TLC tips for older quilts

August 26, 2014

If you’re trying to save an older quilt from the cutting pile, these tips from well-known quilters may help you extend the life of your special treasure:

  • If the binding on an antique quilt is wearing thin, try to darn the exterior deteriorated areas carefully with matching thread rather than to apply a new binding to the entire quilt. Think about placing a piece of bridal veiling over a damaged patch and couching it down with matching thread. –Lynn Lewis Young
  • Sometimes replacing a damaged patch in an older quilt is difficult when the fabric has faded. To simulate the look of age in a new fabric, try using the wrong side of the fabric, which will appear more muted than the right side. You can also fade new fabrics by placing them in a sunny window for several days to make them match the look of an old quilt.
  • If you quilt is valuable, consider sending it to a conservator for cleaning instead of laundering it yourself. You can contact a museum with a good quilt collection to find a conservator near you, or consult the museum’s textile department. — Nancy J. Martin