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How to restore and to preserve an antique quilt

Our church has a quilt that made in 1898 by the ladies of the church--our church is over 160 years old.

It was white when it was made but has since turned brown. We didn't know if we could clean it some way and not damage it. We need to know how to take care of it.

If anyone could help it would be appreciated.

Thank You.

Joyce Woelfle
Stanton Baptist Church

My email:


Hi Joyce.

My sincere apologies for this reply taking so long. I have experiences a problem with my hosting platform and recently a whole slew of questions appeared on my dashboard from the last year.

What a treasure you have...and to know who made it and when! You are, indeed, lucky!

Since I am neither a certified quilt appraiser or textile restorer, the best I can do is advise caution.

I do not recommend washing the quilt to remove or reduce the brown coloring. With a quilt this old, you cannot know whether the fabric and stitching will be able to stand up to the strain of washing and drying. The fabrics may bleed, fray or disintegrate; the stitches may break...leaving you worse off then you are now.

I do recommend that you contact a certified quilt appraiser who will be able to:

  1. Assign a dollar value for insurance purposes if you should so choose
  2. Recommend a method for cleaning

It is possible that their suggestion will be to vacuum the quilt, or perhaps just air it out and live with the brown. If nothing else, they would be able to give you an educated and informed way to proceed.

To find such a quilt appraiser, visit The Professional Association of Appraisers - Quilted Textiles page called Find A Quilt Appraiser. These quilt specialists are listed alphabetically by Us and Canadian state.

You may also find the information provided by the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska, to be of interest.

I hope that it all turns out well.

Again, I apologize for the delay in this response.


Julie Baird

Comments for How to restore and to preserve an antique quilt

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Preserve quilt
by: Judy

I also have a quilt started in 1898 by women in a brethren church my family use to attend. My grandfather bought it at the church bazaar. It was passed down to my mother,then to me. That church is holding a 100th anniversary in Sept.and want to display the quilt. My quilt is ragged around edges. A curator at a museum told me to use a netting (tulle)like for veils. Cut in strips to wrap over edges of quilt an baste in long stitches to keep from pulling apart anymore. Then to store, roll with acid free tissue paper in between. If folded it breaks down fibers in material. If you have to fold. Refold a different way each time n store in acid free box. My e-mail is I would like to contact me to discuss their quilt if possible. Thank you

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