I have a quilt that my late mother-in-law made sometime in the 80s or 90s that I absolutely love but it’s in pretty bad shape. The front is perfectly fine but the back looks like Wolverine slept with it. I have never quilted but I have basic sewing skills. I tried to mend some of the rips by hand but the back material is so thin and worn that it just started to rip more in other places. My thought is to try to separate it and give it a new back but the border is odd. The sides of the quilt have about an inch border like bias tape but the top has about 12” or more, like it’s meant to be folded over when you make the bed. Any ideas on how to safely take this apart?
It’s a gorgeous quilt! Are you looking to replace the binding as well as the backing? I can’t see it clearly but I assume it’s quilted, so taking it apart and removing the backing may not be that easy. It might be a better idea to sew the new backing fabric on top of the old back. But I have never repaired a quilt with such bad damage, maybe some other people have better ideas.
I thought about just sewing a new backing over that but I don’t know if that would make it look thrown together? I also thought about trying to find someone to fix it for me but I worry about having it out of my possession and how much it will cost!
Looks like some of the cotton fabric has just given up. And it looks like the border may have been odd to extend the size. Or, this is not the first time the quilt has been fixed or repurposed. It’s odd that the two sides are so different. The back looks to be a much older quilt. It’s not unusual to use an older quilt to make a new one. I had a quilt my great-grandmother made and it just shredded into nothing after years of use. Same with one my grandmother made out of feed sacks when I was a kid. Each grandchild received one. I repaired my quilt so many times that I just gave up.
I see two options.
Adding a new back over the old will at least cover up the damage and retain the heft of the quilt. It will also slow down the disintegration of the poor exhausted backing fabric. Sheets are a good choice for a new back…nice and wide and lot’s of color choices. Either remove the binding and then add new binding or just add a new wider binding over the existing (and treat the wider binding edge same as the rest of the quilt.) That will give it more years of use. And is the most cost-effective. I would pick a Red or green to match some of the squares for a fun fresh look. If the new backing is wide enough, there are ways to use the backing as self-binding too.
Take it apart, saving the side you like (I am assuming it is the brighter patch side). Remake the quilt with new batting, a new back, new binding, and re-quilt. It looks to be a tied quilt, so that won’t be an impossible task to take apart. Make sure to repair any seams and other damage. I would only do this if the quilt top is in very good shape and not showing signs of thinning fabric, excessive wear, etc. as that means that the quilt has a limited life span. With all new everything else, the quilt should last for a long time.
The front is strong and in great shape, only the back is worn. I found a nice cream fabric that I really like for the back, it’s just the matter of taking it apart that scares me!
I would add a new back. But use a blanket or blanket like fabric instead. That way both sides are different on purpose.
I agree with everything marionberries said, but I’d like to add a warning story.
My grandmother repaired an antebellum quilt (and I mean one that predates the Civil War, not one that celebrates a band) for her ladies guild back in the 1950s. The quilt top was all silk, woven patterns, satin, velvet. yummy.
Grandma spent hours replacing damaged bits and putting a new back on it, all fiddly. She was sick of it by the time she finished.
The quilt was raffled off. Grandma bought one ticket, and was mad when she won the $#%&%#!!! thing. It’s been passed down in the family for more than 60 years. I had it for a couple decades, and replaced more damaged bits, then gave it to my neice, who says it now needs more repair.
Maybe no quilt is ever finished.
I just want to be able to use it with the proper side up so I’m not getting my toes caught and ripping it more each time I use it.