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Thread: Reviving quilts

  1. #1
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    Reviving quilts

    Hello,

    I usually lurk here and enjoy the conversation and inspiration, and now that I need some help, I know where to come.

    I have a number of beloved quilts which, for various and complicated reasons, have been folded up and stored, under other (heavy) things, in plastic bags for something like 3-5 years. I'm now able to get them out again, and they look so sad and flattened and squished. They are also, obviously, well creased.

    What's the best way to go about "reviving" my quilts and getting them to look better - remove creases, possibly "fluff up" a bit? Some of them I could run through a washer, but there are a couple (one machine embroidered, one hand cross-stitched) that I would not dare to do that. At present I have them laid out across a couple of couches, simply to let them "breathe" again.

    I'd appreciate any tips to help bring some life back into my beauties.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
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    I wouldn’t use plastic to store quilts.

  3. #3
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    Unfolding them and letting them out to breathe is probably a good first step.

  4. #4
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    I'd wash and dry them.

  5. #5
    Super Member GingerK's Avatar
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    For the ones you are afraid to wash, you could put them into the dryer on 'air' for a short time. That may help. One of the best ways to store quilts (if you have the room) is layered on a spare bed.
    Never argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down the their level and beat you with experience.

  6. #6
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    ​Air fluff in the dryer may help.

  7. #7
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    Like some of the others, I'd do a damp towel thrown in with a low heat/air fluff.

    For precious heirloom quilts the advice is to refold them at least every 3 months. That is, refolding them in a different way each time. So maybe once you fold it in thirds first, then the next time in half. Start at the long ends one time, the short ends the next etc.

    I have a number of quilts in storage, my keeping of them is not the best but then they each get taken out of storage at least once a year and used. Basically I have them folded in thirds and then rolled loosely like a sleeping bag, and they fit on the upper shelf of the closet.

  8. #8
    Super Member Annie68's Avatar
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    I'd also put them in the dryer and let them tumble for a while.

  9. #9
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    Your first step of laying them out to breathe is great. I might suggest that you spray with light mist of water and run thru your dryer for just a few minutes. Also, if you have extra beds that no one is using then you can lay them on beds instead of folding up and making more creases. Also, never store in plastic as this will possibly cause mold because of the condensation in the plastic. Good luck on your endeavor of reviving the quilts.

  10. #10
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    No to the plastic. You can use any kind of "junk" fabric or even pillowcases that are beyond normal use to store your quilts. This lets them "breathe" but still protected from dust, etc. It's handy to put a card on the outside of the bag as to what the quilt is inside. Good to refold with some regularity but most of us forget to do that.

  11. #11
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    I have stored some quilts on pool noodles with good results. I use archival tape to put two noodles together lengthwise and then cut them to fit the quilts I want to roll up. I then cover the noodles with unbleached muslin and then roll the quilts onto them. I can stand the whole thing up in a closet.

    For the ones you have taken out of storage, I would lightly dampen them and put them into the dryer on low heat or air. After that, I would layer them onto a bed. I have about 8 quilts on my guest bed right now! If guests come, I fold them up temporarily and return them to the bed after company leaves.

  12. #12
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    Thanks, everyone, for the tips. I know well that the storage was "less than ideal", let us say, but sometimes we don't get to choose the ideal.

    I love the pool noodle idea for storage, as we don't have a spare bed at present. But now that my quilts are out, they will either be hung on the wall or used on beds and couches, so we can enjoy them all.

    Thanks again!

  13. #13
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    One time I saw a quilt in a store displayed by being nailed to a wall. I could see that it was pulling (tearing) at the corners from 15 feet away. My quilt police persona did come out when I (strongly) suggested that was not a good way to display a quilt.

    So if you decide to hang them on a wall, be sure to add a sleeve to the back or use some non-damaging method to suspend them.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by tranum View Post
    I wouldn’t use plastic to store quilts.
    I agree. If you are not archiving your quilts, they need to be stored in a cotton wrapping, ie. Pillow case, etc. The quilts (cotton) needs to breathe.

  15. #15
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    Since many of us have a "big" stash, maybe making pillowcases to store quilts is a good use for some stash pieces, especially fabric you are not crazy about. I would wash that fabric first just in case there are any chemicals present.

    Just a thought.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    One time I saw a quilt in a store displayed by being nailed to a wall. I could see that it was pulling (tearing) at the corners from 15 feet away. My quilt police persona did come out when I (strongly) suggested that was not a good way to display a quilt.

    So if you decide to hang them on a wall, be sure to add a sleeve to the back or use some non-damaging method to suspend them.
    Nailed?!?!? That's awful!! Don't worry, I have beautiful sleeves on the backs of the quilts I plan to hang!

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