Friday, May 10, 2019

Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? Vintage Quilt Restoration is DONE!

Hi, all!

Friday!  One of my favorite days of the week!  The weekend is starting, fun times with the grandkids are on the horizon, more time with my hubby - but I get to start it by whooping it up with you guys!  I hope you're ready to get started - let's go!


A while ago, my friend Shea asked if I could take a look at her grandmother's quilt and see if I could repair it.  I told her yes, and we set up a time to meet.  When she brought her quilt over, she told me how her grandmother had made it and it had been well-loved by their family for years.  Well, she was right - it had been VERY well-loved!  It needed lots of repair work...

...but because this was such an important quilt to her, I agreed to see what I could do to stabilize and repair it.

Fortunately, as you can see in some of the pictures above, her grandmother had used a blanket as the batting layer.  That blanket was in pretty good shape, except for a couple of places, and had essentially held the quilt together.  The backing was also in very good shape, with only one small hole.  

The first step was to go over the quilt with a fine-toothed comb.  To that end, I folded the quilt in eighths and examined each section carefully.  I repaired the smaller areas, usually by re-stitching a seam or two, and marked the areas that needed new fabric with a bright post-it note pinned to the area. By the time I had checked over the entire quilt top, it looked like this...

Looks like lots of repair work in my future!  Fortunately, I had a box full of feed sack fabric scraps at hand, so I was able to make replacement patches with fabric of the same age as that in the original quilt.  

If you've ever worked on old quilts, you'll know that the pieces are seldom still the same shape they started out!  Everywhere I needed to replace a piece, I cut one slightly larger and turned the edges under as I hand sewed it into place.  Many many of these and many hours later, and I was happy to say the patching was finished!  

That left the binding.  The original binding was sadly frayed in many spots, so it couldn't stay as it was.  I elected to re-bind the quilt over the original binding, but wanted it to look like the original.  This quilt had been finished by turning the back over the front for binding, so it was rather wide.  I ended up cutting a 4" wide strip of muslin and folding it in half, then machine sewing it to the back of the quilt, matching the raw edge to the edge of the quilt and using a 1/4" seam.  When I turned the folded edge over to the front, it covered the wide original binding.  Then it was time for hand-sewing the binding down!  I haven't done that on a whole quilt in a long time, and it seemed like it took forever, but I finally finished it on Thursday in time to get some good pictures!

I'm really pleased to see that the patches I added don't stick out visually...

...probably because of this quilt's rather random arrangement!

This picture makes me think of the scene in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" when all the brides are dressed in winter skirts made of old quilts!

See what I mean about random?  But I see at least four patches that I replaced in the section above...

And it looks like it's holding together well - so much better than when I first received it!

Here you can see the new binding - I think it turned out well!

And the back of the binding turned out well, too!

I kind of like that you can see the blanket through the backing!

And I found one tiny hole on the back, about the size of the tip fo my pinkie, so I figured a little muslin heart appliquéd over it would add a little whimsy!  

So what did I learn throughout this process?  It pays to have feed sack scraps on hand.  I was lucky enough to find a truly ugly feed sack quilt top at a yard sale, made with very large pieces of fabric so I had some good stuff to work with.  I also used quilting thread, the kind that feels stiff and sort of waxy, to do all the hand stitching.  It worked well, didn't tangle as I stitched, and is very strong.  And I was careful to keep track of my time as I worked!  I actually spent more time than I would have anticipated repairing this quilt, so if you are repairing one for pay, you need to do that.

And here's one more whoop whoop worthy photo for the day...

All that yard work is paying off!  Look at my pretty pots of day lilies!  I'm not very good at growing things, so it's always a whoop-worthy moment when I keep something alive....

So - - - can I get a whoop whoop?


And now it's your turn!

What's got you whooping it up this week?

What's making you do a little happy dance this week?

Share!  We want to dance right along with you,

And it's always more fun to dance with friends!

The party will stay open until Sunday midnight.

Hope to see you there!




  1. You did a great job repairing your friend's quilt. Happy Stitching!

  2. Nice work!! I generally pass on repair work.

  3. What a monumental task in repairing this quilt - but you did this beautifully. Love how it will not just be a memory, but a treasure to snuggle under again. I have two from my mom that I washed and set aside, till I figure out how to repair them.

  4. As one who has repaired a lot of old quilts, I understand completely the work and effort that went into this project. Great job!!

  5. I have repaired two old quilts for sister in laws so didn't charge time but it did take awhile for sure!

  6. I'll say! That repair job is amazing--well done!

  7. Sarah, you did an admirable job on that restoration! I'm sorry- I'm trying to link up while on vacation, but that laughing gas quilt went awry. I'd take it down if I could, but can't figure out how to. My apologies.

  8. I love the Muslim heart on the back — a sweet touch!

  9. You did a beautiful job! Thanks for sharing this beautiful vintage quilt along with your repair process.

  10. You did a great job! I especially love the appliqued heart on the back <3 Thanks for sharing and for the linky party opportunity. MelvaLovesScraps(at)NolanQualityCustoms(dot)com

  11. Hi Sarah, what loving work you did! It looks great. Thanks for sharing your process with us. I hope that I never have to actually do something like that, but I now I'll know where to go!

  12. I’ve collected a lot of vintage and antique quilts. You did an excellent job with the repairs and they seem to be perfectly joined. I’m sure I never would’ve undertaken that type of repair except for some really special reason. Well done!

  13. Wow, what an amazing job you did repairing that beautiful old quilt!
    Kathleen, kakingsbury at verizon dot net

  14. Great job and pretty flowers! You sound like me. I can put a stick (live that should turn into a plant) in the ground and a year later, it's still a stick! I did not inherit my family's green thumb! LOL

  15. You did a great job making virtually invisible repairs! I'm sure your friend will be thrilled. Did you have to re-quilt it as well?

  16. Nice repair job. I love to use the hand quilting thread for stitching binding, etc. It's much easier to use than regular thread (and comes in lots of colors, too).


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