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Thread: cleaning old quilt blocks

  1. #1
    Super Member vicki reno's Avatar
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    My girlfriend's mother made 24 Dresden Plate blocks probably 50+ years ago. I have just been given them and would like to clean them if possible. Has anyone ever tried any of the products advertised in magazines formulated to clean old fabric like this? I'd like to put them together into a quilt and give it back to her but would like to see if there is anything that can be done to brighten them first. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Moderator tlrnhi's Avatar
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    I thought I saw someone post on here that they refurbish old quilts. Maybe they'll pop up with an idea for you.
    I'm too lazy to go and see who said it. :(

  3. #3
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    Try some of the suggestions made on this thread. http://www.quiltingboard.com/posts/list/6780.page They worked for Elizabeth A.

  4. #4
    Super Member vicki reno's Avatar
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    Iknew the subject had probably been discussed before. thanks everyone for your tips. I will try some of these suggestions on some old blocks I have before I try them on hers just to make sure. She doesn't have a clue that she will get them back so I do want them to look really nice for her so that she will have somethng of her mothers from long ago.

    Loretta 50 years isn't that old to you and me :lol: but the fabric looks much older :!:

  5. #5
    Super Member vicki reno's Avatar
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    I just got them last night and will try to get photos tonight. :-)

  6. #6
    marieg's Avatar
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    Blocks are hard, are you going to make a quilt out of them? Washing the quilt is easier. I have used this recipe on vintage cotton clothing and laces: equal parts Ivory dish soap and clorox 2. Tepid water and just set the block in don't agitate just kind of squish, rinse the same way, I usually rinse at least three times. If there is a really persistant spot try to solution on a q-tip rubbing gently. Rust spots are hard to get out. Blood try a solution of Hydrogen peroxide and water on a q-tip. good luck, marie

  7. #7
    Super Member vicki reno's Avatar
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    I will make a quilt if I can get them clean. they are 15" blocks so I may just wash them or try to wash them in the sink and see how it goes.

  8. #8
    Super Member zyxquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vicki reno
    I will make a quilt if I can get them clean. they are 15" blocks so I may just wash them or try to wash them in the sink and see how it goes.
    Good luck Vicki! They will really be something your friend will treasure. :)

  9. #9
    Super Member vicki reno's Avatar
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    About 10 yrs ago, her daughter slipped some butterfly blocks out of the house that my friends mother had appliqued and I had enough of them to do every other block a butterfly block. She was going through some rough times that year and was really depressed. So I hurriedly assembled and did just basic in the ditch quilting on it and gave it to her for Christmas. she cried buckets and buckets of tears because her mother hadn't been dead that long. So I know I'll need either lots of tissues or another bucket when she see this one :!: :lol: But she is a really special person and I can't wait to get started.

  10. #10
    Super Member jbsstrawberry's Avatar
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    The kindness and generousity of this boards members is simply amazing! What a wonderfully sweet, and thoughtful thing for you to do.

  11. #11
    Super Member sewmuch's Avatar
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    Vicki, that is such a wonderful idea to make a quilt. Have you thought of making it first and then washing it? That is if they are not soiled to badly and just dusty from sitting around.

  12. #12
    Super Member vicki reno's Avatar
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    Yes I thought about washing at the end, but since these fabrics are old, I'd like to see how they will do , shrinkage, fading, rust spots disappearing, etc. first. It is all hand stitched. The centers are what I'd discribe as a circle version of robbing Peter to pay Paul. And one centers is a sheer fabric that will have to be replaced with something else. So there is a bit of prep work involved. I will put them on unbleached muslin, but I have to see if I have enough first because muslin is really hard to match the colors. (unbleached that is). I feel asleep in front of the tv last night and didn't remember to take pictures but will try to do so tonight. Really interesting blocks--they are at least 15" across so will look fine on a 20 inch square or larger, which should go together rather quickly unless I get sidetracked by my other 999 projects! :lol: (or should I say (UFO's) :lol: :lol:

  13. #13
    Super Member sewmuch's Avatar
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    So you are going to sew each block on a piece of muslin, that should
    secure them well, I hadn't thought of you doing that, duh :!: :!:
    Good idea, Vicki.

  14. #14

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    i use a old salad spinner i found at a garage sale. washed some old blocks in the sink with teped water and a little soap. then rinsed them and spun them in the salad spinner. they came out just perfect. dried them on towels. works great for when you dye your own fabrics and only want to do a small amount of fabrics or laces.

    lisagale

  15. #15
    Super Member retrogirl02's Avatar
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    Vicki,
    You're a sweetheart. I've always heard that phels naptha soap was OK on old material, hand washed in the tub and hung to dry but I've not tried it yet. I have a completed grandma's flower garden waiting to be cleaned and hoping for the best. Oh, have also heard that Orvus soap works well.

  16. #16
    mgshaw's Avatar
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    I cant wait to see this Quilt Vicki!! I think you should start stocking up an kleenex now!!!

  17. #17
    Super Member vicki reno's Avatar
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    The vinegar and water solution worked really well on 20 of the 24 blocks. The other 4 are going to need something else. There is one with pale blue in it that may require replacing the pale blue. It is very discolored with age I guess. I may try more vinegar tonight. Three other blocks have dark brown spots on them, some worse than others, and one block needs sturdier fabric for its center. They are definitely an improvement over what I started with. I think I have enough unbleached muslin for the background fabric. I found 5 yards or so in the closet and washed it and threw it in the dryer this mornng before I left for work. I will press the muslin tonight and figure out if that is enough, so that i don't have to hunt for more at the store. I am pretty sure that it won't be enough so I am hoping to be able to match the color at JoAnn's tonight. I hesitate to start before I know about the muslin because I want all the muslin to be the same shade of beige. So I am looking to find another couple f yards, hopefully that will be about the same color. If not then, I will set this aside and just get enough for the whole thing. I washed them before I even thought to take pictures so just bear with me for another day or so. :-)

  18. #18
    mgshaw's Avatar
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    Juat got this in an email today,


    Removing rust:

    Sponge lemon juice on the spot and hold over a
    steaming kettle

    Removing brown age spots:

    Soak affected areas in a mixture of 1 quart
    buttermilk, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and 1 gallon of water.
    Repeat as necessary; rinse thoroughly when finished.

  19. #19
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    Other rust remedies are:

    for white textiles, rub with lemon juice and salt and put fabric in the sun

    for washable textiles, boil the fabric in a solution of 4 teaspoons cream of tartar and 1 pint of water

  20. #20
    Super Member vicki reno's Avatar
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    I got mostly all the other stuff out except on one with pale blue fabric. I had to redo it. I had some of what looks like the same fabric so I replaced it in that block. I am definietely going to try these remedies for getting the rust out. Thanks!

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