Quilt Restoration Complete

It was a big push to finish before I start Teacher Work Days.  Once school starts intense projects are much harder.

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This quilt was made for JoAnne by her mother Florence about 1976.  You can tell that Florence was resourceful.  She used the fabric she had.

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Every block needed some repair, and that was how I approached it:  One block at a time.  You can read more about some specific repair techniques HERE and HERE.

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Since the one-block-at-a-time system seemed to be working so well, I quilted it the same way–A meander-stipple around the birds in each block.  My freehand quilting is not great, but it disappears into most of the fabrics and, hopefully, no one will look at the back too much.

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Speaking of the back, it is a white piece of wide-back flannel (prewashed) that I hope will mimic the feel of the fleece when it was new and stabilize the overall structure of the quilt.

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The wide binding was not in good shape, but couldn’t be removed without danger, so I put a narrower binding over it.  The wavy nature of the quilt made it hard to achieve a uniform look, but I hope the original binding peeking out preserves both the quilt and the memories.

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So, it is complete and should be back to its owner within a week.

Here are before-during-after shots.  What an interesting experience this has been.

Quilt Restoration: Block Style 2

The entire quilt was a bit of doozy…30 of 30 blocks needing help.

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For insight on how I fixed blocks with ruined backgrounds, see HERE.

Today I am sharing one way to fix a damaged applique.  I am not pretending this is a great way, but this block needed two different techniques. So it seemed a good example.

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A previous repair had stitched netting over the damaged fabric.  I suspect much of the damage on this block, and a number of other places on the quilt, was due to a combination of different shrinkage after washing and very light quilting.

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So I removed the netting and cleaned up the frayed fabric so I could see what was going on.

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The small frayed area at the bottom could be sort of darned using matching threads.  the larger torn area needed matching fabric.

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I stitched the bottom area first (no good picture, sorry) and then a line on the matching fabric right where the stripe color changed.  Fortunately, not in the way of the eye.

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You can see the darning repair in this picture.  Once I attached the matching fabric I pressed it open and trimmed it just outside the zigzag edge.  Then I turned in under and stitched it down like turned edge applique.

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And finished it off with a matching zig-zag stitch as close to the original as I could.  Whew!  From a distance and on a galloping horse, it doesn’t look too bad.

Quilt Restoration: Block Style 1

The quilt has 30 blocks, and not a single one didn’t need something.  Some were fairly simple, just restitching the ric-rack or mending a small hole, but a few were much more involved.DSC01995

There is no batting, exactly, in the quilt.  Rather, a recycled, lightweight fleece served as both batting and backing.  There was also essentially no quilting.  Just some stitch-in-the-ditch at the sashing and between the blocks.  The blocks themselves are roughly 13″ x 14″. You can guess some of the problems that causes.

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This block, and two similar to it, had ruined backgrounds.  The birds were in pretty good shape, but…

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First, to expose the entire problem, the netting applied as mending needed to be removed.

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The fabric that hadn’t already torn was so fragile that saving it with some kind of backing wasn’t an option. I found a near-matching piece of fabric as a new background and cut it around an inch larger than the existing block.  Pins mark the position of the bird as it was placed on the block.

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I cut  the applique bird out of the existing background, leaving some extra around the edges where possible.

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I ironed the extra towards the back.

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And re-appliqued it onto the new near-matching background.

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Now, to fit the block into the hole, which is no longer a true rectangle, or any particular shape.  Lots of pins.  And blind stitching the edges into the hole.

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In the end I believe the new block doesn’t stand out too much as “new.”  Hopefully the owner will see the memory of what once was and not be too taken aback by the changes.

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One more look at “before” and “after” side by side.

Believable?