Quilt Restoration Project – Sunbonnet Sue and Green Boats Part 2

This is the follow-up post to the first part of this segment:Quilt Restoration Project – Sunbonnet Sue and Green Boats Part 1.

As we talked about in the first segment, the initial repair work for both of these beautiful quilts was to remove the damaged and flimsy fold-over binding and put new binding on with mitered corners. Also, while I did try some spot-cleaning in some areas, the worst stains will just have to reside on the quilt as badges of the love they have received.  These are both hand-quilted and should never be put in a washing machine.

The quilts already showed an amazing transformation!

Now that the fragile batting and edges of these quilts are protected with a new binding, it is time to repair the rips, tears and holes that are a result of years of love.

It is important to note that because of the age and condition of these quilts, decisions needed to be made on how best to repair each element so no further damage occurred in areas were there were rips, tears and holes.

One such decision centered on a long rip on the sashing of the sailboat quilt.

In this case, I had purchased fabric that was probably the same color when this quilt was new; however, after years of use, the color had faded a great deal.  So, after checking the integrity of the existing fabric in that area (which was actually quite solid) and previewing the quilt with this fabric, I came to the conclusion that the quilt would retain much more of its original beauty if I sewed this rip instead.  To place the fabric over one section of the sashing would make it stick out because of both its color and texture.  There is no way to match the hand-quilting and easing that has occurred to this quilt over time.  All in all, I was pleased with the result.

At this point, the only additional issues with the Sailboat quilt was some very small rips which were easily hand sewed shut.  I opted for this method whenever possible instead of adding patches.  Overall this kept the focus at the beautiful Boats and Dollies and not on a plethora of patches.  I was fortunate that the fabric overall (except the binding) was in pretty good condition.

The Sailboat quilt was not the only one with large sections of damage.  The Bluebonnet Sue quilt had a large, gaping hole that went through all 3 layers.  Again, I had some choices and decided that instead of trying to draw attention away from the area (mostly because there was no way to do this), I would add something to the quilt.

My solution?

First, I filled the center with batting to match the amount used in the rest of the quilt.  I then used the same fabric from the binding to create a heart to cover the hole front and back.

This makes a charming addition to the quilt that does not take away from the original work done by the family’s great-grandmother.

At this point, my attention turned to the Sunbonnet Sue appliques.  After speaking with the owner of this quilt, it was decided to add only the fabric needed to secure the quilt and keep further damage from happening.  This was a good decision when considering the love put into it by the original quilter as well.  To replace entire designs would have taken away from the beautiful, vintage quality.

Each of the dollies above had ripped loose from the machine applique that attached them.  To fix this, I created a template for the dress bottom and the hat band (the last one had ripped there as well).  After using an iron-on adhesive to attach these bands, I hand sewed using black thread to give the same look as the machine-stitching of the original.

NOTE: Because this quilt was already sandwiched, all sewing had to be by hand with the exception of attaching the binding to the front.

As you can see, the final pictures of both these quilts present a look that does not detract from the original version.  When we started this project, there were two recommendations:

1. Do nothing and lay them on a cute chair in the corner as decoration

2. Replace the binding and repair all damaged areas in the best way possible while attempting to keep the same look that their great-grandmother intended.

Ultimately, I am so glad they went with option (2) as the great-grand daughter can use them lovingly and show them off to her friends.

I was so excited to have the honor of working on these beautiful, old quilts and will be sad to see them go.

Do you have a family heirloom that needs repair?  Maybe it’s time to take it to your local quilt professional to see what can be done to preserve your own family heritage.

Fort Worth Quilt Guild Quilt Show – 2015

One thing is for certain, it isn’t hard to find quality quilt shows to visit in Texas.  The weekend of July 24-25, 2015 was no exception.

The Fort Worth Quilt Guild held this recent show at the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts in honor of past president Pat Wagers because of her love for Christmas.

While there were many beautiful holiday-inspired quilts to view, there were also many more traditional fabrics as well.  The judged quilt show consisted of more than 100 last year’s Best of Show was also on display.

Other activities held that day included:

  • Raffle Quilt
  • Mini Quilt Auction
  • President’s Challenge Christmas Stockings
  • Boutique
  • Vendors
  • Bed Turning
  • Guest Speaker, Jodi Barrows

Our visit began with paying to enter (hubbies did not enter free this day), and getting our door prize tickets.  Alas, we were not a winner this time around, but that was ok, can’t win every time.

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Ellis County Quilt Show – 2015

Yesterday was a gorgeous day in Texas – just perfect to venture out to a quilt show!

Like many of the shows I have attended here in Texas, the Creative Quilters Guild of Ellis County certainly did not disappoint. From raffles, to vendors, to door prizes and of course gorgeous quilts – this group did a fantastic job.

Right from the start we felt at home as the ladies at the front table announced that “men get in free – if you like we have a man’s lounge just down the way!”

You sure can’t argue with that, can you?

This was the 12th annual quilt show and while there were many new contributions, what made this very special to me was the antique and “loved” quilts on display. If you have been following my latest project, I have gotten into restoring older works.

