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Forum > Quilters' Corner > Using fragile vintage blocks ( Moderated by Sharon1952)

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Using fragile vintage blocks
muslin is tearing
Billylynnb
Billylynnb
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Date: 7/25/14 8:09 PM

I want to make a quilt from a set of 9 blocks that were made by my grandmother. The body of the blocks is muslin, 11 1/2 " x 9 1/2", and they are each embroidered and appliqued with a different animal.

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38 years ago when I was expecting my first child, mom gave me the unfinished blocks. At that time I framed each block to use as wall deco and years later they were removed from the frames and stored in a box. Soaking in Biz, Dawn, and water has removed the yellowing and stains (including the pencil and blue marker my youngest added ). Unfortunately the muslin has small tears and appears pretty fragile where it had been folded years ago. I need to do something to support the muslin but am concerned that I will regret trying to back them with fusible interfacing. Do you think I would be okay with using a fusible only along the stitching lines to prevent future tearing?

-- Edited on Today at 8:11 PM --
Sharon1952
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In reply to Billylynnb
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Date: 7/25/14 8:26 PM

Don't want to be a downer but you have to accept the fact that it will not be a serviceable quilt and probably won't be a quilt at all unless you fuse something to them. Age and sunlight and folding all break down fibers. You might consider making the unembroidered part as small as possible on the perimeters.

I inherited some squares and spent lots of time turning them into a quilt that didn't survive a year. Some fabrics are just too delicate to be used. I hope yours aren't.

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Sewing: A creative mess is better than tidy idleness. ~Author Unknown

Billylynnb
Billylynnb
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In reply to Sharon1952

Date: 7/25/14 9:03 PM

Not a downer - just a realist :). I wanted to make a quilt from the blocks because, well, grandma meant them to be used. Planned on giving it to my youngest (the pencil and marker artist) as I know she will appreciate and care for it. Any suggestions for a lightweight fusible?
sings2high
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Date: 7/25/14 9:54 PM

Here's an article on using old quilt blocks in a new quilt: http://quiltbug.com/articles/newlywed.htm

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Billylynnb
Billylynnb
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In reply to sings2high

Date: 7/25/14 10:27 PM

Perfect. Thank you so much for the link and what a great site! I bookmarked it so I can browse the other articles later.
The recommendation is to use an iron on stabilizer and I will stitch inside the folded areas where the fabric is stronger. Mom will be so pleased to see these old quilt blocks and tops (oh, there's more lol) finished into the quilts they were meant to be even if they are only for display.
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Date: 7/27/14 2:32 AM

My MIL has a small quilt or portion of a quilt wall hanging that is very old and the fabric has multiple tears in it. It was preserved by placing either tulle or organza over the top (and possibly the back...not sure) and lightly stitched through the quilt. This prevents any more tearing of the delicate fabric, but the quilt design and colors are still visible through the tulle or organza...it just makes the original quilt have a sort of dreamy defused look and is very attractive. Maybe something like this would work for your quilt blocks.

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Tina
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Billylynnb
Billylynnb
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In reply to TGWGWS

Date: 7/27/14 11:33 AM

Thank you for the idea! When going thru my bin of interfacings I saw the yard of silk organza I had. An option would be to baste that to the backs of each of the blocks. My thought is the silk would provide support at the stitching lines while allowing me to keep the blocks as original as possible. The blocks survived their soaking and are dried. No running or loss of color on the appliqués or embroidery and the muslin is brighter.
Annie- oh
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In reply to TGWGWS

Date: 7/27/14 11:57 AM

Yes, the quilt from my grandmother, hand pieced from scraps of dresses and apron I remember her wearing...

I covered just the worn pieces with tulle and hand sewed the tulle into the seam lines. And got to touch those dress and apron fabrics, and remember my grandmother all over again when I did it.

Billylynnb, you will love your grandmother's quilt with the care and attention you are giving to those fragile and lovely squares.
-- Edited on Today at 11:58 AM --
-- Edited on Today at 12:02 PM --

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