One of the things I do is repair well-loved quilts that no one else will touch. Most of the time, someone that is truly using a quilt will not care that it isn’t museum quality, they just want the worst of the damage repaired. But many quilters won’t touch these, believing they are too damaged to be repaired. In my experience, these quilt owners just want to be able to keep using a family treasure. Such was the case with this quilt, brought to me by a lovely lady named Stephanie. She loved to wrap up in this quilt, lay on top of it with her kids and the dogs while watching TV, and in general using it the way we all hope our quilt gifts will be used. But, years of use has resulted in some severe damage, popped seams, worn areas and frayed edges.
The worst damage was on and adjacent to the binding.
Fabric was disintegrating and pulling away from the seams all along the striped binding from the stress of use.
Plus the corners which get a lot of handling were wearing away.
My best advice was to remove the binding plus a couple of inches where the worst damage was occurring, then use this fabric to repair the center of the quilt.
Some spots like this one were in a straight line with plenty of fabric left.
Those could be resewn with a satin stitch in matching color thread.
But most of the tears and worn places were larger or L-shaped.
These did not have enough fabric left to cover the defects, so patches were made from the fabric cut off. The edges of the patch were turned under, matched to the patchwork as best as I could, then topstitched on.
Having a bit of every fabric helped, and sometimes I pieced two together to match up a patch.
At a distance, the repairs are not obvious. I was pleased with that result.
I found this fabric for her to put on new binding, and offered to tea dye it to dull it down a bit, but Stephanie said her curtains were close to this so she wanted it left the way it was. It does echo a red and cream print in the quilt, but the white background is a bit startling. Still, she thought it was fine, so I went with it.
I made it very wide, to mimic the one I cut off, and give her plenty of new fabric to take the stress of handling.
All done, and when she picked it up she seemed very pleased. I did give her some advice on using it in the future, to only use it for display and not to lie on top of it as the fabrics were disintegrating and wouldn’t hold up to such heavy use.
I believe she said it was her grandmother’s quilt, so likely this treasure is many, many years old. All in all, though, I think the repairs are enough to keep it going for a few more years, if she is careful.
Do you have any well-loved quilts?
If you have a quilt needing repair, see my page Well Loved Quilt Repair at the top of the blog.