Operation Save: Grandma’s Improvisational Strip Block Lap Quilt

Operation Save: Grandma’s Improvisational Strip Block Lap Quilt

My mom has had this lap quilt for a long time, just waiting for someone to come along and help the poor thing out.  The thing is, I didn’t know exactly how to help it out until I worked on my brother’s quilt that was missing whole blocks.  It turns out that it really isn’t all that hard, just time consuming. This lap quilt was made by my grandmother, so it is part of my family’s textile history.  I know some think it is better for value to keep quilts as is, but these quilts are utility quilts.  They get used every day, and are well loved.  They won’t be going to a museum any time soon:) Therefore, it had to be fixed so it could be used again.

This is what I started with. There didn’t seem to be a pattern of any sort, with random strips pieced together to form the top. The quilt had 14 blocks that had fabric shredded, although some of them were all in the same area so that I could just replace it with one large block. The ones that were ruined were a satin material, and I only replaced those. The other undamaged satin material I left there, although I can work on it again if they shred too. Don’t mind our kitten, Kaleesi.  She is very curious:)

shredded fabric on lap quilt

Below are some close up pictures of the damaged fabric.

Damage to fabric

Damage to shredded fabric

To start, I got out my seam ripper, and just used that to take apart the blocks of fabric.  The material appeared to have been from a bedspread or something because the batting was attached to the fabric itself. I was left with holes that now needed to be filled.

Old fabric ripped out

I began by cutting thin batting to place behind the material.

Adding batting

Then I cut pieces of fabric out a little larger than what was necessary, and pinned the existing fabric over that. The fabric were scraps that I had on hand, and patterns that I felt went well with the existing fabric.

New fabric ready to be sewn

Next, I was ready to machine sew the new square in place to finish it off, kind of like a reverse applique, I guess. Yay!  Only 8 more to go.

New square for quilt

Finally I was done with all of the blocks.  The last item I wanted to work on was some wording that was on a block.  The block technically had nothing wrong with it, so I couldn’t justify replacing it, but the wording was bothering me.  It just didn’t do the quilt any favors, so I decided to cover it up with a piece of ribbon sewn on.  After I saw the outcome, I was really happy I decided to do it.  Much better.

Covered wording

The final act was washing it. The poor thing was filthy. Some people carry quilts in the car in the winter, just in case we are stranded on a dirt road in a 3 foot snow drift for hours, and I wonder if this was used in that function.  Anyway, after running it through the wash, the cream colored fabric turned out nice and bright.  So much prettier, and no more shredded fabric! She’s going back to my mom, hopefully to be put back into use.

Lap Quilt finished

Thanks for looking!


Linking up with Between Naps on the Porch



8 responses »

  1. Very, very nice – did you hand sew the new fabric in? I wish I still had my mother’s crazy quilt she had sewn entirely by hand in the car as she traveled. It literally fell apart a few years ago, before I started sewing. Bummer.

  2. Who knew, lol last time I saw that quilt I thought nothing could make it pretty again. Good thing you have such a gift of seeing the beauty in things past their prime. It is very beautiful, Sarah! You’ve done it again! ENJOY it for many more years to come. I just wish your Grandmother could see all you have accomplished as a young woman. She would be as proud of you as your father and I are. Love,

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