Repairing a quilt is much different from restoring one and is a much easier project to undertake. You may have a quilt that has been passed down in your family or one that has some special significance for you and want to make sure it is in good shape. One of the best ways of making the repairs is to do so before the damage has gone too far. Lay the quilt out on a bed and inspect it carefully for any signs of disrepair, such as seams that are starting to unravel and pieces of fabric that are threadbare or worn.
Loose seams of stitches that have started to come apart can be repaired quite easily. Take each portion of the quilt that needs to be fixed in this way and work on each one until it is to your satisfaction. Turn in the edges and using a silk thread, appliqué it into place. Silk is the best kind of thread to use because it cannot be easily noticed and is just as strong as cotton thread.
Look for any areas where there may be pieces of fabric missing from the quilt. It may be hard to get the same type of material to fill in the gaps, but you do need to match the colors as closely as possible. By matching up the colors, any differences in the type of fabric will not show out as much. Place the edges of the pieces you insert as close as possible to the seam so that you won’t have additional sewing in the quilt that will appear to be out of place. Wherever possible, keep the back of the quilt in place. In this way you still have the original material that will help date the quilt.
Sometimes you may be able to cut out a damaged piece of the quilt and salvage it in such a way so that you can fit it back in and disguise the repairs. If the end of the quilt is the part that has sustained the most damage, you could simply cut off the row of blocks on this end and stitch the quilt back in place. No one will ever know that you have made any changes.
If there are places on the quilt where the fabric has simply broken apart outside of a seam, there is a simple way you can solve this problem. There are products you can purchase at sewing supplies stores that you can iron in place. Fusible web is one such product. Simply insert it in place under the fabric and iron over it to fuse the split pieces together with the heat of the iron.
You should not wash an old quilt that is in need of repair before you have completed the repairs. Doing so will damage it further. No matter how dirty it may seem to be complete all the sewing first before attempting to clean it.