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Thread: Rescuing an old quilt

  1. #1
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
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    Rescuing an old quilt

    To all you tallented and inventive people out there I need your help. I have a quilt that is fairly old. I do not know its exact age, but old enough for the batting to be completely disintegrated. That being said, the pachwork and the backing are intact. I would like to replace the old batting with new one, but I do not know if that is even possible. Here are more details about the quilt - the patchwork is done by machine, there is no binding (I think they used self binding technique) and it is hand quilted. The batting, or what is left of it, resembles a paper napkin/cleanex that has been through the washer and drier and is now in the corner of your pants pocket - you know the state I am talking about. The quilt has sentimental value for me. This quilt and its mate (which is in much better condition) are the first quilts I ever saw and they were given to my family when we moved to Canada as refugees after the civil war in our country. I am using the quilt as it is daily, it is in my family room, but if it is possible I would like to rehabilitate it. I do not know what is going to happen to the fabric, if I start tearing it all apart...
    I've got a smile on my face, I've got four walls around me
    The sun in the sky, the water surrounds me
    I'll win now but sometimes I'll lose
    I've been battered, but I'll never bruise

  2. #2
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    One option is to NOT tear it apart. Treat the quilt with no batting as a quilt top. Sandwich it with a new batting and a new backing and requilt it. If you plan on hand quilting it you can do a section at a time. It is up to you on if you want to leave in the original hand quilting and simply quilt next to it or over it. If I were to tackle such a job, I would leave the old quilting stiches alone and simply hand quilt over them or right next to them. If I were to machine quilt it I would probably do the same thing. This way you don't have to worry about damaging the original by removing stitches. Be advised, by doing this you will destroy or seriously depreciate any monetary value the quilt has as an antique but it sounds from your post that it is sentimental value to you and in that case, if you want to continue to use it then don't worry about what refurbishing might do its value as an antique.

    Edited to add, by doing it this way you will have to bind it, unless you "birth it" but I would worry about wrinkles if done by "birthing".
    Last edited by feline fanatic; 07-18-2012 at 06:17 AM.

  3. #3
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    It is certainly possible to take a quilt like this apart and re-assemble it with new batting. You would need to first un-pick all of the quilting, and then un-pick whatever stitching is holding the edges together. You definitely would not be "tearing apart" the quilt! You would simply be removing the hand quilting. Since the top is in good condition, removing the hand quilting stitches will not harm it at all.

    Since you are used to a thin quilt, I would assume you want to keep a thin batting. Quilter's Dream Request and Hobbs 80/20 are both good choices for either hand or machine quilting. The QDR is flatter; the Hobbs has a little more loft.

    If you have never quilted before, it's a good idea to create some practice pieces using cheap muslin and a piece of the batting that will be used in the quilt.

  4. #4
    Super Member SouthPStitches's Avatar
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    Don't think there's any clear cut answer, but if I may make a suggestion. I just used a Pellon cotton batting I bought by the yard at Joann's for a cotton lawn lap quilt. I was thrilled with the results. I hand quilted and was able to achieve the smallest stitches I've even sewn in 30+ years. Seems like the perfect solution for a quilt that needs gentler handling.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your answers I really appreciate it. Although I am a beginner quilter, I have been sewing for about 30 years, so I am no stranger to repairs, but these quilts are precious to me, so I had to consult you guys who have a wealth of knowledge and experience. I think that I will add a layer of batting, quilt it and add binding. I will post pictures once I am done. Thanks again.
    I've got a smile on my face, I've got four walls around me
    The sun in the sky, the water surrounds me
    I'll win now but sometimes I'll lose
    I've been battered, but I'll never bruise

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