Sometimes, despite our best efforts, our furry friends can make a mess of a treasured quilt. This one had been in a closet, but the dog found the door open one day, and began a chewing spree resulting in a lot of damage. Add to that the wear and tear of a quilt over 60 years old, and it was next to ruin. But, the quilt was precious, made by a grandmother in the 1950s. The granddaughter was very upset to find it in this shape, and contacted me to see if it could be saved. As I haven’t met a quilt yet that couldn’t be repaired in some way, I made arrangements for her to bring it to me.
When she brought it, I could understand why she was upset. Two large holes had been chewed into it, and one edge was completely frayed. After discussing options, she decided to go with the plan of cutting off the bottom row and border, and using that fabric to repair the rest. New binding fabric would be purchased, and new binding made for the entire edge.
To begin the repair, I put the quilt on the table, and systematically went over every seam to find all the popped seams and areas needing repair.
Each one carefully re-sewn by hand.
Some had rips associated with them, so I hand stitched the edges together as best I could, just for stabilizing.
Then I put a pin in to mark the spot where an appliqued patch would be needed.
This rip wasn’t on a seam so it would need the same treatment.
The edges are stabilized with whip stitches, then a pin placed so I can find it again.
Working carefully, I examined each row individually, repairing what I could and stabilizing the rest for later.
Aurifil thread in 50 wt is the best for this job as it is next to invisible on the repairs.
Some of the repairs were really quite simple and easy. There was plenty of fabric on this one to fold over the seam again on all four sides of this corner.
After stitching, the repair isn’t noticeable.
Next, I ran a line of machine stitching down the quilt next to where I planned to cut off the row most damaged.
Around the gaping hole, you can see why this is helpful. It keeps the layers together for the removal of part of the quilt.
After cutting the row off, I used my seam ripper to separate the layers so I could use the fabric for patches.
The remaining hole was large and triangular in shape. I spread it out on the cutting table and smoothed it so I got an accurate layout of the space needing repair.
I made a patch for the backside first, in roughly the shape needed.
The patch is put in place and pinned, then hand stitched into place.
Turning the quilt over, the hole now has a base.
Using batting from the piece I cut off ensures that the texture and loft matches the rest of the vintage quilt.
Next, I needed to sew a patch for the top, matching the prints as the damage crossed over two patches.
Patch made, it is pinned into place. There is another hole in the blue fabric above the patch. It needs to be repaired before the larger patch is sewn into place as it goes under the new patch.
I made another small patch with matching fabric, and pinned it down.
I appliqued the blue patch first, then the larger green and floral patch. Afterward, I put in some hand quilting stitches across the area to match the quilting on the rest of the quilt.
There was yet one more large patch with several holes, and I thought this would do best with one large patch covering all of them rather than three little ones.
The new patch is pinned into place, and I tried to line up the pattern in the plaid. I didn’t have a lot to play with, but this is pretty close. It is on the edge, so I only needed to applique three sides.
New binding was made and attached, and it covered the edge of the patch.
The new binding was put all the way around the edge for consistency. The color looks pretty good with the vintage fabrics.
So, there it is, all done. The customer picked it up on Saturday, and she seemed very pleased with the results. She still wants to use it to cuddle with, and display on a bed, and she should get years more use from it if she is careful with it.
I gave her instructions on washing it too, as that is safer to do now that it is repaired.
Are you working on any quilting projects?
If you have a quilt needing repair, see my page Well Loved Quilt Repair at the top of the blog.
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