Quilt Care Tips

You probably have a quilt or two lying around your house. The quilt could be made by your own hand or given to you from someone. You’ll want to preserve your quilts and pass them on to the next generation, right? So, show the quilts some TLC by following these tips.

  • Keep it in the dark

This doesn’t mean hiding your quilt in the basement. But it does mean keeping the quilt out of direct sunlight or intense lighting. Keeping the quilt in the dark prevents the quilt from fading.

  • Don’t Cross-Contaminate

When you buy a quilt at a yard sale or flea market it could be infested with bugs and mold. In order to protect your find, quarantine them in an airtight bag for 6 months or put them into an airtight bag and stick the quilt into the freezer for a week. This will prevent the mold from spreading and it will kill any bugs that might be in the quilt. After the quarantined period is over, then you can clean and care for the quilts.

  • Clean Carefully

The best way (that I have found) for preserving a delicate quilt design is to vacuum the quilt. This process is simple, just place a fiberglass screen (like from a window) onto the quilt. Attach your vacuum’s dusting attachment and run it carefully over the screen. Before you start vacuuming the quilt, be sure to inspect it thoroughly for any seam damages, brittleness, or browning. If any of these signs are apparent then have a professional clean the quilt.

  • Store it properly

Fold the quilt and pack tissue paper at the creases. This prevents any wrinkling. Once you have the quilt folded, cover it with a cotton sheet. Store the quilt in an acid-free box (home improvement store). Then place the box in a cool, low-humidity area, like in a ground level closet.

  • Consult a pro before restoring

Don’t take a chance of trying to fix a quilt that is damaged by yourself. Instead find a licensed conservator at conservation-us.org. You will need to tell the conservator the size of the quilt, the approximate age of the quilt, and the intended use for the damaged quilt. The conservator will in turn give you a price estimate. This is for major repairs on older quilts.

  • Replace damaged fabric

If your quilt has more sentimental than monetary value, patch it with a similiar piece of fabric (check on Ebay for scraps of vintage remnants). To preserve the existing fabric, try sewing a piece of bridal veil netting over the top of the fabric. The veil will prevent further fraying of the fabric.

With these tips, you can preserve your precious quilts for future generations. Enjoy your quilts!

Hanging Quilts

When hanging the quilt keep in mind that it needs to be protected. Nails, staples, and tacks may put pressure on the quilt and cause tearing of the fabric. A common practice when hanging a quilt is to use a dowel or curtain rod. A sleeve sewn onto the quilt helps distribute the weight of the quilt evenly.

Cut a strip of fabric 9 inches wide and as long as the top edge of the quilt. Piece together strips of fabric if necessary to achieve the desired length.

Turn under 1 inch of fabric on each end of the strip. Hem using a top stitch.

Fold the strip lengthwise with wrong sides facing. Sew the long edge closed with a 1/2-inch seam allowance, leaving the ends open.

Press the seam open. In the center of the sleeve, press creases, along the top and bottom. On the back side of the sleeve, press in another crease, 1 inch down from the first crease.

Hand-stitch the sleeve to the quilt backing along the bottom crease. Pay attention not to let the stitches show on the front of the quilt.

Fold the top of the sleeve along the second crease after removing the pins. Hand-stitch the second crease into place on the quilt backing.

Place the dowel or curtain rod through the sleeve and hang.

How to Make a Cot Quilt

If you are a complete beginner, then I suggest you buy a baby quilt pattern, or find a free one online – just type in ‘baby quilt pattern’. However, the process of making a baby quilt is so simple if you have a best sewing machine for quilting that you must have if you want to learn quilting seriously.

A baby quilt is approximately 45″ x 60″ in size, and is formed from two rectangles of fabric which hold a rectangle of wadding in place.

Firstly, you need to decide which design you are going to use. Traditional baby quilts are made from patchwork, but there are other options, as always. The instructions below are for a plain quilt, with no embellishments, so that you can add your own ideas onto it. I have put some suggestions of my own at the end of the article.


For the basic baby quilt you will need two rectangles of fabric. It doesn’t really matter if the size is an inch or two different from the recommended size (45″ x 60″), as long as they are the same size as each other. Use a natural material, or a polyester-cotton mix which is easily washed. You can choose from a variety of baby prints, having both sides the same, or one side patterned and one side plain to make it reversible.

Choose your wadding carefully. It is important that a baby doesn’t get overheated in bed, but he/she also needs to be warm enough. Ask the sales assistant which TOG they would recommend, and write it down. You can then write this on a tag to attach to the quilt, so that the baby’s parents know what they are buying. Make sure that it is fire retardant, and as natural as possible.

Place the two rectangles of fabric right side together. Using a sewing machine, sew up three sides of the quilt case, leaving one short side open. Neaten the edges however you like, either by overstitching or by using a French seam, to prevent fraying.

Turn the quilt cover the right way in and slip the wadding inside it. Fold the edges of the open end inwards and over-sew by hand to close it.

