Monday, May 19, 2014

When Bad Things Happen to Good Quilts: How to Fix Mistakes and Mishaps

The dog ate my handiwork…

The family dog found this quilt too hard to resist and chewed a hole into the edge.  Bad dog! We consulted with Aimee Griffin, owner of Overall Quilter and Sewing Director at Mary Jo’s Cloth Store for advice on how to fix this, and other quilt mistakes and mishaps.

For this quilt, Aimee suggested downsizing and adding new binding.  By doing this, the border will be consistent around the entire piece and the slightly smaller size will not be noticeable.

First step to repairing this quilt was to cut away enough from the edge to remove the bad area.  Aimee is using a rotary cutter and mat with a clear quilters ruler to make accurate cuts.  After the edges are cut away, new binding can be applied and it’s as good as new!

Oops!  Spills and stains…

Before cleaning you should always spot-check on remnant fabric, or on a small corner of the quilt to make sure the materials are colorfast.  For small spills and stains try spot cleaning with a mild soap and water, using a cloth or soft toothbrush to work the stain out of the fabric and air-dry flat.   If the entire quilt needs to be washed, use a fabric friendly detergent like Forever New, which is mild cleaning solution, free of bleach and petroleum products and rinses clear without any soap residue.

To machine wash, use a front load washing machine set on the delicate cycle and air dry or tossed in a delicate, low heat dryer. Machine finished quilts are obviously sturdier and take machine-washing well.  Hand quilted quilts can also be gently washed, but may require repairs to the hand stitching after multiple washings.

That doesn’t look right….

It is a proud moment when you finally finish a new quilt!  You can’t wait to show it off to your friends and family but while admiring your creativity and hard work there it is, in the beauty of the blocks and stitches you see it for the first time – a mistake!  How did that happen?

Did you spot it? One block of four squares a quarter turn the wrong way.   Don’t despair! Aimee has a great method for fixing this type of mistake without taking apart the finished quilt.

Begin by sewing together a new block out of remnant fabrics.  All you need is that one small section of four squares.

Aimee suggests using Wonder Tape with an iron, and a Press Perfect stiletto to carefully set the new square in place, covering the mistake.

The seam allowances are pressed under using Wonder Tape to hold the edges down.  

More Wonder Tape is used to temporarily secure the new quilt block over the mistake with an iron.  Use the stiletto to hold the fabric in place, keeping your fingers away from the hot iron.

Aimee is excited to show off the repair!  The new block can be stitched in place, and only you will ever know the mistake was ever there!

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