Fixing a Vintage Quilt that's Not Quilted

I’ve been given a vintage scrappy blanket. Some of the patches have split apart at the seams. I’ve researched how to fix this issue and am fairly certain that I’ll be able to do so pretty easily. I have a sewing background, but have never made a quilt. This blanket has two layers, the patched together top and a back layer made of one single piece of fabric. There is no batting inside. My question is – should I also fasten the two layers together? Is that necessary for a blanket that doesn’t have a batting layer? If so, what would be the best method for a quilt novice? Hand tying looks simple, but makes it harder to throw in the wash, and I was hoping to use the blanket once fixed on my bed. Sewing the layers together – even in a free-form style – looks pretty difficult. Could I attempt it as a newbie? Should I? Help!

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To sew the layers together, I would start by pinning them together. Pin all over, every 5"-6". If you’re sewing by hand, use a quilting hoop (like a giant embroidery hoop) to make it easier on yourself. Waxing your thread helps to keep it from getting too tangled. If you do it on a machine, a walking foot would probably give you the best results. If you’re nervous about stitching design, you can always draw your stitching lines on with a disappearing fabric marker.


If they weren’t sewn or tied together to begin with, you can decide not to worry about it; the layers may shift in the wash & have to be straightened out (think like washing a duvet cover), but you aren’t going to get batting bunched up & tearing so it’s likely to be more annoying than problematic.


I agree with @thanate that if it didn’t have quilting originally it should be fine. But, that said, if you decide you want to do something, I’d tie it. Tied quilts wash up wonderfully. I have one my mom made me 35 years ago and it’s been washed many, many times with no issues.


I am a little late to the party but If it is an old piece it will help to stabilize it if you sew the backing to the front. If possible, I might try to insert a piece of pre-shrunk muslin in between to give it more stability. You can quilt by hand or by machine, whatever makes sense to you. Either will be more stable and support the seams in the top better than tying. I would take the extra step if it is old and precious, has memories attached to it or you just really, really love it. If it is a thing you were gifted and it doesn’t have a lot of meaning then go ahead and tie it. Either way, have fun and enjoy both the process and the product.