Repairing a Real Quilt

My daughter has a quilt, a flannel one that I gave her on her 21st birthday in April of 2002. I made it knowing that it would be in a college apartment for two years and maybe not survive past that. I didn’t quilt it, I tied it and lo and behold, it is still with us. In fact, the poor battered quilt is probably her favorite. This quilt is real, very real.

If you’ve read The Velveteen Rabbit you understand this kind of real. This quote from the book by Margery Williams says it all.

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

rep re 1The process of becoming real takes its toll on a quilt. Consequently. I have been lobbying for a while to let this quilt go in the rag bag or the donations pile. Last time she gave it to me for help, I washed it and let it sit in my sewing room for quite a while.

Here it is in 2002. Most of the flannels were high quality but a few were not. Those lower end flannels really lost their color, shape and softness. I will never use them again. rep re 2

Then she needed it, she really needed the comfort of this very real quilt. And so last week I found myself repairing a real quilt.

I put it up on the design wall and couldn’t even focus, that is how sad this quilt is!

I couldn’t bring back the color or the softness of the cheap fabrics but I could shape it up and repair the ripped seam. I know this is a losing battle and it will come home for more repairs but what the heck, I gave it a go.

rep re 3

I put the walking foot on my machine and tried to square it up a bit by stitching/quilting along the outside border.

I noticed that nearly all the ties had disappeared. So much for that method of finishing a quilt. I also noticed that the quality flannels had not shrunk like the cheap ones.

I had preshrunk by washing all the flannels originally but the cheapo ones kept on shrinking.

Grrr.rep re 4

rep re 5In for a dime, in for a dollar so I did more stitching. I worked my way around the borders until I got to the blocks.

This block was losing its stitching.

I have had quilts in much better shape need a block repair. I usually hand stitch a new piece over the worn out one and then requilt in those cases.

This poor real quilt didn’t require that much TLC. It was just trying to live to comfort and warm Emily for another day. rep re 6

I just zig zagged with a really close stitch all the way down the rip. It worked, it will keep the quilt intact.

rep re 7Then I pressed the worn but loved quilt and hung it back up on the design wall. I tried to focus this time.

I folded it up nicely and brought it over to Emily. She and Zara immediately burrowed in and sighed with contentment. Emily remarked that it looked like new.

I didn’t have the heart to tell her it looked the same to me, just has more threads holding it together.

I think I need to start planning a new flannel quilt for Emily and probably one for Zara as well.

But it’s hard to part with a real quilt.

Sew happy!

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Quilts have been an important part of my girls’ lives. Here’s a post about some of Shelby’s quilts.

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