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Forum > Quilters' Corner > Making a quilt from 75-year-old blocks ( Moderated by Sharon1952)

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Making a quilt from 75-year-old blocks
Invisigal
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Date: 10/17/11 11:03 PM

I am new at quilting, having almost finished my first quilt and never having taken a quilting class, etc. I have 10 large quilt squares made by my grandmother in approximately 1935. They are large, about 18 inches, appliqued butterflies on not-so-great quality domestic. I've finally gotten around to trying to do something with them. They are not mildewed, but are stained, so I plan to soak them in Oxyclean and hang to dry.

Is there anything else I should be aware of, try to avoid, etc. when working with this fabric? I haven't quite decided what to do about the number of 10 dilemma -- if only there were 12. Any tips would be appreciated.

Cathy Loves Fabric
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In reply to Invisigal


Date: 10/18/11 2:59 AM

That fabric is old and older than 1935 because it propably had been scraps aging at your grandmother's house before it was a quilt. Most recommendations for old quilts are for a very gentle wash tub wash with detergent made for delicate fabrics. I'm a risk-taker and have used the gentle cycle AFTER I reinforce loose stitches. Soaking the whole block in Oxyclean would not be recommended. You could try spot cleaning one of the blocks gently to see if the stains will come out. I restored an old quilt for my sister and covered the stains by tracing over the stained quilt peices; adding a 1/4 seam allowance and and hand appliquing a new quilt piece over the stained quilt peice. No one can look at the quilt and find the peices I fixed. They just blend right in! You can use clean vintage fabric or reproduction fabric. Of course, it's easier to do if your quilt is patchwork.

I hope you have fun bringing your grandmother's quilt to life.

Article on Vintage Quilt Repair
-- Edited on 10/18/11 3:05 AM --

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My hope is to sew to the very end. They'll find my head slumped over my precious Kenmore 19606 and have to pry the seam ripper from my cold, dead hands.

Invisigal
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In reply to Cathy Loves Fabric


Date: 10/18/11 8:32 AM

Quote: Cathy Loves Fabric
That fabric is old and older than 1935 because it propably had been scraps aging at your grandmother's house before it was a quilt. .....
I hope you have fun bringing your grandmother's quilt to life.

I hadn't thought of that, but you're probably right. I was only thinking of the fabric onto which the appliques were sewn. Since I don't want to take the time to reinforce the hand-applique, I think I will wash by hand. I lost this grandmother when I was only 6, so my memories of her are vague, but sweet. It will be of great sentimental value and I can't wait to show it to the other grandchildren when it's finished.

Thanks so much for your reply.
KathySews
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Date: 10/18/11 8:43 AM

go slow, take your time. experiment cleaning one before you do all of them. I think your plan is fantastic, better to use them than leave them shut off in a drawer.

Another thought is individual wall size quilt hangings with a block as a centerpiece if the quilt doesn't work out

Invisigal
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Date: 10/18/11 4:09 PM

Kathysews, thanks for your suggestions and comments. I am excited about getting something done with these blocks and I will work with one square before risking all of them.

auntie bellums
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Date: 10/18/11 5:53 PM

I have a friend that has an antique shop and when I asked her about laundering older quilts she said first step is Orvis and then if all else fails Cascade dishwaser soap.

I did as she said and was surprised that on the quilts that had severe staining the Cascade took it out when everything else failed and the fabric remained strong and bright.

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It's not your mamma's sewing.....It's your great grandmamma's

Invisigal
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Date: 10/18/11 7:45 PM

Thanks for that tip about the Cascade. I will keep that in mind!

goodworks1
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Date: 10/18/11 8:32 PM

You could just pick the best 9 blocks and make a square quilt. Put the extra one on the back...or on a pillow.

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Maia B
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Date: 10/19/11 0:35 AM

Use your least favorite or worst condition block for your tests. As for 10 blocks, they'll go nicely in three columns: 3, 4, 3. Either on point or staggered, with or without sashing. Or with 10 alternating plain or pieced blocks for a total of 20- 4x5. Or two quilts each with five of your grandmother's blocks plus 4 alternate blocks, in order to have two keepsakes. Good luck!

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🌸 Plenty of machines, mostly Berninas 🌸

Invisigal
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Date: 10/19/11 8:18 AM

Thanks for all of these suggestions for things I hadn't thought of. Decisions, decisions.....

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