The show was packed full of quilts but also offered

  • Quilt Appraisals
  • Door Prizes (yes I won one!)
  • Silent Auction
  • Boutique
  • Drawing for gorgeous 2015 donation quilt

The best way to share my experience at the fun event is simply invite you to view the pictures I took.


When visiting a quilt show, there are some rules (check each show for their specific rules):

  • No Smoking
  • Do not touch quilts (Quilt Angels are there with gloves on to assist you)
  • No Food or Drinks
  • No Photographs except in approved areas.

Normally, photos are allowed on the show floor; however, individual vendor booths appreciate it if you buy their kits and patterns instead.

I also want to say a special “Thank You” to Suzzett’s Fabrics, Quilts and More, LLC. for donating the Moda charm pack that I won!

Next weekend (July 24-25, 2015) is the Fort Worth Quilt Guild “Christmas in July” show in Fort Worth, Texas.  We plan on attending this one too and promise to post lots of pictures!

Do Something Exciting Today!

Quilt Restoration Project – Sunbonnet Sue and Green Boats – Part 1

I was recently blessed with the opportunity to help a family preserve some precious memories.  These quilts were machine pieced and hand quilted by the great-grandmother.  The plan is to restore them so that they can be gently used by her great-granddaughter in her new and first house.

This post is going to focus on the overall assessment of the quilts as well as the binding.

Luckily, most of the fabric on these two beauties is in pretty good shape. The pictures above show how beautiful these two are.  Upon closer examination the areas that need to be addressed are the binding, some holes and rips and some of the applique on the Sunbonnet Sue’s.

There are also stains that may or may not come out with gentle hand-washing, but they are not excessive and can be lived (loved) with.

Binding (before):

The binding on both were in very rough shape and all but falling apart.  Both were bound using the “fold over” technique and hand stitched to the front.  All corners were squared so had a lot of excess fabric.  As you can see from the photos below, not only was the binding ragged, the batting has gone through many washings and was literally falling out of the pink quilt.

Ultimately the goal is to make these quilts whole again without taking away from the loving care that went into making them.   It is for this reason that I decided not to worry about squaring the quilt (especially the pink one). Doing so would have meant cutting it down which would have altered the look of the top.

Binding (after):

Here are images of both the quilts showing similar before and after pictures.  I am very pleased about how this project is progressing.  I fixed the binding first for a couple reasons:

  1. There were no holes that were evident in areas that intersected the binding.
  2. By cleaning up the binding, I was able to arrest the flaking and loss of batting.

The next step is to fix the numerous rips, tears, holes and issues with the Sunbonnet Sue dresses that have come up.  Now that the quilts are bound and no longer run the risk of further damage, I can tackle each section individually.  I plan on implementing hand-sewing techniques to fix all of them which will take time but will keep the hand made feel of the original work.

Repair Fabric:

Probably the most difficult choice through this process is the fabric.  Because original fabric is not available, it takes time to look through all that is available to find the best match.  I say best because there is no way to find a fabric that will 100% match up with the colors and patterns used at the time these were new.  Add into this the fact that colors have faded over time due to use and the environment, it is impossible to hide the repairs.

With this being said, I am not even going to try!  Instead, the goal is to choose repair fabrics that will blend well and lend to the feel of the original idea.  As you can see so far, the green and pink chosen for the binding is not an exact match, but are close enough to make the quilt whole without changing its look.

What’s Next?:

I can’t wait to get working on the individual applique pieces and that large hole through the pink quilt.  I am thinking a heart on front and back in the same pink as the binding may work perfectly for this.  A hear can easily represent the love that was put into this quilt all those years ago.

So, what's been going on?

This past six months has been an absolute whirl-wind!  After the holidays were put behind us, it was time to get ready for Antique Alley.  This was a great success and we met some wonderful folks.

Pretty much at the same time and for 2 months after, we started going to the Scarborough Renaissance Faire.  While I have sewn garments in the past, I never really thought about creating custom costumes for such an event.  This is something I can never say again!  I began by creating a fun wizard cloak for my husband and then jumping in with both feet to make entire outfits.  I can see a LOT of this type of sewing in the future!

In addition to garment sewing, I am kept VERY busy with quilting projects as well. Because client work comes first, the turnaround for long arm quilting services continues to run on time.

Most recently, I participated in the Texas Row by Row!  This was so fun and within a week I had produced a cute, water-inspired quilt which consisted of rows from Sandy’s Quilt Shop, Sew it Up!, Peggy’s Quilts, Quilt Among Friends, Cabbage Rose, Richland Sewing Center, Lone Star House of Quilts, and Suddenly Sewing.

I handed in this cutie to Sandy’s Quilt Shop in Joshua Texas.  Not only did I win my pick of 25 fat quarters, I also received an additional prize of 3 yards of fabric.  I chose a beautiful off-white neutral for my 3 yards and then a selection of vibrant batiks in rainbow hues.  I think I may make a fun double hour glass quilt.

So, what’s coming up next?  I have been commissioned to do a few  new projects.  First of all, there are two beautiful hand-quilted quilts that have been loved a bit too much.  Because the owner wants to use them (carefully), we are going to replace the binding and fix the areas that have holes.  In addition, there will be an appliqued quilt made from a child’s leotards.  This will indeed be a challenge.

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