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Log Cabin quilt repair

by Maureen McNerney
(Philadelphia, PA)

My log cabin quilt has come apart at a seam; how do I repair it?


How it came apart has a lot to do with the way I'd go about repairing this quilt.

But first, if this is a family heirloom, one that is old, fragile and that you want to hand down to future generations, then consult a quilt appraiser to get their educated opinion on how to proceed.

What I am sharing below is how I would repair a regular everyday quilt of my own...

If just the stitching in the seam had come apart, I'd stitch it back together with a hand applique stitch and cotton thread (to match the fibers in the quilt).

If the fabric 'split' at the seam line (and I think this is what you are talking about) I would consider two options.

  1. Applique a motif over the split. First, tack the raw edge down with needle and thread to hold it in place. Then applique over it. The only drawback to this is you'd probably need to add more than one flower or butterfly or whatever motif you chose to balance the design.

    It would add interest to the quilt, disguise the repair and give it a new look.

  2. Replace the piece. Carefully remove the stitches holding the frayed patch in place, remove the frayed patch and then replace it with a new one, hand sewing it in place.

    Depending on the condition of the damaged patch, you may decide to leave it in place. Add some extra stitches to tack down the loose edges and then prepare a patch just like you would for applique, turn the seam allowances and hand stitch it into place. If the backing fabric is highly patterned, you could stitch the patch in place with a small zigzag stitch (1.0 long and 0.5-1.0 wide)--I'd baste it in place first. with a busy back, I don't think this would show anymore than the other quilting in the quilt.

Good luck on your repair!

Readers, if you have suggestions for repairing a split seam, please share your experiences with the 'comments' link below. Thank you!


Julie Baird

Comments for Log Cabin quilt repair

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Fixing a small defect
by: Roberta

Occasionally, I have a corner that doesn't quite meet or get a small stain on a quilt. I make a small (finished about 3/4")red "yo-yo", stuff it with a little batting and embroider it to look like a 3D ladybug, then applique it over the defect. I've never put more than 1 on a quilt and folks who don't know any better think it's my "trade mark". I choose a shade of red or burgundy that works well with the rest of the colors in the quilt. Of course the theme of the quilt will make a difference, too. It wouldn't work on one with tropical fish or sail boats, etc.

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