I was asked through facebook if I could repair a tear in an old family quilt. I agreed to look at the quilt that was made in Alabama by the woman's great grandma. The top consisted of all flannels and the back and border was a soft cotton. When I saw the quilt in person,I quickly realized that there was much more than a tear to repair, in fact the "tear" was actually the result of deteriorating fabric. All the flannels that were Not plaid, had this problem, but the majority of the bad rectangles resided towards the middle of the quilt.
Closeup of the fabric...this was all intact.
The original "tear" that needed fixing...
More examples of the condition of the fabric...
She did not want to put this away as a display piece, she wanted to continue to use it at the foot of her bed. I decided the best way to preserve the quilt was to hand applique new flannel rectangles over the existing ones. Thus, keeping the original quilt intact but also preserving and protecting it. I couldn't find flannels that matched, so she told me to use what I could find and she provided a red flannel shirt and an old sheet(which I used). In the end, I appliqued 64 new rectangles on. More will need to be done in the future and there is a section of the border that will eventually need to be addressed but for now, the quilt is usable, and she was very happy with it.
Here is the quilt with the new patches on it.
I printed her a paper with a picture of the original quilt and a picture of the repaired quilt on it. I wrote what I had done to the quilt and left her space to write down the history of the quilt. I told her to tuck away somewhere so that her grandchildren would then know what this family heirloom was. As is turns out, she has several family quilts(lucky woman!), but none was in as rough shape as this one was.
I enjoyed being able to help save this old quilt that someone made so many years ago.
Enjoy your day,