personal treasure since it was pieced from your clothes so you should do whatever it takes to really enjoy the quilt and your great-grandmother's efforts. You will reconnect with your g-gma as you, too, put stitches into it--and those tucks will disappear. Only you will recognize each fabric so enjoy it. That's what she hoped you would do.

  9. #9
    Super Member Elisabrat's Avatar
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    This is not bland at all! Its very appealing. If mom wants it finished I would say finish it but tell her its not good for daily use just lay it over a quilt rack in your room or on your wall to enjoy. If she wants it for daily use it was her grandmothers quilt right? So its hers to decide. If she doesnt want it cut up you need to respect that. I agree, fusible on the underside might help make the entire quilt stronger, less flexible but stronger. Its not perfect you can patch a piece or two over the top of the shredded ones, ripping seams seems like danger zone to me once you start.. you could be starting all over and then its not your grandmothers quilt is it? Good luck and enjoy it. I think its a pretty one.

  10. #10
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    I would finish it the way it is, maybe a border and then batting and backing and saved as a special keepsake...good work on the hand piecing.

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