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Thread: Big Problem NEED HELP

  1. #1
    Junior Member Marsh's Avatar
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    Big Problem NEED HELP

    My first post ever on a web site, and am I happy I can put this problem out here. I am attempting to repair a quilt that was made in the '70s. It was machine sewn and hand tied. We (my friend and I) have taken it apart and it was so unbelievable uneven I am trying to square it. My problem is that the fabric in the blocks have stretched so (my guess a lot of washing over the years) much, and I need to add two borders, back and binding. I'm thinking that in order to get the correct measurements I should stretch and tape it down - and I know it will be so uneven again if I do this - but when I put the first border on the quilt, I will have stretch it and I have no clue what will happen then. I hope my description is ok, and I know there are a lot of wonderful quilters on this site. Sure look forward to you ideas. Marcia from Arizona (100 here today, uck)

  2. #2
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    Welcome to the QB!! What kind of fabric is it made of? woven or knit?

  3. #3
    Junior Member Marsh's Avatar
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    I think it is made of really poor cotton quality - lots of little triangles have opened up, fabric underneath is frayed. I am so sorry I offered to do this for my friend -

  4. #4
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    I would press the cotton and square it up as best as I could. I do not understand stretching cotton fabric.

  5. #5
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    Welcome from Northern California. Would it help to use a stabilzer (spelling?)? I wish you luck. Be sure to show us when you are finished. BrendaK
    Be kind to yourself, by being kind to others. When you help others you help yourself.

  6. #6
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    Welcome from Ontario, Canada. I would lay it out fairly straight and measure the fabric for borders. I wouldn't stretch it in case some of the seams let go or the fabrics fray. I would do one large border all around the top and then re-square the quilt top. You can cut quite a bit off of a large border without it being too noticeable that you've cut more off one side than the other. You might try an asymmetrical border setting( more on one side than the other) and embroider the family history on the larger side border?
    Last edited by Tartan; 04-27-2013 at 11:48 AM.

  7. #7
    Junior Member Marsh's Avatar
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    Hi - when I say stretched (actually I don't know how else to describe it) the blocks bunch up and/or pooch up. I'd like to attach a photo from my iphone, but haven't been able to figure that out yet.

  8. #8
    Junior Member Marsh's Avatar
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    I don't mean to stretch the fabric hard - but when I sew on the borders, I'm going to have to somehow flatten out the edge blocks otherwise I will have little pleats all over the place---screech!!!!

  9. #9
    Super Member Maggiemay's Avatar
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    You may want to take little darts in the edges so it won't pleat- wouldn't be as obvious. I repaired a similar type quilt & like you, wish I hadn't tackled the job! I couldn't take the ties out because they left big holes. I put a new back on over the old one & machine quilted little circles around all of the ties & where they had come out. I was pleased with how it came out but it took a lot of time. Good luck!

  10. #10
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Try saturating the quilt with starch and blocking it. That may help.

  11. #11
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    Sounds like quite a job - not something I would want to tackle! Good luck

  12. #12
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I am no help. I want to welcome you to this wonderful board. So many knowledgeable people here. I'm sure you get help.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  13. #13
    Power Poster twinkie's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board and good luck with your problem

  14. #14
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    A quilt teacher referred to sashes and borders as coping, meaning to cope with irregularities. Sometimes we have to accept that work is not perfect and do the best we can with it. Depending on how much off the quilt top is, you may want to adjust with the sashes or borders and let it be wonky a bit, leaving an explanation on the label. We had blocks donated that were stars and they visibly had a pooch of at least an inch which we corrected by reversing and sewing a dart to make it lie flat. we lost some points in the center but looked better than before. If it were to be hand quilted I could have worked it in, however we were tying it. Another option would be to create a design that would complement the top such as an applique on the border that would appear to be pushing the block over such as a cat or flower.

  15. #15
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    Don't forget the batting will take up some of the extra fabric. I would buy a big, fluffy poly batting which, if the quilt is from the 70's, is probably what was originally used.

  16. #16
    Super Member AZ Jane's Avatar
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    Not sure if this will work for you. My DH had a quilt he had gotten from hi sister. OH DEAR, needless to say, she was not a quilter. I carefully undid the ties, laid it flat (it was not even close to flat) Measured and purchased a lovely flannel that kinda went with it OK. Re-tied it with the flannel back, rolled the back to the front and used the flannel as my binding. It actually didn't turn out too bad. He keeps it in his truck in case he would ever need something to lie under or on. I did not try for beauty or perfection. That would have required taking each square apart and starting from scratch. Where are you, I'm at I-17 and the 101, NE PHX.
    Better to do something imperfectly, than nothing perfectly.
    Done is better than perfect.

