Guide to Repairing and Restoring a Quilt

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How to Repair a Quilt

Skilled quilters can make almost imperceptible repairs to quilts, allowing the item to be used again. This process is called quilt restoration. Today, quilters interested in repairing quilts can easily find fabric, sewing notions, thread, and other materials on the internet.

Choosing Quilting Materials for Repairs

Most quilters use either 100 percent cotton or 100 percent silk fabric and thread to create a quilt. In most cases, the same material type should be used to make quilt repairs.


Quilters should have a spool of cotton or silk thread in a colour that matches the area of the quilt being repaired, as well as contrasting thread to mark basting. Some prefer to use silk thread to fix cotton quilts because the thread is less noticeable and stronger than cotton thread. However, over time, the silk thread can cut through the individual threads of the cotton fabric.


Quilts with threadbare areas can be repaired with a fabric patch. It is nearly impossible to find a remnant of the same fabric used to make a quilt, so restorers should focus on finding complementary fabric.

Bias Tape

Bias tape can be used to repair the frayed edges of an existing quilt. Quilters can also make their own bias tape from cotton or silk fabric.

Sewing Tools

In order to restore a quilt, restorers should have a collection of basic sewing supplies. These include needles for hand sewing machine is also useful for adding new bias tape and applying patches.


Making Basic Quilt Repairs

Quilters should avoid washing the quilt before making any necessary repairs to avoid fraying. If the quilt is dusty, quilters can use a vacuum cleaner set on low suction to clean the quilt. Even after repairs are made, quilters should only wash the quilt when it is truly soiled. Quilt covers can be used to protect heavily used quilts from excessive wear.

Fixing Frayed Quilt Edges

The simplest way to repair the frayed edges of a quilt is to apply bias tape around the entire perimeter of the quilt. The bias tape should be the same width or wider than any existing edging.

  1. Apply the bias tape to the edges of the quilt so the bias tape encloses the edge of the quilt. Keep the bias tape in place with pins spaced every 6 centimetres.

  2. Baste the bias tape in place with thread in a contrasting colour. Iron the bias tape along the edge of the quilt.

  3. Stitch the bias tape to the quilt using a matching thread. The stitches should be located approximately 3 centimetres from the inner edge of the tape. Remove the pins.

  4. Remove the basting threads.

Repairing Torn Seams

  1. Quilts often fray or tear along seams. If the tear has not frayed it can be restitched.

  2. Use a seam ripper to remove any loose threads around the area.

  3. Using contrasting thread, baste the seam closed.

  4. Iron the area carefully, looking for any puckers or other problems around the seam. Large puckers indicate the seam should be restitched using a different method, or the area may need a patch.

  5. Stitch the seam closed with matching thread using a slip stitch, starting several centimetres before the torn seams and continuing several centimetres beyond the tear.

  6. Remove the basting threads.

Fixing Holes and Threadbare Areas

Actual holes within the quilt fabric will require a fabric patch. No-sew iron-on fabric patches can be used, but there are limited options available. This method can be used with any type fabric.

  1. Cut a patch of fabric that is 1.5 centimetres larger than the hole on all sides.

  2. Fold the edges of the patch over so the wrong sides of the fabric meet and there is a .75 centimetre border along the patch back.

  3. Use pins to keep the edges in place, then iron the edges of the patch flat. Remove the pins.

  4. Pin the patch to over the damaged area. Baste the patch to the quilt using contrasting thread and remove the pins.

  5. Attach the patch to the quilt using zigzag stitches along the edge.


Buying Quilt Restoration Supplies on eBay

To finding quilting supplies, buyers should click on the “Shop by Category” link located next to the eBay search bar. They can then select the Crafts category, which is located underneath the Home and Garden category. From the Crafts category, quilters can further narrow their search by selecting the Sewing and Fabric category and then selecting the Quilting section. Quilters should also investigate the Fabric section and the Sewing section to find additional sewing supplies that could be helpful when repairing quilts or completing other craft projects.

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