Repairing and Preserving Grandma’s Quilt

Repairing and Preserving Grandma’s Quilt

I think I have mentioned this before, but my grandmother loved to quilt.  We all have multiple ones that she did for us throughout the years. Unfortunately, I think enough love, wear and tear, time, and general use has taken their toll on the ones that we have, kind of like in this case. This Framed Block quilt is actually my brother’s, and he asked me if there was anything I could do to fix this one, which is about 20 years old.

I have to state that I have never actually repaired a quilt before.  I have made them, but never repaired them, so I don’t know if this is how it should be done. I did look online and found several great sites with tutorials, so I went off of those.  Since this was a quilt that not museum quality, and my brother felt he would like to continue to use, I decided to fix it as best as I could. These are the pictures he sent me to begin with.  Yikes!Ripped Seams to repair on quilt

Once I got the quilt laid out, I could see there were multiple issues with it.  There were seams that had come apart, actual pieces of the fabric missing completely, others shredded, and holes all over the place.Missing pieces in quilt blocks

I started by putting a needle through each tear or hole that would have to be repaired, even if it was really small. This helped me to see what I needed to work on, and from there I systematically started sewing the damaged areas with a needle and thread. Damage to quilt

It took me several evenings of sitting in front of the TV, but I got the little tears and holes fixed. I saved the bigger issues to work on next, because that involved the seam ripper.  This is not my favorite thing in the world to do, and I had five blocks that I had to take apart. Two had no reusable fabric, and three that had half of their fabric okay. Another block needed to have only one piece completely replaced. Taking the blocks out and apart took me another couple of evenings. All said when I was done, I counted 83 pins that I removed from the quilt.

Here are pictures of the two squares that had no salvageable fabric.  Since this is my brother’s quilt, I opted to go for more masculine colors than pink, and tried to stay with fabrics that were similar to the existing squares. The pictures can be clicked on to enlarge them. Framed Block Quilt Green Framed Block

And here are pictures of the four squares where some fabric was usable. After making the replacement squares, I laid each one under the existing square’s edge, pinned the two together, and basted them so they wouldn’t shift. Then I removed the pins. This way, when I was ready to actually quilt it, I could easily remove the basting thread afterwards. Framed Block square quilt pieceReplacement pieces for Framed block square Replacement pieces for Framed block quilt

Framed Block Quilt squareI also basted the square that had damage to each of its seams so I could go over those when I was quilting it.Framed Block square

The next part is never my favorite, but I thought in this case it would be good to go over the entire quilt with a stitch in a ditch method for quilting.  Grandma had only tied this quilt, but quilting it in addition gives the fabric more stability, and helps to preserve the seams a bit.  I am hoping that will help with this poor quilt. After everything was quilted together, I took out the basting thread. Stitch in the ditch on vintage quilt

The last step was to tie in the spots where I had to remove them to add fabric in the new blocks. Tie quilt in addition to quilting

And here she is done, and whole for the first time in a while. I am worried about further issues, especially since the fabric is paper-thin on some of the blocks.  I’m going to let my brother know about preservation techniques so hopefully this won’t continue to happen. At least she’s usable again. Repaired and Preserved Framed Block Quilt

This is the last quilt that I will be working on for a while.  Now that it’s spring, I plan on painting, and not being inside, so we’ll have to see what I will get up to.

Thanks for looking!


Linking up to Between Naps on the Porch, A Stroll Thru Life, and A Quilt Story:


Fresh Poppy Design


One response »

  1. Well now, that made me teary. What a big sister! Mom repaired some of my quilts. I can’t help but wonder what she would think of your blog and her beautiful granddaughter quilting. Wow, Sarah, I am so proud of you!

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