There is something so special about a quilt that is loved to death.
I think when most quilts are made, the maker spends hours thinking of the recipient. Wishing them well, praying for their safety, hoping for their future.
I know for me personally that I am happiest when the quilts I make are used, and yes even in need of repairs. I don’t make them to be put away in a closet somewhere.
I recently had a quilt brought in that has been so loved that it was literally falling apart. This quilt is the girl’s everything. It is the only thing that she wants when she’s upset or sad or feeling any of those scary emotions that a kid goes through when the world seems so big and overwhelming.
They couldn’t just get rid of it, she still loves this quilt so very much. But she couldn’t keep using it in the shape it was in.
It took me a little time to decide how I wanted to fix this. I originally thought I was going to have to just replace the torn Dora with a different fabric all together. I knew it needed a completely new backing obviously. New binding on the bottom at least. New batting. I stared at it for a little while and started working it through in my mind.
The first thing I did was to completely deconstruct the quilt. I honestly wanted to keep the original as in tact as possible- but the batting was gone and really I didn’t want to enclose the backing into the new quilt. The quilting that was left was very light and relatively painless to take out.
I used a solid off white to back the original top to add some stability to it. I didn’t want the top to have too much strain on it anymore since it was so fine.
There were holes forming all along the top of the quilt and I was pretty sure patching so many would look really obvious and could just make it weaker than it already was. I had a pink in the shop that actually matched the original color pretty closely so I added a strip to the top take care of the holes.
The main reason they brought this quilt in was this hole. I guess it was the final straw, I’d been given the go ahead to not worry about saving the torn Dora and replace it with a different fabric altogether, but the more I looked at it the more I started thinking I could just fold the ripped edge under and stitch it down.
I knew I would lose some of the design, and have a small pucker at the end of the tear but honestly those things kind of work themselves out in the wash and weren’t a big concern to me. I just wanted to get the hole closed up and secure. I decided not to try closing it up from the back like a seam- I just didn’t think the original fabric would hold up long term to a new seam. So I went for a zig zag stitch using invisible thread.
It turned out pretty good honestly. I lost a little bit of Dora’s hair and a bit of her leg, but she doesn’t look too distorted. Now that the hole was fixed I needed to take care of the smaller holes. They weren’t straight tears, so stitching them up would have distorted things too much so little patches were the ticket. I drew a few little hearts on some Wonder Under and used them to cover the smaller holes, a zig zag using invisible thread again and they were good to go.
Then it was time to quilt. I replaced the original batting with Quilter’s Dream Poly. I typically use Quilter’s Dream Cotton, but I wanted the quilt to have a very similar weight and feel to the original. The original had poly.
The original quilt was quilted just around the blocks and the stitching to tack down the fleece fringe acted as quilting as well. The blocks were a little too large to not have something tacking them down in the center though so I quilted along the edge of the blocks like the original then outlined each Dora to secure the center of the blocks.
The original quilt was missing one leg of the fleece fringe. However over time the rest of the fringe had stretched and distorted so much that with a bit of careful placement I was able to fill in the missing area. I reattached the original fringed binding down each side then added a new binding to the top and bottom.
This was a fun challenge. I quilted this on my domestic since my longarm was still packed up from the move. I haven’t used my free motion foot on my domestic in quite some time so it was a nice little project to do that with. I’m very happy with the outcome and I truly hope this little girl is happy to have her much loved quilt serviceable for many more years to come.