How can I save this disintegrating quilt?
July 7, 2013 6:44 PM   Subscribe

We have an old quilt with sentimental value that needs some serious help.

The quilt has been used by several generations of my partner's family, and has moved from "threadbare" to "disintegrating".

We'd like to have someone that knows what they're doing save the parts of it that can be saved, and hopefully add some fabric from our and our kids' old clothes to link us to it and (hopefully) send it along with their generation. Looking for recommendations of people / services that do work like this, since we do not know anyone w/the quilting skills needed.
posted by ryanshepard to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I am a hobbyist quilter; I am sad when I see much-loved fabric breaking down (even if its just my favorite pair of pants).
I would start with some kind of textiles expert. Would the art museum near you let you ask the textiles person for referrals/advice? Anyone that handles tapestries/embroidery/framing of same may be helpful.
Fingers crossed for you!
posted by bebrave! at 7:16 PM on July 7, 2013

I would check with a textile conservator.
posted by shesbookish at 7:18 PM on July 7, 2013

Best answer: I would check with quilt shops near you (not fabric stores, but quilt shops), or your local quilting society. (Links are to American Quilter's Society recognized stores/guilds, there are others that you can find with a simple Google search.)
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 7:56 PM on July 7, 2013

If you can't afford or find the professional services of a textile conservator in your locale, you could begin by having the item carefully spotted and dry cleaned, by a professional using CO2 process dry cleaning. Cleaners with that level of expertise will also know and be able to recommend re-weavers in your area, to repair the most damaged/moth eaten sections. Back up their repairs to the top fabric of the quilt with new canvas stabilizer fabric, new batting, and a new back panel (hand sewn or "quilted") onto the top (with practice, and perhaps a quilting frame, you can do this yourself), to maintain artistic intent and quality, and you may have a much loved fabric heirloom that will take your family into the 22nd century.
posted by paulsc at 7:58 PM on July 7, 2013

Yeah, your local quilt guild should be able to point you to someone -- chances are good there's a member who does it, but if not they'll know who can help.
posted by katemonster at 8:03 PM on July 7, 2013

The last idea on this list would be beautiful, though time consuming - essentially, you save what you can from the original quilt's top (and maybe back) fabric, and reuse them in smaller sections of a new quilt. Alternatively, I wasn't able to scare up links for this, but I recall reading that historically a quilt like this might be used as 'batting' for a new quilt - with the old, threadbare one sewn up inside. The feasibility of these is going to depend on both the state of the quilt and the type of pattern/construction - quilt shops are definitely a great place to start to find someone to hire for a project like this.
posted by heyforfour at 8:04 PM on July 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

You might want to check out Rave Fabricare in Arizona. I have sent them a number of tricky cases (garments, leather bags) by mail and gotten great results. They've got a blog that shows a lot of their bigger projects.
posted by whitewall at 5:41 AM on July 10, 2013

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