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First Quilt Repair Job - maybe the last one!

First Quilt Repair Job - maybe the last one!

Old 06-23-2016, 04:14 AM
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Post First Quilt Repair Job - maybe the last one!

A young woman in my office came to me with a handmade quilt wedding-gifted to her by a friend. Modern design, big squares, nice choice of pattern, placement, color and print. roughly 5'x6'. The DH washed it and it ended up with ball of batting, some fraying, and an empty sack. She hoped there was something I could do. Of course I sailed into it thinking, no problem...but then

1. It turned out the quilter had forgotten to quilt the sandwich, but just machine-tacked 1/2" long tacks with a .5 stitch size - in only three places - which is why the ball of batting. And the fabric was not as strong as the tacks so one had ripped right out.

2. When I considered how to take it apart, discovered that she used the pillowcase method, no binding.

3. When I painstakingly took out the seams and opened the quilt innards, I learned that she was unfamiliar with the quarter inch seam concept, and that some of her fabric was not the best #threads to inch and it had frayed a lot inside and pieces needed to be reinforced somehow.

4. Because the 1/4" seam not adhered to, nothing was really flat or squared, and the quilt itself was not a rectangle, and a lot of the outside pieces were that fraying fabric.

5. I noticed that some of the 15" square pieces had 10" square pieces machine appliqued onto them, adding another dimension of slight wonkiness, and that in constructing the quilt there were a good number of Y seams not so well executed.

OMG! I was over my head for sure! But I had said I'd do it, and I wanted to respect the quilters efforts and design but make a repair that they could wash again and again. So

1. I carefully ironed it, laid it out and measured over and over from different points to determine the best way to square it up and cut off the frayed edges.

2. I went to my fave LQS and bought the best-quality fabric in a close match, and bordered the quilt on front AND back.

3. Layout of the sandwich was difficult for sure, but I got three sides good and one just didn't show the border on the back. I used 505 spray.

4. I didn't want to get flashy at all (not that I could LOL) so I SID to give structural stability, then went over the weak seams and used a little decorative squiggle stitch. I have never quilted one of the modern big-pieces quilts and it is truly the wide open spaces, so I meandered. I tried highlighting the appliqued blocks with square outlines, but the fabric was nowhere near flat enough.

5. At this point I was in a hurry so decided to use Clarissa's clever flange machine binding, which I have used before and looked great. Hahaha. This time - maybe the thickness of the flannel backing - it didn't really come together properly and I had to unsew it a couple times, which took longer than hand-sewing the binding in the end.

I 'signed' it with my initials and a heart done in machine embroidery. I am glad to be finished and proud I got through this high-stress project, and I will never volunteer to to a repair again!!!

I would love to hear others stories who have done repairs to damaged quilts. Thanks for listening to mine!

Last edited by QuiltnNan; 06-23-2016 at 05:26 AM. Reason: language
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Old 06-23-2016, 04:53 AM
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Wow - you are a dear to have done that! I think you learned a lot in the process - I hope your co-worker appreciated the work you did on that.

I have learned - the hard way - to always ask to see what is involved before committing to doing anything.

If it is something like what you have just described - I try to avoid it like the plague. My life expectancy is too short to deal with things like that now. (Maybe - just maybe - for one of my kids or grandkids - other than that, NO NO NO!)
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Old 06-23-2016, 05:00 AM
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Holy cow! Did you charge for this? The only time I got close to doing a repair was for my hairdresser. Her dog had dug thru the blocks in the center of the quilt so he could get cozy & burrow inside! In addition to repairing the top, the batting and backing would need to be replaced. I took the quilt home, studied it, then typed up an itemized estimate and returned it with the quilt. Haven't heard back.
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Old 06-23-2016, 05:17 AM
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Wowser! You should print out your post & give it to your co-worker so she will appreciate all the work you put into it. The only repair job I did for a co-worker's daughter was not on a quilt but on a comforter. Her dog chewed a hole in it so there was an area about 5" square that needed to be repaired. She was not particular at all about how it was to be repaired so I suggested an appliqued heart over the area (she LOVES hearts). The comforter was white so I appliqued a red heart with blanket stitch & she absolutely loved it. Thank goodness she's easy to please.
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Old 06-23-2016, 05:18 AM
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Wow! That was not a repair, that was a reconstruction, and I'm sure much better than the original. How sad, that someone "thought" they were a quilter and gave such a mess as a gift. Don't you feel like getting the sewers address and sending a book----Basic Quilts - How To Make! I would also tell the bride how to wash a quilt and not necessary every week.....overkill!
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Old 06-23-2016, 05:35 AM
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Osewme, one would think that someone would appreciate knowing how much work went into something, but when it happened to me the response was "yeah, but what a great learning experience for you. Think of how much easier it will be for you in the future when you do these kinds of things" .... ummm.... yeah. The learning experience was "I will NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER work with a client's old fabric ever again." Because you're never supposed to say "never", if I do, I will ask to inspect the entire piece at length, not just a quick peek at it with only the best part showing. I will do a burn test on it because in spite of the fact I was told it was from the 1940's, it definitely wasn't because it was a poly blend and those didn't exist in the 40's. And, no matter how simple of quilting is being asked for, I won't take the job for less than $650 -- at even that's a bargain. It took me WAY too long to find usable pieces of fabric, to stabilize it (poly is not as readily stabilized as 100% cotton), square it up & add fabric to it to get it the right size. And stupid me, I thought it would be a quick, easy quilt (just add border, sandwich & quilt with a 2" crosshatch) so I only charged $50/quilt ... she wanted 3 of them. Worst job ever. It took me 20 hours just to do stabilizing PER QUILT -- I was on the Customer Support line with Pellon because I didn't realize their products are only designed to work with 100% cotton fabrics & it didn't bond properly. Total nightmare.

And T-shirt quilts are nearly as evil. Now I stick with new fabric & my own designs and am so much happier. When a dear friend showed me a 100+ year old quilt she had inherited from her mother, I commented what a stunning quilt it was with such intricate hand quilting & suggested she really needed to take it to a restoration specialist. I told her that when she was ready for that, I'd be happy to help her find & interview one.
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Old 06-23-2016, 05:45 AM
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It is a hard lesson learned. I always said no.
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Old 06-23-2016, 05:59 AM
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I did repair an old quilt that was just squares for a lady. Many of the pieces were frayed at the edge and I ended up taking the quilt apart, substituting squares that were too badly damaged. Sewing the top back together and retied the whole thing. It was the last momento she had of her dead mother so I couldn't say no. She offered to pay me but I told her to make a donation to my favourite charity. She did and sent me the receipt for $50.
Since I couldn't put a price on the amount of work involved, it worked out well but never again!

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Old 06-23-2016, 06:19 AM
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I applaud your generosity and kindness for helping this woman. Tell her that it wasn't an easy repair and then give her basic instructions to care for her quilt.

Try not to belittle her friend's ability but say that her friend's quilt was a beautiful and thoughtful gift. Ask the co-worker to pass along to her friend, this advice: "she needs to follow the recommended amount of quilting for the batting because the batting didn't stay put after washing and it needed to be taken apart and re-quilted."
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Old 06-23-2016, 06:31 AM
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Wow, you are BRAVE!
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