How To Restore Well Loved Quilts

Posted by Judy Taylor on

If you are like me, your quilts are well loved and well used.  Sometimes you need to make repairs to those well loved quilts.  Let's take a look at a few ways to repair and restore older quilts.  And let me start off by saying, I don't care how filthy the quilt may be.....make the repairs before you wash the quilt.  If it has a strong odor, spray it with Fabreeze to help soften the odor while you are making repairs.



#1--Repair Loose Seams – Turn under the seam allowances and hand stitch the folded edges together using an invisible stitch.  For instructions on how to do the invisible stitch, go to




2--Repair Torn Fabric by using a fusible bonding agent.  Just cut a small piece of fusible bonding and place it inside the tear with the bumpy side up, pull the tear together and iron it to bond the hole shut.



#3--Replace the Fabric – Patches that are shredding can be covered with new fabric   Make a paper template of each sized piece you'll be patching using a piece of plain paper. 



Take your real-size paper template and lay it out on a new piece of paper and add the seam allowance (I use 5/8"). This will be the template for the patches.  Cut as many as you need



Using your seam allowance paper template layered under a single patch, fold the fabric down to the original sized piece line on the template and iron. Repeat for all sides. Using steam, the paper will curl, but not burn. Repeat for all patches. Trim off the "tails" on the diagonal edge.



Affix the patch to the torn spot on the quilt with pins, and top-stitch it in place or use embroidery to attach it any way you like.



#4--Applique a Patch – Tears and shredded fabric can be covered with hand or machine appliqued patches.  Try to select an applique that will match the pattern of the quilt.  Like maybe a heart patch for a little girl quilt, or a truck patch for a little boy quilt.  Or maybe this nice floral stem patch on an old Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt.



#5--Resize the Quilt – If a corner is badly damaged you may need to cut the quilt down so that only the good part remains. Save any usable fabric for patches and other repairs. 



#6--Reproduce the Quilt – If all else fails, consider reproducing the quilt. While you probably won’t find the same fabric, it’s likely that you can recreate the look and feel with new fabric.



So don't throw away those well loved quilts.  It just takes a little imagination, a little patience, and a little love to restore them.


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