Use dressmaker’s pins to pin the three layers of quilt together and return to the sewing machine. Your quilt is small enough to fit under the machine so that you can sew diagonal or straight lines all over it to mesh the layers together – you could even do random stitching! If you like to, you can measure the lines out exactly, and put pins in to show you where to sew – this ensures that your lines are equally spaced.

Alternatively, you can tie little knots all over the quilt to hold the layers together. Make sure that you cut off the ends of the knots quite close to the quilt to stop bits fraying off and choking baby.

Remove pins and press.

You now have a lovely baby quilt ready to use.



You can make your quilt out of broiderie anglais fabric, but make sure that the holes are quite small, otherwise tiny fingers could get caught in them and badly pulled.

You can add a lace border to the quilt by adding it to your first ‘sandwich’ of fabric. Lay the first piece of fabric down face up. Pin the lace along the edge, FACING INWARDS. Lay the second piece of fabric on top, right side down. When you turn the fabric right way out, the lace should be in place.

Before you sew the two fabric layers together, you can sew lace strips across it. Alternate with ribbon for a really cute look.


Make a piece of fabric out of patchworked pieces of fabric. Choose a mix of baby patterns and plain pieces, or use pretty pieces of any fabric as long as they mix. Traditional colors are pastel pink and pale blue, but a lot of parents nowadays are choosing brights instead. Once you have made your patchwork the right size, finish it with one or two rows of straight edging. Continue by adding a plain backing fabric to make the quilt case.


You can personalise a baby quilt cover by using fabric paints. Make sure that they are baby safe, and don’t put them on so thick that bits might flake off. This is a great way to personalise bedding.


As with lace, you can add ribbon strips to the quilt before sewing the casing up.


You can appliqué any design you like onto a quilt cover. Choose a boat, hearts or teddies. Flowers, cars or woodland animals are also suitable. You could appliqué a child’s name, or the name of the family. Make sure that all your edges are very firmly sewn down, so that there are no frayed edges, and no bits can be accidentally torn off.


If you don’t want to do a full patchwork design, you can use oddments of fabric to make a striped quilt. Cut your chosen fabric into 3″ strips, and lay them out together to see which look good together. Sew them into a single piece using a sewing machine and proceed as above.

Making baby quilt covers is great fun. If you are making one for a particular baby, find out from the parents which color they are going to be painting their nursery before starting. If you don’t have anyone in particular to make them for, charities are always keen to have quilts to auction off.

Have fun!

How to Bind a Quilt

A quilt’s binding is a key component of its design, being the piece that gives it a finished appearance. Quilts are made from two layers of fabric stitched together with batting stuffed in between. The binding fabric covers up the edges so this interior stuffing is not visible from the outside. The most common type of quilt binding is to simply use plain fabric strips that match the color scheme of the quilt, but there are also several other types of quilt binding to choose from. Here are three of the best methods of binding a homemade quilt.

  • #1: Pillowcase method

The easiest way to finish a quilt is to not use any actual binding fabric at all. This can be called the “birthing” or “pillowcase” method of completing a handmade quilt. Rather than adding on a binding trim, stitch the quilt’s edge so that it resembles a large pillowcase, leaving one end open wide enough so you can turn the entire thing inside out while you are stitching it together. Flip the quilt back right side out and use either a topstitch or blind stitch to close this opening.

  • #2: Self-binding

The self-binding method uses the bottom layer of fabric as the binding for the quilt. This is much quicker than using fabric strip quilt binding, but will leave your quilt vulnerable to damage because the binding is only one layer thick. Self-binding can also be a good way to display the backing fabric of the quilt if you have used a color you particularly like. For a self-bound quilt, simply leave a few extra inches of backing fabric around the top layer and batting. This overlap will become your binding when you fold it up over the top of the quilt. Stitch the folded edge down to secure it in place and trim off any extra fabric to finish off your quilt’s binding.

  • Continuous fabric strip

Continuous fabric strip binding is another variation on the traditional strip binding method. Instead of using individual fabric strips to bind each edge of the quilt, sew all of the strips into one large strip. This gives you a slightly different pattern depending on which direction you wrap the continuous fabric strip binding around the quilt. You can also add a personal touch or make the quilt look more frilly by using patterned or ruffled binding fabric. To add accents to your quilt’s corners, add some triangular binding fabric, sometimes called “prairie points.”

Why We Quilt

Have you ever wondered why quilters take a perfectly good piece of fabric, cut it up into smaller pieces, and then put it back together again? If you’re a quilter like I am, I’m sure you’ve heard this question.

The question, why do we quilt?, is a reasonable one and I found some answers at a local quilt show that I recently attended. The quilt show, hosted by the Black Canyon Quilters in Montrose, Colorado, had Marianne Fons as co-host. Marianne Fons of the famed Fons & Porter quilting duo, gave a 90-minute lecture on the reasons why we quilt. It was a very informative presentation that included a lot of history about quilting. Fons is currently touring the country and presenting this lecture at quilt shows. She hosts a television series, Love of Quilting with her partner Liz Porter and is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of their magazine by the same name. Their website is www.fonsandporter.com.

