Sunday, November 1, 2015

Old Quilts New Life!

Hi, all!

Recently, Sarah Fielke was looking for people to help promote her new book, Old Quilts New Life, and of course, I volunteered!  I was all ready to do a book review, but when she sent more information, I found out that it was going to be much more interesting than that - she wants to flood social media with pictures of antique quilts on the day of her book release!  Such a cool idea, and since it meant looking at pictures of antique quilts trying to find just the right one, what fun!  

But I couldn't find just the right quilt to feature - I wanted to show the quilt my great grandmother made for me when I was born, but it wasn't quite old enough to fit Sarah Fielke's criteria.  Then I remembered this quilt which I repaired for a friend....

Based on the signatures on this quilt, I think it's safe to say that it dates from 1938.

This quilt was in really terrible shape when it came into my hands.   

As you can see, the fabric on many of the stars had completely disintegrated...

And there was even a hunk of border missing in one spot.

When I started looking at the possibility of repairing this quilt, I despaired of being able to succeed. The quilt was so old that the star pieces weren't precisely the same size or shape any more.  My original plan to create new stars whole and appliqué them over the shredded stars was not going to work.  

But then I tried sewing the pieces directly onto the quilt, matching the original seam lines and leaving room to turn the outer and inner edges under when it was all sewn down.

After turning the edges under, I topstitched them down, completely covering the original stars.  For the fabric to replace the worn stars, I used feed sack fabric from a truly ugly quilt top I found in an estate sale, which fortunately had large enough blocks of solid feed sack to cut all the pieces needed.  For the missing piece of border, I tea-dyed muslin until I got the color as close as possible, replaced the batting and stitched on the patch.  It isn't invisible, but at least it is usable.

 And now this beautiful old quilt, bearing the signatures of so many women who worked on it, has been restored so it can be loved by many more generations.  My friend gave it to his sister, who loved it as a child and now can enjoy it with her children and grandchildren for many years to come!


I love the idea behind Sarah Fielke's book, being inspired by old quilts that were made by the generations before us.  I hope you'll check out her book and be inspired too!

And if you have an old quilt you'd like to share and join in the fun of Sarah's book launch, you can post on Instagram using the tag @sfielke and the hashtags #oldquiltsnewlife #newbook2015 #sarahfielke.  On Facebook, tag Sarah Fielke and use the same hashtags.  On either platform, Sarah has asked the following:  

"Please say something along the lines that you are participating in the book launch, this is your favorite/one of your favorites antique quilt, and the hashtags. If you want to go further and say why you like the quilt, how old it is, where it's from, how you feel it is relevant etc. then knock yourself out!  I think people will find it so interesting to see so many old quilts in one place and see why they were chosen, how old they are etc. Please also feel free to add the link to buy the book ( but that is by no means is that a requirement."

I hope you'll join in the fun, or at the very least check out all the beautiful old quilts that are going to be on display!



By the way, you can find Sarah Fielke on her blog (The Last Piece) or on her website (Sarah Fielke).


  1. I bet this book is amazing. I love old quilts and traditional patterns. I have two very old quilts hanging in my house.

  2. You did a brilliant job at repair..I am impressed

  3. What a great job you did! I wouldn't even know where to start! Kudos to you!

  4. You did a great job! I would have been way too afraid to even try repairing it.

  5. You did a great job on restoring that quilt. It has many more years of functional life now. How wonderful to keep an old quilt in good repair.

  6. Sarah...I had missed this post and am so inspired by it. Thanks for rejuvinating it at Tuesday Archives this was the perfect post for are Antique Quilt theme...I hope more people stop by and read this. :)


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