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Thread: Help with my mom's quilt squares

  1. #1
    Super Member Carol W's Avatar
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    Good Morning.

    My dad was cleaning out the basement and found a couple of bags of my mom's fabric and polyester batting. My mom was not interested in keeping any so she offered them to me.

    I was just taking the polyester batting out of one bag. At the bottom of the bag was fabric. As I'm taking out what I thought was fabric, out comes huge white quilted squares!!! What a wonderful surprise! I haven't measured the squares but they look to be at least 20" square. My mom has sewn for years, but she never mentioned that she had done any quilting. I need to look carefully, but I believe that she has handquilted these squares. She does allot of counted cross stitch and the stitching on the squares is very uniform.

    I would like to put these together into a quilt and surprise my Mom.

    They are stinky and do have a few brown stains. They are white cotton with polyester batting.

    Would you sew the squares into a quilt first and then launder or would you launder and then sew them together?

    I have never used polyester batting, only cotton, and I'm unsure what to do.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    reneebobby's Avatar
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    Good One but I'm new so I can't help but can't wait to see the quilt

  3. #3
    Super Member Oklahoma Suzie's Avatar
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    I had that problem before, I washed mine and I had bad luck with it. So, I say sew them together first.

  4. #4
    Super Member Carol W's Avatar
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    Here are a few pics of the squares.
    Attached Images Attached Images


  5. #5

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    How awesome!! I'm glad you are putting them together for her as a surprise. I would put them together then wash. You will have a big mess on your hands if you wash first.
    Treat the batt as you would cotton. No problems.

  6. #6
    Izy
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    Super Member Izy's Avatar
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    What a treasure, I think a lovely soft coloured sashing would really bring those blocks to life, what a wonderful surprise this is going to be for your mom :D

  7. #7
    Power Poster sewnsewer2's Avatar
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    Very pretty! If you have a serger, maybe you could serge them or even sew a narrow straight stitch and then hand wash them and air dry if they smell is too bad.

  8. #8
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    I'll go against the crowd and say hand wash first, maybe soak overnight in an enzyme stain remover. Hang to dry. If the stains don't come out, you may not want them in a quilt, or you may want to arrange then so a well-placed applique will cover them. You may decide to dye the stained blocks to camo the spots. By sewing first, you are limiting your options.

  9. #9
    mamatobugboo's Avatar
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    I agree with washing first - soak them in woolite or something gentle like that. You can also try white distilled vinegar, dilute a LOT, boil the water, take it off the heat and put your squares in to soak over night. That is supposed to take all stains out of clothing

    amazing find and what a great gift idea foryour mom!

  10. #10
    Super Member SaraSewing's Avatar
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    I think I would wash first - probably by hand. If they fall apart, you would probably want to know now.

    As for setting them together, here is an idea that I used for prequilted blocks that worked pretty well:

    Decide which side you want a little strip to show on. If you want it decorative with a contrast, make it show on the front. If you want simply to put the blocks together next to each other, put it on the back with a harmonizing color.

    Next cut strips about 1 1/2 inches wide. You could use packaged wide bias tape if you have a source. Then put the blocks together (we will say back to back), with the side of the strip included in the seam allowance. Sew it. Then open up the blocks. Fold the strip of fabric over the seam and either hand stitch, or top stitch. It covers the seam and makes a little sashing between the blocks.

    Sew each row, finishing the strip covering the seam. Then, sew each row together, putting back to back and a long piece of 1 1/2 inch wide fabric included in the seam. Then fold it over the raw edges, and you have a completed top.

    Is this clear as mud? Hope you (or someone) can use this method sometime.

  11. #11

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    The reason I would wait to wash is that washing before is going to fray the edges something terrible (even with hand washing) that would mean you would have to trim down maybe losing an inch all the way around.
    If you wait then wash, what are you going to lose.....a little time that it took you to put it together???

  12. #12
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    I have to weigh in on washing by hand first. If you are gentle, it shouldn't fray much, and you can see if the stains are going to come out or not. We washed a 100 year old quilt in Woolite in a kitchen sink, and it worked great. It was hard work, but it got it clean and removed spots!!

  13. #13

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    hu, I guess I'm the odd bird out. I say finish it then wash. Those are beautiful squares. Once it is in quilt form you will be able to work harder to get the stains out. I've used vinegar and gotten out brown stains (from storage) no problem.

  14. #14
    Senior Member sewaholic's Avatar
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    I say don't wash it first because the polyester batting could come apart.
    Lots of luck and I hope the stains do come out. If they don't maybe you could dye it.

  15. #15
    Super Member gcathie's Avatar
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    Wow a lot of great ideas...What a find...

    I would hand tack the outside edges down....baste....then get some really hot water and Ivory Dish Soap with Biz...equal parts...let soak till comes clean.... If some stains don't come out you don't need to use those blocks... I'm a sashing girl....what is your Mom's favorite color....Good Luck and keep us up to date...

  16. #16
    Super Member Barb M's Avatar
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    wow, what a great find. hmmm, good points on both sides of the coin here lol. Why dont you try this? Baste around the edge of just one of the badly stained squares, and wash just the one square by hand, and that way you can find out what works best to get the stains out. If it works well to get one stain out, then you can wash the rest first too, or put the quilt together and then wash it. If it doesnt take the stain out, then, stil with just this one square, you can try giving it a tea bath. I've seen photo's online of quilts that have been dyed with tea, and they come out with a gorgeous antique look to them.

  17. #17
    Super Member Carol W's Avatar
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    Thank you all so much for all the advice.

    I will look at the blocks for a bit, go away from them and then come back and look at them again.

    I'm still very undecided what to do.


  18. #18
    Super Member Quilt4u's Avatar
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    What a great find

  19. #19
    MaxineB's Avatar
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    I don't have a suggestion, but I'd love to hear what worked. I'm new to quilting and this info is great! Good luck :roll:

  20. #20
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    I agree with Barb. Choose the block which is the most stained. (I would baste around the outer edges to hold layers together.) Give it a good soak and then gentle washing. Rinse out well and air dry. If it works, great. Assemble the quilt then wash it gently. If it doesn't work, assemble it anyway. Then wash it and give it a gentle tea dye. Remember it's supposed to look old -- it's old.

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