Fons decided to do some research as to why people quilt (and I say people because there are quite a few men out there who quilt), and came up with four main categories. The categories are necessity, therapy, fame & fortune, and love. If you’re a quilter, I’m sure you’ll identify with some of these categories. If you’re not a quilter, this will give you a better understanding of why a quilter will cut up fabric and put it together again.

History indicates that quilting became very popular as a necessity. If you’ve seen pictures of the Gee’s Bend quilts, you quickly understand the need for warm bedding. Quilts made from worn-out clothes such as faded and torn dungarees, shirts, dresses, and even underwear were very common. There was usually no design or pattern to them and instead, were irregularly shaped with no emphasis on color coordination. They were strictly needed to keep people warm.

Quilting for therapy has become very common among quilters. We quilt out of boredom, helplessness, stress, and other psychological needs. A perfect example is the current project by the Quilt of Valor Foundation (www.qovf.org), to make quilts for our wounded soldiers. During this time of war, many of us feel helpless in what we can do while the war is going on. The wish to do something for these injured soldiers is why the Quilt of Valor project began. We quilters can make something for wounded soldiers and ease the feeling of helplessness. Similarly, we can make a quilt and donate it to a local hospice, a battered women’s shelter, the children’s section at a local hospital, and yes, even the pet shelter! (I know someone who makes placemat-size quilts out of scraps for the kitties in the local pet shelter.)

Thirdly, we have the fame & fortune category. Fons promptly placed herself in this category. This category contains people who have masterd quilting or a specific technique in quilting and have made quilting a career. You’ll agree that Fons & Porter, Lynette Jensen, Eleanor Burns, and Nancy Johnson-Srebro are a few of the people who belong in this caregory. These people may have television shows, written books or their own magazines to belong in this category. In many quilting guilds across the country there are women who teach classes and/or publish books and they too, are in this category albeit on a smaller scale.

Probably the most popular category today is love. We make quilts for unborn grandchildren, sons, daughters, etc. A child may receive a quilt for graduating from high school or college, or their own wedding. We make quilts for friends and family members for their birthdays or the Holidays. We also make “comfort” quilts for someone that we care about who is going through one of life’s rough times such as a divorce, a serious illness, or death of spouse. Comfort quilts can serve two purposes, love and therapy.

In doing her research, Fons states that there are probably more unmentioned reasons why we quilt, however, she found the four above mentioned reasons as the most prominent.

Now, that I have better insight as to why I quilt, I can better explain to my husband why I just spent $150 on fabric that I’m going to cut up and put back together again! Hopefully, he’ll understand.

Some Basics You Need to Know If You Want to Learn Quilting

Quilting Facts

Quilting goes back to ancient times. It is a form of needlework that decoratively binds a layer of padding between two fabric layers. Today, many women and some men use machine stitching instead of the tedious hand sewing.

For quick and easy quilted projects many craft stores have prequilted fabrics that you can purchase. They are available by the yard and are ready to be sewn as soon as you get them home. You can also select coordinated fabrics and create a one-of-a-kind quilt.

Quilting always requires two layers of fabric with padding, also called batting in between the two layers. Select a batting that is compatible with the outer fabric layers and make sure the thickness is compatible with the type of quilt you are making. At the craft supply store you will be able to see the different types of batting available. Batting generally is available in polyester, cotton and wool. They all come in different thickness from thin to lofty (thick). Purchase a package big enough for your project. Packages of batting can be found in a range of bed sizes from crib to king. You might also have the option of purchasing batting by the yard.

Quilting Basics

When you are at the craft supply store take a look around at the quilting accessories that are available to make your projects easier. Handy items to consider purchasing are fabric-marking pencils and wash-away pens, quilting templates, quilting attachments for sewing machines, quilting hoops and frames.

You have your choice on machine quilting or hand quilting your fabric. Take into consideration the type of project, the degree of difficulty and the amount of time you are willing to invest into the project.

Choosing the right quilting motif is also necessary to make your project stand out. These are usually called quilting motifs and range from simple lines to more intricate scallops and flower motifs. You can also outline the figures or quilt blocks from your project’s top.

Always draw your quilting motif on the right side of the top fabric before assembling the layers. Because your stitching and the loft of the batting will make the final quilted fabric be slightly smaller than the original size. This allows you to make sure you have quilted enough fabric to completely finish the quilt.

A Few Important Tips

Always lay batting over wrong side of bottom fabric layers; then lay top fabric layer over batting.
If quilting with a sewing machine, use a clear embroidery foot or a quilting foot for best results.
When quilting bulky, textured or double-stretch knits, use a light-weight jersey for the bottom fabric. For a less bulky effect, use a thin batting or omit batting altogether.

There are endless possibilities to accent your pieced tops by quilting. Purchase additional books and research online for more tips, tricks and ideas on how to quilt beautifully.