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Thread: Vintage quilt top...to quilt or not to quilt?

  1. #1
    Super Member natalieg's Avatar
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    I have this vintage top laying around that I finally repaired (didn't want to obviously since it has been in the house for 10 months and only took 20 minutes to repair!). It belongs to my Brother-in-law, made by his grandmother.
    He asked me if I would do the repairs and if I would consider quilting it. I told him no on the quilting. It is yellowed from age and the smoking there, but the fabric is old. It is all hand-pieced and he wants me to put it on my frame. I think if it gets quilted, it should be handquilted, but I wouldn't do it myself.
    Would you?
    BTW, I love how the fabric from back then is so tightly woven!
    Beautiful quilt and fabric. I told them I would put it on a guest bed as a topper only or fold it up and put it in one of the curio cabinets.
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  2. #2
    Super Member skydiver70's Avatar
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    I love the pattern and it would look pretty hand quilted since it is a vintage quilt.

  3. #3
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    You should probably ask someone who works with vintage quilts as the fabric can be very fragile.

  4. #4
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    Beautiful !! :-)
    Hand quilting would be the way to go, in my oppinion. :-)

  5. #5
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    3 years ago I machine quilted a quilt top my grandmother made - probably late 1930's or early 1940's. It had been folded up in various drawers for most of its life and was in pretty good condition. I don't think it was hand sewn, though, I think my grandmother used a sewing machine. The fabrics are definitely 1930's , and look like scraps from dresses and shirts her family wore at one time.

    Bottom line is that it turned out fine. I now store it on top of the bed in the guest room, but underneath a 'store bought' quilt that I've had for over 20 years.

    My youngest daughter has claimed "Grandma's quilt" when I go to my reward. Meantime, my 'grands' use it when they visit. Even old quilts need love!

    I confess that I knew almost nothing about caring for aged fabrics when I machine quilted it, or maybe I would have made a different decision. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

  6. #6
    Super Member cuppi duke's Avatar
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    I would have it hand quilted since it is a vintage. Perhaps there's some one on this board that would do it. I remember a post by a lady that was wanting to do hand quilting. This was a couple of months ago or more. I think it's lovely.

  7. #7
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    Such a pretty quilt! You mentioned the fabrics are tight woven...perhaps the fabric is stronger than you think. I think it needs to be quilted, one way or another-its the beauty of old quilts. IMHO. Good luck whatever you choose. :P :-P :-P

  8. #8
    Power Poster Tweety2911's Avatar
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    Quilt it either method will work and display it proudly. Lovely quilt!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckeyed
    You should probably ask someone who works with vintage quilts as the fabric can be very fragile.
    Beautiful quilt! What a treasure to have in your care.

    After asking a professional for their opinion I would then decide how to proceed.

    If the fabric is tightly woven you should be able to use the quilter's cleaner and clean it by soaking it and rinsing several times and then rolling in towels and squeezing out the water. You do not want to wring the fabric. After squeezing out the water lay out if possible on towels and sheets to dry.

    This is a quilt that should be hand quilted and not quilted by machine. You could at the very least sandwich the quilt with a plain muslin backing and tie the quilt. From the design though it was probably planned to be hand quilted.

    I would do a google search on further guidelines and instructions for older and antique quilts and their care.

    Pam M

  10. #10
    Senior Member NDQuilts's Avatar
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    I love handquilting these types of pieces. As long as the fabric is not fragile it should finish nicely. It has lots of white space for beautiful quilting motifs.

  11. #11
    Power Poster ann clare's Avatar
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    Beautiful. I would hand quilt

  12. #12
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    As one who does quilt repair and restoration, and who quilts *occasionally* for others, my perspective on this quilt is:

    It was made in 1978, just 3-4 years before I learned to quilt, at a time when many quilters were doing machine quilting. The fabrics of the time were American cottons of good quality and thread count, and this print looks vaguely familiar. Just because it's vintage is no particular reason to handquilt it, yet, since this one is handpieced, it does seem like the intent of the original quilter to hand quilt it.

    I'm betting the fabrics can easily stand up to a "washing" if done gently enough to not cause fraying of the edges, and if I were going to quilt it, I'd definitely be cleaning it first for my own comfort in handling it.

    The quilting would likely have been minimal, less than we often see now with lots of stippling, etc. Outlining the design about 1/4" away from each side would be period appropriate. It would likely have been done with an ecru thread.

    Regardless, enjoying it is the best honor it can be shown!

    Jan in VA

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