Repair a damaged quilt
by Mary Anne
Mary Anne writes...
I need to repair a damaged quilt.
While my quilt was being quilted on a longarm machine the needle broke and the broken needle punched a hole all the way through the top, batting and backing.
In addition, while the machine operator was trying to smooth out a "wrinkle" in the fabric, the batting was stretched thin and actually torn in two areas.
I am heartbroken.
This quilt is a wedding gift for my son & his wife. It's my first quilt.
I've gotten many compliments on the top. It's all batik. I've spent a lot of money, time and emotion in making it. What can I do to repair the hole and the batting?
Thank you so much for any help and guidance you can give me.
I am heartbroken for you!
First, give yourself permission (if you haven't already) to throw a major-league hissy-fit...I know I would. Get the anger and frustration out of your system so that you can approach the problem calmly and move forward. (I'm still upset about it and it's not even my quilt!)
There really is no one, right solution, but rather what will work best for you. I'm hoping that others who read this page will chime in with their thoughts so that you can see the diversity of opinions.
Does the long arm quilter offer any remedy to repair the damaged quilt?
Has she offered to fix the hole and the torn batting? If so, do you trust her to do the work?
Only you can answer that question. I can assure you that it was never her intention to return a quilt to you with a hole in it. It's bad for you. It's bad for business. It's bad for her reputation.
If you trust her to make it right, then follow your gut instinct. Make sure that you fully understand 'how' she will fix it and what it should look like after the repairs. Personally, I would want the offer in writing with what remedies there will be if you are unhappy.
The simplest solution
Quilters both beginning and experienced have probably dealt a hole in their quilt at one time or another.
Ripping out quilting stitches is a dangerous undertaking which a fair number of quilters have done. Every time a seam ripper comes near a quilt sandwich is fraught with the possibility of ripping into the quilt.
To camouflage and repair a tear, quilters have traditionally appliqued 'something' over the offending hole.
Since this quilt is for a wedding present, an 'I love you' heart or something to commemorate the day may work. It really depends on where the hole is.
If the hole is positioned so that the applique repair would look out-of-place, you can either:
- Add more than one applique patch—choose an odd number like 3 for the best effect and vary the size, or...
- If the quilt is all geometric shapes, applique a patch of equal size and shape over the problem area to both hide and protect the torn edges. Check at your local quilt store for quick help with the applique if you need it.
This is a simple fix because it involves 'adding to' instead of 'taking apart' an already quilted quilt.
Check with your local quilt store
Without being able to see the damage, its hard for me to make an appropriate 'fix' solution. Take it to your local quilt shop to ask for advice.
I expect, again, that there will be diverging opinions, but they will be specific to your situation.
Accept your quilt for what it represents...
You could choose to look at the quilt as a representation of marriage. We all get dinged up at least a bit in this journey called life. But it's our imperfections and how we deal with them that make us wonderful and perfectly imperfect.
Your quilt is made with love and full of happy thoughts for the new couple. A hole doesn't change that. And it doesn't change that this is your first quilt. THAT
is something to be celebrated and nurtured.
If you can accept this, then use applique to repair your damaged quilt (either something that shows or something that camouflages and at the same time stabilizes) the hole and batting problems. Give the present with pride and love.
Your son and his new wife will cherish the gift and the thought behind it. The hole won't change that.
And then move on to your next quilt.
What I would do if it were my quilt...
Now I have been quilting for about 20 years and am a perfectionist/procrastinator at heart so that colors my opinion, but here it is for what it's worth.IF...
...looking at the quilt in my kids' new home would continue to upset me, I would re-make the quilt and keep the 'damaged' one for myself.
This is an expensive option for sure in time, money and emotion...emotion because there's a good chance that you'll be thinking about the original at times while you're making the replacement. I absolutely would be mad, and probably for quite awhile. But if I gave the gift and it would continue to cause me angst, I would do what I could to avoid that situation. Life's too short.
Mary Anne, I hope this has given you some ideas. My heartfelt sympathy on the situation with your longarmer...
...and my very best wishes to your son and his new bride!
Readers, please do share your opinions and experiences repairing a damaged quilt by using the 'Comments' link just below. Thank you.