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Topic: Repairing some GORGEOUS antique quilts  (Read 718 times)
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« on: December 28, 2007 10:42:20 PM »

I guess I shall put this in the Discussion category, since it's still a work in progress, and I wouldn't mind hearing any tips anyone has on quilt repairs!

So, the day after Christmas, I managed to snag TWO antique quilts from some antique shops, for very fantastic prices. Only problem is they have a few issues that need to be dealt with. Nothing too major... mostly split seams and a few holes, so I'm super excited to be able to work on these and then snuggle up with them when it's cold! (I believe in resurrecting an old quilt and restoring it to "active duty".)

So, here are lovely photos! And this was also blogged at my site here.

Wonderful feedsack prints, and a very soft backing. This quilt cost $60.

Closeup of the hole. It goes through all layers, so back, batting, and pinwheel block will have to be repaired.

This quilt was bought for $30 and is completely handsewn.

This is the beautiful backing fabric on the second quilt.

The only spot of damage, not even the size of a silver dollar.

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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2007 09:48:22 AM »

Pinwheel block is one of my faves ... you can do so much with it by varying the size, fabrics and other blocks you pair with it. However, yours is a great example of a vintage quilt. I REALLY like the scrappy borders!

Just an idea, may not work for this quilt because of borders:

A friend had me fix an old family quilt of hers, and the best I could do was take a row of blocks off one side to use the fabrics to repair holes in the centre of the quilt. Luckily it was around 80" square; by removing the row it did not impact the overall look of the quilt and gave me some extra fabric to use to make coordinating throw pillows. I was also able to use the batting from the row I removed to patch in holes in the batt in the centre.

Now looking at your pinwheel, the wheels are not scrappy ... that is, they are four of the same fabric for each block. But because the overall look of the quilt is scrappy, you may be able to find an Aunt Grace or nostalgia fabric that will come close to simulating the look of the fabric you're trying to replace. It won't be a perfect match, but because of the overall scrappy look, many folks won't even notice it. You may want to lightly tea-dye the new fabric to try to match the old. I've been lucky to go to local thrift stores and find old dresses to use the fabric for vintage type quilts.

Or another trick I've seen in a magazine and have used myself:

A quilter finished a lovely scrappy vintage quilt but her 4YO daughter got a hold of scissors and cut some holes in the top. The quilter found a great vintage fabric with butterflies on it, cut out the butterflies, and appliqued the butterflies over the holes, adding a few more to complete an overall look. She went on to win several blue ribbons for this quilt.

I've used this method for a big Lone Star that I sewed some puckers in. I appliqued dragonflies over the puckers (because I like dragonflies better than butterflies) and added additional applique in the corner of the Lone Star to look like a garden. This worked very well, and no one knows about my screw ups under the dragonflies. Plus, I like the look better than just the standard Lone Star. The applique really added character to the block.

Good luck!   Cheesy

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« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2008 06:44:50 AM »

On that last picture, if that spot is in a reasonable place, make a label stating the usual bought quilt info and cover that hole. 

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« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2008 11:35:00 PM »

To repair an old quilt it is best to applique a patch covering the entire scrap of fabric that was worn out.  So if you are repairing one triangle of a pinwheel, just trace the shape, cut out a piece of fabric with the appropriate seam allowance and carefully applique it on.  If the quilt is valuable, this will maintain its value for the most part.  Also, if you need to "age" your fabric, hang it in a sunny window for a couple of weeks-month and it will usually fade a touch.  Not as recommended- you can also put a drop or two of bleach in water and dip the fabric.  sometimes it will fade it just the right amount (thanks martha stewart) but the bleach is harsh on fabrics.  It may be another 50 years before it tears though.  Luckily they make a lot of reproduction fabrics these days and you can get close to matching it. 

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