  17. #17
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    Welcome and warm greetings from Glendale, AZ! I hope you're able to repair the quilt. It sounds like it's going to be quite the project!

  18. #18
    Super Member MartiMorga's Avatar
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    I am a new quilter - and can't even imagine taking on such a project - that said, I have a trunk full of doilies my husbands grandmother crocheted. They are all lovely but what to do with them? How about making a new quilt using something like a square in a square pattern and using the squares of this quilt as the center? Or having a squared up 12 inch section with a nice coordinating fabric as a square next to it? Eventually it would be closer to being straight. Just food for thought.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member twospoiledhuskies's Avatar
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    Welcome, please post a picture of the revised quilt. Hope you get a bit of cooler weather!!!
    Don't Let Anyone Take Away Your Shine

  20. #20
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    Last year I tackled a vintage quilt top where the sashing was too small for the quilt blocks, which were applique on muslin. It had no borders. All blocks pouched out some, but adding a border to the edges that alternated between pouchy blocks and drawn-in sashing was a big challenge. When I measured the quilt top, all outer edges were inches longer than a measurement taken the length of the quilt top at any sashing point. I trimmed what I could and then ran a large stitch stay-stitch around the quilt top, which more evenly eased the excess fabric. Lastly I attached the borders using a walking foot.

    Best wishes on your project!
    Last edited by Daylesewblessed; 04-28-2013 at 07:56 AM.

  21. #21
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    it sounds like the fabric puckered from the washing and the batting shrunk. I would try spraying with best press and iron to see if that would help. I have a quilt that my grandmother made over 50 years ago and when my mother was in the nursing home they washed it and it has puckered. I don't use the quilt as it has gotten thin because my mother loved to rub the quilting stitched which were hand quilted and I just use to show in my bedroom with grandma's braided rag rug, her wedding picture and a few other antiques.

  22. #22
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    Are you absolutely certain you want to take the time and energy to restore this piece to where it is a usable bed quilt? Or might it be possible to maintain and work with the best parts of it to make it a nice wall hanging or frame it under glass with perhaps a photo of the maker, dates, family information, etc., (if it's a family heirloom). It sounds to me like you're going to put in a huge, huge amount of work to try to resore it and in the end not be quite satisfied with the result.

  23. #23
    Junior Member Marsh's Avatar
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    Hi Jane - how surprised I was to see your post and the picture of your bulldog. This is so ironic, because our Sadie as the same color and markings of your bully. We have had bulldogs all our lives (8 of them, I think). We live a mile north of the 101 and 67th AV in Arrowhead Ranch. ScrappyAZ is also from Glendale - if you read this Scrappy, where do you live?

  24. #24
    Junior Member Marsh's Avatar
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    I just can't explain to all of you how much I appreciate your advice for my problem quilt. I feel like I have a whole new set of friends and am so excited. This morning I put the quilt up on my basting wall (in the garage) - was able to smooth the sides fairly well, saw where I needed some more squaring-up and now I am ready to cut the borders. They are at 6 1/2 inches, so as one member suggested, I can square up again after they are on. But I think I am going to stitch a series of basting thread along the quilt and when pinning the borders on, will ease the excess that way. May not look that great, but my friend told me she didn't care - she thinks her daughter will be so happy just to have the quilt back in a position of being able to be used again. I'll let you all know how it goes. Thanks again, Marcia

  25. #25
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    Good luck to you in this task ahead of you. My mom gave me a quilt top that was to be her wedding quilt. It didn't get completed because of the war and there was no fabric, so it stayed in her cedar chest for years. She married in 1945 and the quilt top was pieced in the 30's. She told me to toss it. I couldn't do that. When I laid it out to start the sandwich process I could see I was in trouble. It billowed fiercely. I ended up picking out all the seams and recutting and reasembling the whole thing. I used a lot of starch to keep the fabric from stretching. It was tedious but I hung in there and now I have a quilt that I cherish. It was started by my grandmother with love for her daughter and finished by her granddaughter with love for her mother. The quilt turned out wonderful.
    SEW MUCH FUN!

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