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Thread: Need advice on how to quilt a vintage top

  1. #1
    Senior Member Happy Treadler's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    I had recently been given an unfinished quilt top that was found in an attic that was pieced by my SIL's grandmother. My SIL is THE best aunt to my children, and I'd love to finish the top for her. I wondered if anyone had any advice first of all, how old this top may be (it sure is bright!), secondly, how'd you suggest quilting it (pattern) & the technique (machine or hand quilted). It's a very long & skinny top, and I was thinking about maybe adding white borders to try to even it out a bit.
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  2. #2
    Super Member suezquilts's Avatar
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    It does look like it is in great shape. I'm wondering what you are thinking of doing with this?
    If it is just going to be hung and looked at, I would leave it and hanging it this may be a perfect size.

    I hand quilted them if they looked like "new" fabric.

    No other great ideas, sorry. beautiful quilt!

  3. #3
    Power Poster erstan947's Avatar
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    I had 3 from my Grandmother and I hand quilted them. My mom and grandmother always quilted inch out from the seam. So that is what I did. I have also seen some machine quilt these old tops and they look very nice. Be sure to show us your progress:)

  4. #4
    Super Member sharoney's Avatar
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    IMHO, I would hand-quilt. But that's just me.

  5. #5
    Super Member clem55's Avatar
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    I'd be tempted to remove the two bottom rows, add those to the side, use the extra for pillow shams, add a pretty solid border and hand quilt with that longer 1/4 inch stitch.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Happy Treadler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clem55
    I'd be tempted to remove the two bottom rows, add those to the side, use the extra for pillow shams, add a pretty solid border and hand quilt with that longer 1/4 inch stitch.
    That's a good idea, Carol. I do want to keep this quit as traditional as I can. I was thinking handquilting would be the way to go, and if I move the blocks to 'square it up' a bit, I think it'd be a much better size, even if it was hung. Right now it's L-O-N-G and skinny. :)

    Keep the ideas coming!

  7. #7
    Super Member huntannette's Avatar
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    that was my thought as well...nice find!!
    Quote Originally Posted by clem55
    I'd be tempted to remove the two bottom rows, add those to the side, use the extra for pillow shams, add a pretty solid border and hand quilt with that longer 1/4 inch stitch.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Happy Treadler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clem55
    I'd be tempted to remove the two bottom rows, add those to the side, use the extra for pillow shams, add a pretty solid border and hand quilt with that longer 1/4 inch stitch.
    DUMB question, but when you say that "longer 1/4" stitch", do you mean the length of the hand quilting stitch??

    I'm so excited to get started. :)

  9. #9
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    I dont think I'd use white for the border. I'd probably do a narrow pale yellow and a wider one of the blues. As far as quilting goes, are the blocks sewn together well. If not, machine quilting might get stuck in a seam. I'd probably want it hand quilted.

  10. #10
    Super Member Vicki W's Avatar
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    Looks to be in feedsack so I would think c1930. The pattern is log cabin. I would quilt by hand.

    It seems to be in lovely condition.

  11. #11
    Super Member clem55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Treadler
    Quote Originally Posted by clem55
    I'd be tempted to remove the two bottom rows, add those to the side, use the extra for pillow shams, add a pretty solid border and hand quilt with that longer 1/4 inch stitch.
    DUMB question, but when you say that "longer 1/4" stitch", do you mean the length of the hand quilting stitch??

    I'm so excited to get started. :)
    Not sure if that is what it really is called, but I'Ve seen it quite a lot lately, it is a much longer hand quilting stitch, sort of folk artsy.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Happy Treadler's Avatar
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    Got another idea. Instead of making pillow shams, I think I may do small wall-hangings/table toppers to give to my SIL's sister & dad. That way everyone gets a piece of Grandma's quilt. :)

  13. #13
    Super Member hobo2000's Avatar
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    I agree with Carol, a 4" red border with navy binding would set off the squares very well. Lovely quilt. Some of the fabrics look to be 40's and others, I don't know.

  14. #14
    Super Member chairjogger's Avatar
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    vintage top.
    Please, be careful....
    seminar from civil war quilts.:

    a quilt is as old as the newest piece added.

    as you add, backing, replacement pieces, that means you have changed the year span on the quilt.

    good luck.
    Ell

  15. #15
    Super Member mpspeedy's Avatar
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    Ironically I am currently handquilting a similar quilt. One of the ladies at the Senior center brought it in and offered to donate it to the center quilters to finish and raffle off. They don't want to mess with it. I took it home, ran a staystitch around the whole thing and washed and dryed it to make sure it would survive. It is made mostly of feedsack fabrics. I put a six inch red border around it on all sides to stabilize the whole thing and have it about two thirds of the way quilted. I will take it back when it is finished and they can either give it back to the donor in exchange for a donation to the center or raffle it off. I am quilting 1/4 inch inside each piece to assure that the pieces stay together. I am putting a large quilted chain motif in the borders Haven't decided what color to bind it with yet. It will be somewhere between a full and queen size when finished.
    The 1/4 inch quilting stitch someone else mentioned is called "big stitch", similar to Shasiko. If you wanted to do that you would use embroidery thread. It would make the quilt look "primitive".

