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Yellowed Vintage Quilt Top

Yellowed Vintage Quilt Top

Old 05-08-2020, 09:54 AM
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Default Yellowed Vintage Quilt Top

I just bought a vintage quilt top which if hand quilted in the dresden plate pattern. My question is: Should I sandwich and quilt it first or try and remove the yellow discolor.

What is the best way to remove the yellow discolor.
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:11 AM
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I try to avoid washing "flimsies" if I can and work with them first. There have been things that needed sanitizing before working on, just treat them 10 times more carefully. If you don't feel a noticeable difference in the yellowed areas, I'd finish working on it first.

You can soak the finished product with something oxyclean or orvus or many other things. There are many different favorite treatments.

I recommend putting the (finished) quilt in a plastic laundry basket (the cheap basket type, you want big holes), and then put the basket with the quilt in the bathtub. I usually start with water as hot as mine gets (which is above recommended settings for households with children) and dissolve whatever I'm using first before putting in the textiles. The basket helps keep the strain/weight off the quilt as you gently swish it around, and it allows you to actually get in and stomp on it to get the excess water out.

Even with modern workmanship and back, still treat the entire top as if it is as delicate/old as the top. Don't ever pick up a delicate wet quilt by just a corner, the weight and pull can be tremendous.
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Old 05-08-2020, 12:43 PM
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I would finish it and wash in coldwater tide and oxiclean.
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Old 05-08-2020, 01:06 PM
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You might want to dampen a Q tip and gently rub any bright colours to see if any colour transfers to the Q tip, if you have transfer, it will probably bleed when washed.
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Old 05-08-2020, 05:24 PM
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Retro Clean is highly recommended (by Cindy Needham, among others) for taking stains out of vintage fabric. As to whether to wash it before or after quilting, I think that depends on the condition of the top. If it's so dirty or smelly that you don't want to handle it, then wash it carefully by hand before quilting. But if it's just a little soiled, I would quilt it first.
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Old 05-08-2020, 06:11 PM
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I’m going to piggyback onto your original question. If you really want to wash a flimsy, would it help to stay stitch, zig zag, or serge the outside edges of the top before washing in a machine?
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Old 05-09-2020, 04:41 AM
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I would quilt it first, then wash it in Oxyclean and cold water with a couple of color catchers.
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Old 05-09-2020, 06:44 AM
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Once, I took my yellowed white dress made of a fine white liberty-lawn-type cotton out. I was so disgusted with the yellowing that had occurred. I washed it, the yellow did not come out. I hung it out to dry, and I left it out on the line for several days. The sunlight got rid of the yellow, and I was very happy. You might want to try that. We often forget the bleaching effects of sunlight.
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Old 05-09-2020, 07:31 AM
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I have washed antique quilts in sodium perborate (used to be called all fabric bleach). You do need to soak them a long time, changing the solution several times (days). Usually had good results. One quilt I did for a client was so bad, my DH thought I had ruined it when he saw the "after". It had looked like beige fabric when it was really off-white.

If it is just a top, do it in a tub and lay flat somewhere to dry. Do not wash in a washer or dryer, it will unravel badly.
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Old 05-09-2020, 07:51 AM
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Yeah, sandwich and finish the quilt first then wash the entire quilt in oxyclean. I would soak it for a day or so if possible in a tub. I have found that soaking it for the extended time, swishing it from time to time, works the best for me.
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