From My Carolina Home

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Well Loved Quilt Repair – Purple Sunbonnet Sue

Recently I finished up another hand repair of a well-loved quilt.  I really enjoy doing this, and love having people bring me these quilts.  This was Donna’s daughter’s quilt when she was a baby, and now the daughter was becoming a mother.  Donna wanted the quilt repaired so that her new grand-baby could cuddle with it too.  There were several larger tears in this vintage quilt, including this one that was just not going to take kindly to being repaired.  This tear was in four directions from a center hole.

Well Love Quilt Repair at From My Carolina Home

So, I had to get a bit creative this time. I ironed down the tears with a bit of very light fusible web just to hold them in place. Then, I made a yo-yo from a pink print to make a flower applique large enough to go over the entire area of damage. I pinned it into place with a dark purple center to go with the dress on the Sunbonnet Sue main appliqué.

Well Love Quilt Repair at From My Carolina Home

I stitched both down by hand.

Well Love Quilt Repair at From My Carolina Home

But, that dark center kept drawing my eye to it, when I wanted it to just be an accent to the main motif. So, I frogged off the dark purple and replaced it with a lighter purple, fussy cut flower.

Well Love Quilt Repair at From My Carolina Home

Around the main appliqué, some hand stitching was needed to close up the gaps and small tears.

Well Love Quilt Repair at From My Carolina Home

After using a light fusible web on the longer tear in the background here, there was enough extra bulk in the background to make hand stitching with an over-whip possible.  Because the quilt is tied and not quilted, there was fabric to move around a bit.

Well Love Quilt Repair at From My Carolina Home

You can see the seam here, but that is better than a tear, and should hold up to at least moderate use.

Well Love Quilt Repair at From My Carolina Home

A few more stitches around the appliqué and that part was done.

Well Love Quilt Repair at From My Carolina Home

The pink border was pulling up from the white background in spots, so all those areas were hand stitched back in place.  All done, and didn’t take that long.  I finished the repairs in about 3 hours.  Now the little flower appliqué is a cute accent and the focus is the Sunbonnet Sue.

Well Love Quilt Repair at From My Carolina Home

I had to applaud her for wanting to pass on such a piece of living memory. For me, this is the true measure of how much a quilt is valued, to be worn out and repaired to wear out again. This has to be the highest complement any quilter can get!

If you are local and have a well loved quilt needing repair, my rates are very reasonable, and are charged by the hour.  I am also willing to do quilts mailed in, if you are willing to pay the postage both ways.  Just send me an email at frommycarolinahome at gmail dot com and let me know what you need.  You can see more of my repair work on my Carolina Mountain Longarm Association page – Carole’s Quilts.  Also, I have done posts on how I do repairs which you can read about in Repairing an Old Damaged Quilt and in Applique Quilt Repair if you would like some tips on repairing your own quilts.

Do you have a well loved fabric memory?

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27 Comments

Repairing an Old Damaged Quilt

One of the things I do is repair well-loved quilts that no one else will touch. Most of the time, someone that is truly using a quilt will not care that it isn’t museum quality, they just want the worst of the damage repaired.   But many quilters won’t touch these, believing they are too damaged to be repaired.  In my experience, these quilt owners just want to be able to keep using a family treasure.  Such was the case with this quilt, brought to me by a lovely lady named Stephanie. She loved to wrap up in this quilt, lay on top of it with her kids and the dogs while watching TV, and in general using it the way we all hope our quilt gifts will be used. But, years of use has resulted in some severe damage, popped seams, worn areas and frayed edges.

Antique Quilt Repair ~ From My Carolina Home

The worst damage was on and adjacent to the binding.

Antique Quilt Repair ~ From My Carolina Home

Fabric was disintegrating and pulling away from the seams all along the striped binding from the stress of use.

Antique Quilt Repair ~ From My Carolina Home

Plus the corners which get a lot of handling were wearing away.

Antique Quilt Repair ~ From My Carolina Home

My best advice was to remove the binding plus a couple of inches where the worst damage was occurring, then use this fabric to repair the center of the quilt.

Antique Quilt Repair ~ From My Carolina Home

Some spots like this one were in a straight line with plenty of fabric left.

Antique Quilt Repair ~ From My Carolina Home

Those could be resewn with a satin stitch in matching color thread.

Antique Quilt Repair ~ From My Carolina Home

But most of the tears and worn places were larger or L-shaped.

Antique Quilt Repair ~ From My Carolina Home

These did not have enough fabric left to cover the defects, so patches were made from the fabric cut off. The edges of the patch were turned under, matched to the patchwork as best as I could, then topstitched on.

Antique Quilt Repair ~ From My Carolina Home

Antique Quilt Repair ~ From My Carolina Home

Having a bit of every fabric helped, and sometimes I pieced two together to match up a patch.

Antique Quilt Repair ~ From My Carolina Home

At a distance, the repairs are not obvious. I was pleased with that result.

Antique Quilt Repair ~ From My Carolina Home

I found this fabric for her to put on new binding, and offered to tea dye it to dull it down a bit, but Stephanie said her curtains were close to this so she wanted it left the way it was. It does echo a red and cream print in the quilt, but the white background is a bit startling. Still, she thought it was fine, so I went with it.

Antique Quilt Repair ~ From My Carolina Home

I made it very wide, to mimic the one I cut off, and give her plenty of new fabric to take the stress of handling.

Antique Quilt Repair ~ From My Carolina Home

All done, and when she picked it up she seemed very pleased.  I did give her some advice on using it in the future, to only use it for display and not to lie on top of it as the fabrics were disintegrating and wouldn’t hold up to such heavy use.

Antique Quilt Repair ~ From My Carolina Home

I believe she said it was her grandmother’s quilt, so likely this treasure is many, many years old. All in all, though, I think the repairs are enough to keep it going for a few more years, if she is careful.

Antique Quilt Repair ~ From My Carolina Home

Do you have any well-loved quilts?

If you need a well loved quilt repaired, I am happy to work with you. I do take mailed in quilts and would discuss the particulars with you before beginning any work.  Please contact me at frommycarolinahome (at) gmail (dot) com, or see my page on the Carolina Mountain Longarm Association website – Carole’s Quilts.

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