Friday, July 27, 2012

What to do with an old quilt?

Many years ago my sister returned from a holiday to country NSW with a present for me. Knowing I was a quilter she couldn't walk past an old tatty quilt in a back room of an Antique shop. It was dirty and stained and torn but for twenty dollars she thought she would purchase it to for me just in case I saw some worth in it!

 A torn corner
Ink stains

Tatty edge

Stained edge

Well I love this old quilt but what does one do with such a thing? It's 88" X 96" (225cm X 245 cm) and it's not hard to tell it is really old! I am guessing 150 years old. It is a beautifully handquilted wholecloth and the stitches are so small and neat.
Can you see how many stitches to the inch?
No binding, just turned under edges

Two pattered fabrics are joined for a backing and show deterioration where the patterns are printed
  The design is 'Medallion-like' with three borders around a central rectangle. The design elements are lovely and though not complex are not simple either. A traditional feathered oval surrounds the central six petalled flower with 1/2" diagonal lines behind them.
Central flower and feathered oval

First border, a vine and leaves and swirls

Second border, diagonal squares

Third border, vine and leaves

 Any ideas on what I could do with this treasure of mine will be gratefully accepted!


  1. It would be great as the back to a couple body pillow covers. You could do something quilty for the front side and then this would be your great backing (washed and soaked in a vintage re-store soap of course).

  2. Hi Penny! I have only just found this post...I wouldn't do anything "crafty" with this lovely, lovely treasure, certainly not cut it up and re-use it, it really is too beautiful and precious. One school of quilt repair says any repair should be able to be perhaps a careful repair of the rips by hand apliqueing a similar muslin on both sides to stabilise? A soak in the bath to remove the worst of the stains will bring it back to life...gentle squeeze to remove much of the water then spin in the machine - lay it out flat on a sheet (or a trampoline!)in the sun to dry. Good luck, whatever you chose to do or not do.
    all the best, k

    1. Thanks for your idea's Kate. I agree this old treasure needs to be washed. I will have to wait for the perfect day to do this!

  3. The hand quilting is fab! Great find. I hope you get to enjoy it for years to come