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Topic: restoring/repairing vintage quilts?  (Read 1467 times)
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« on: August 18, 2005 08:06:44 AM »

I was recently given 2 quilts which are hexagon flower quilts (which I call Grandmother's flower garden)   The quilts themselves are almost 100 years old.  They were made for twin boys who were born in 1904.  The outside of the quilts look ok for being almost 100, the inside portion of the quilt has suffered.  Mainly sun damage from lying near a window on a bed, then an accidental washing to an already delicate quilt.  The hexagons near the center are practically non existant.

I wonder if I should try and restore them, or simply fold them so the outside blocks are showing and just hang them on my quilt racks.  I've never restored a hexagon quilt and not sure if it was paper pieced or what. 

This is quilt 1: green solid hexagons

quilt 2: blue solid hexagons

example of good blocks:

example of a shredded block:

Part of me wants to leave them exactly as they are...  I just don't want them to deteriorate further.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

« Last Edit: November 30, 2008 10:03:13 AM by jungrrl - Reason: fixed pictures » THIS ROCKS   Logged
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2005 09:12:49 AM »

sorry I can't help you but they really are beautiful for being 100 years old! Good luck with what you decide!

employed = hardly any time to sew :-(
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2005 05:49:44 PM »

Yeah those are grandmother's flower garden quilts alright. With the amount of work that goes into english paper piecing, anyone would want to save them.

Do you have a museum with a textile department nearby? I would see if I could get advice from a professional textile conservator for these-or at the very least check your library to see if there are any good books about this. I know that doesn't sound all that helpful, but I have heard horror stories about people trying to 'fix' an old quilt and damaging it further, sometimes even ruining it.
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2005 09:21:43 AM »

Waiting for my job interview the other day i was reading a marth stewart magazine
and it had instructions for repairing old quitls. I didn't read it,  i was just leafing through
and i didn't look at what month it was for but it was probably fairly recent. if you could
find it that would help.
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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2005 09:44:29 AM »

I'd like some advice too...I have several quilts that are in bad shape (same fraying in the hex pattern). I use the regularly (they're not as old, more like 50 years)...so...To repair or not to repair?

If you're just going to display yours, I would say leave them like they are.

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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2008 09:31:41 AM »

I have a quilt that my aunt made me when I was a little girl.  I've given it to my older daughter and she loves it (it is pink and lavender and was made in like 1981) It is still pretty much in tact, but the batting has worn so thin that it isn't warm anymore.  It was tied (not quilted) so I think I can take it apart and just put in new batting and rebind. 

But my question is, some of the patchwork seams have frayed, and where they have frayed it is pretty fragile - what do you think the best way to fix these seams are?  It is all made with 4" squares so I can't pull in too much, otherwise it will ruin the pattern.  Should I patch over them?  Try darning? 

Any advice is welcome.  Thanks!
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2008 10:53:28 AM »

One of the ways my mom has done it, if she's going to be pulling the top off, is to applique over the "thin" spots with something thematically similar, or suitable to the person (In my case, it was butterflies, but whatever will work.) - It protects the thin spots and acts most like a patch, albeit a much, much prettier one, without actually having to pull the seams apart. My own experience is to try for fabric, as well, that is of a very similar style to the quilt itself.
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