  16. #16
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    As Carol suggested, I'd "square it up first" but I wouldn't hand quilt it. I'd machine quilt it because I don't think your hand quilting would even show with all of those loud fabrics. Unless I can see hand quilting and admire it, I feel it is a waste of time. I'd use a narrow red border and then perhaps a blue one, matching your vintage fabrics as closely as possible.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Happy Treadler's Avatar
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    I almost forgot something!!! OK, I'm sure you'll say "how could she forget THAT", but I was so excited about the quilt that I forgot I set aside another piece of fabric that they found with it. There must be nearly 4 yards of it. I'm thinking now that maybe SIL's gram had plans for it in this quilt. Maybe this could be my border. Not sure if it's from the same time period, but I'm thinking it is. In fact, maybe I could stretch it enough to do a small border and also use it as a backing & binding. Certainly the right colors and same texture!

    4 yards of this fabric
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  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Treadler
    I almost forgot something!!! OK, I'm sure you'll say "how could she forget THAT", but I was so excited about the quilt that I forgot I set aside another piece of fabric that they found with it. There must be nearly 4 yards of it. I'm thinking now that maybe SIL's gram had plans for it in this quilt. Maybe this could be my border. Not sure if it's from the same time period, but I'm thinking it is. In fact, maybe I could stretch it enough to do a small border and also use it as a backing & binding. Certainly the right colors and same texture!
    Yep! How could you! sounds like me!
    Have you considered using this eye-popping fabric for the backing and bringing it to the front so the finished quilt would be self-bound (don't know if that is the term). I have two quilts from a Mennonite retirement home that were done that way. It would be great to retain the vintage quality if at all possible. Happy quilting!

  19. #19
    Senior Member quilter1943's Avatar
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    That was my first thought when I saw it - move some of the bottom to the side and make it square. Then maybe you could add borders around it. There is so much 30's fabric, you might find something very similar - do a 2" or so solid border, then add the pattern in a border and bind it with the pattern. Definitely hand quilt.
    Quote Originally Posted by clem55
    I'd be tempted to remove the two bottom rows, add those to the side, use the extra for pillow shams, add a pretty solid border and hand quilt with that longer 1/4 inch stitch.

  20. #20
    Super Member piepatch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Treadler
    I almost forgot something!!! OK, I'm sure you'll say "how could she forget THAT", but I was so excited about the quilt that I forgot I set aside another piece of fabric that they found with it. There must be nearly 4 yards of it. I'm thinking now that maybe SIL's gram had plans for it in this quilt. Maybe this could be my border. Not sure if it's from the same time period, but I'm thinking it is. In fact, maybe I could stretch it enough to do a small border and also use it as a backing & binding. Certainly the right colors and same texture!
    I think the extra fabric would be great in a border.

  21. #21
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    I would use the longer stitch, the 1/4", and hand quilt around the center red square and then along one side of the seams that were sewn to hold the larger squares together. Feed sacks were colorful and the backing fabric just what the top needs. When that was made, the woman used what was on hand so it is bright and cheerful. A real smiley quilt top.
    Carol J.

  22. #22
    Member Celia Brown's Avatar
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    I just saw your message on quilting board........I would love to know what pattern the quilt is you are working with.....Last night at work I had a patients daughter to bring me some material and she had 10 pieces of feedsack fabric in it and I want to make a quilt out of it and don't know what to make for one thing i'm new to quilting............I have six different colors of it

  23. #23
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    Oooh, love the extra piece of fabric for a border. Perfect for this quilt.I wonder if the one who pieced this intended it to be used on a day bed. They were somewhat popular in that time period and would require more length than width. While I like a patterned fabric for a quilt that will be used as a cover, many quilters of that time period used muslin for backing. If I had to choose, I'd use that accompanying fabric for a border and put muslin on the back. What a wonderful find! My vote--hand quilting and I liked the suggestion to go around the center square and then outline the block itself.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Treadler
    Got another idea. Instead of making pillow shams, I think I may do small wall-hangings/table toppers to give to my SIL's sister & dad. That way everyone gets a piece of Grandma's quilt. :)
    HOW WONDERFUL - I cherish the quilt I have made by my GM & GGM the year I was born (1934).

    I agree about removing some to make it more it "square", the SIL might even prefer it smaller, made into a sofa throw or wall hanging. (Maybe ck. w/her) Your idea of sharing some of the 'fabric' w/the others in something small is so considerate.

    To make it more authentic I would definitely hand quilt, a 1/4" from the seams (there weren't any quilting machines in the era of this fabric or construction of the quilt).

    A border of blue to complement some of the blue in the blocks would be nice, or even a red like the center blocks would give it some bang.

    We'll all be anxious to see your final results - anything you decide will be good.

    Have a blessed day :lol:

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Treadler
    I almost forgot something!!! OK, I'm sure you'll say "how could she forget THAT", but I was so excited about the quilt that I forgot I set aside another piece of fabric that they found with it. There must be nearly 4 yards of it. I'm thinking now that maybe SIL's gram had plans for it in this quilt. Maybe this could be my border. Not sure if it's from the same time period, but I'm thinking it is. In fact, maybe I could stretch it enough to do a small border and also use it as a backing & binding. Certainly the right colors and same texture!
    This would make PERFECT borders on whatever you decide to do w/it :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

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