Vintage Quilt Repair, Part 1

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10 comments » Behind the Scenes, embroidery, Personal Stories

The sewists and quilters in my family have always been practical women: The mentality of “Make things you can use or wear, or don’t make them at all!” is pretty close to the mantra they all held and hold…one I also carry with me.

I swear I'm only 5'2"

I swear I’m only 5’2″

This quilt my great grandma made was and still is no exception to that mentality! It’s actually unclear when exactly she made it, but I do know my dad received it from her when he was quite young and I inherited it this year. I also know it’s much older than me by at least 10 years and I’m 29. I can remember countless moments growing up when I would lug it out of the closet to wrap up in or pulling it off my parents’ bed in the wintertime.

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Our schnauzer Riley likes to be involved!

 As you can see, it’s a scrappy log cabin quilt tied to finish made with all sorts of different fabrics in true scrappy fashion, with a fair amount of hand stitching.

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Herringbone embroidery and a sailboat!

The backing is the most luxurious blue velvet, I can’t believe how soft it still is after at least 40 years. Due to the fabrics used, it has an amazing weight to it that you can’t help but want to cozy up with.

I just adore so many of the fabric choices found in the panels:

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But all the cozying and wallowing is bound to take its toll on any sewn item, let alone a supple queen sized quilt.

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Since most of the disrepair is panels themselves getting threadbare, I have more options than if entire panels just came off (which actually is the case with another even older quilt from when my dad was a child.)

I could replace the panels with new fabrics, probably with some nice hand-stitching… deciding the fabrics would be quite daunting in and of itself!

But, I could also mock up some era-appropriate embroidery to simultaneously mend and embellish this quilt.

I could also do a combination of both concepts with or without appliqué.

So many choices!

Stay tuned for my next installment where I discuss the designs and decisions I will have made by then.


10 responses to “Vintage Quilt Repair, Part 1”

  1. Sandra Says:
    06/16/2014 7:54 pm

    I’m really excited to see what you do. My husband inherited a quilt from his grandmother that’s absolutely gorgeous with beautiful stitching. Although no one knows why she turned one square the wrong way in each pattern. I’ve sewn for years, but when it comes to quilts I’m just starting out. So I’m open to the fact I may yet have more sewing tricks to learn.

    Reply
    • Dawn Says:
      06/17/2014 5:38 pm

      I’m excited too! Maybe your husband’s grandmother used the one “wrong” square as her own signature of sorts? I’ve sewn for years too, but am just starting to dip my toes in the quilting pool. :-)

      Reply
  2. Poppy Says:
    06/17/2014 8:05 am

    i love this post! I can’t wait to see what you do with this vintage quilt.

    Reply
    • Bev Says:
      06/25/2014 6:48 pm

      Me, too! I have one I’ve been too afraid to touch of my grandmothers, made in the 30′s.

      Reply
  3. Ann Says:
    06/17/2014 8:15 am

    What a great family treasure with so many memories and interesting old fabrics. It will be interesting to see how you repair it. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Dawn Says:
      06/17/2014 5:39 pm

      Thank you Ann! I hope to come up with something fun that honors and adds to it. I might have to bring it in the office to absorb some quilting energy, it’s not too delicate to lug around. :-)

      Reply
  4. Teri Says:
    06/17/2014 8:34 am

    What an awesome quilt, I can’t wait to see what you do!

    Reply
    • Dawn Says:
      06/17/2014 5:50 pm

      Thanks Teri! I can’t wait either, so many options! Like I said to Ann, I may have to bring it in to the office to let it absorb some quilting energy before I make any decisions. :-)

      Reply
  5. Jodi Cramer Says:
    06/21/2014 5:59 pm

    I too have vintage quilts handed down from my family. I was told by an appraiser that repairing a vintage quilt with modern materials will result in the loss of its antique value. Have you heard anything like that?

    Reply
  6. Joleen Says:
    07/02/2014 3:40 pm

    Thanks for sharing your quilt. I am amazed that I actually recognize at least one of the fabrics you showed. My mother had used that in a quilt – the piece with blue background with white polkadots and yellow background and flowers (in the second picture of fabric panels above) Thanks for the memories!

    Reply

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