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What To Do With Old Quilts

What To Do With Old Quilts


What To Do With Old Quilts: While parting with them might be difficult, there are various meaningful and creative ways to repurpose and preserve these treasured heirlooms. In this guide, we will explore a range of ideas and projects for breathing new life into old quilts, ensuring that their legacy continues to shine brightly.

What To Do With Old Quilts

Preserving the sentimental value of old quilts is paramount, and we’ll discuss gentle cleaning and careful storage techniques to safeguard their delicate fabrics and intricate designs. For those wishing to retain their quilts’ original form, we’ll explore options for repairing and restoring them, ensuring they remain functional and cherished.

For those open to reinventing their old quilts, we’ll delve into numerous repurposing ideas. From transforming quilts into stylish and sentimental throw pillows to crafting one-of-a-kind tote bags and wall hangings, the possibilities are vast. We’ll also explore how old quilts can be used to create stunning quilted clothing, adding a touch of vintage charm to modern wardrobes.

Whether you’re seeking to preserve family heritage, honor loved ones, or simply embrace your creative spirit, this guide offers a plethora of options for what to do with old quilts. With a dash of innovation and a whole lot of sentimentality, these beloved quilts can continue to bring warmth and joy to our lives for generations to come.

Are old quilts worth anything?

The older they are and the better shape they’re in, the higher price tag you can set. If you’re looking to make serious cash from quilts you’ve inherited, though, you’ll need them to be in “museum-quality.” That means not just a pristine condition, but connected to a specific era of history.

The value of old quilts can vary significantly depending on various factors, including their age, condition, historical significance, design, and craftsmanship. Some old quilts hold substantial monetary value, especially if they are rare, made by renowned quilt makers, or considered significant in the world of quilting or textile art. Antique quilts, especially those dating back to the 19th or early 20th century, can be highly sought after by collectors and may command high prices at auctions or antique markets.

However, not all old quilts are necessarily valuable in a monetary sense. Many old quilts hold immense sentimental value for families, carrying memories and stories of generations past. These quilts may not have a high market value, but their sentimental worth makes them priceless to their owners.

Quilt appraisers and experts can help determine the potential value of an old quilt, considering factors such as its age, condition, rarity, historical context, and artistic merit. Appraisals can be helpful for insurance purposes, estate planning, or if the owner is considering selling or donating the quilt.

It’s essential to remember that the value of an old quilt goes beyond its monetary worth. These quilts often represent cultural heritage, artistic expression, and family traditions. The sentimental value they hold for families cannot be measured in dollars and cents, making them irreplaceable and cherished heirlooms.

What can I do with old quilt squares?

If All You Have is a Bunch of Blocks

If it’s a common block, you can continue to make blocks in the same style of the original blocks, then piece them all into a finished quilt. You may consider piecing the blocks into smaller projects like as a focal point on a pillow, or frame the blocks as antique wall art.

Old quilt squares can be incredibly versatile and offer a multitude of creative possibilities. Rather than letting them gather dust, consider the following ideas to breathe new life into your old quilt squares:

Create a New Quilt: If you have a collection of old quilt squares, you can piece them together to create a new quilt. Mix and match different patterns, colors, and sizes to design a unique and eclectic quilt that holds sentimental value.

Turn Them into Pillows: Transform individual quilt squares into charming throw pillows. Add backing fabric, stuffing, and a zipper or button closure to create beautiful and cozy accents for your home.

Frame as Artwork: Frame individual quilt squares as artwork to showcase the intricate designs and craftsmanship. Hang them on the wall or display them on shelves for a touch of vintage charm in your home.

Make a Table Runner: Sew together several quilt squares to create a stunning table runner for your dining table or sideboard. This adds a pop of color and history to your dining space.

Craft Tote Bags: Use quilt squares as panels for tote bags or handbags. These unique accessories add a touch of nostalgia and make for fantastic conversation starters.

Should you wash old quilts?

Due to its delicate nature, washing your vintage quilt could damage or destroy its old fabrics. To be safe, only clean your quilt when truly necessary. If you don’t feel comfortable washing your quilt yourself, search for a qualified quilt conservation or restoration service.

Washing old quilts can be a delicate decision that requires careful consideration. Whether or not to wash an old quilt depends on its condition, age, and the materials used in its construction. Here are some factors to consider:

Condition: If the quilt is fragile, has loose seams, or delicate fabrics, washing it may cause further damage. In such cases, it’s best to avoid washing and seek professional conservation or restoration services.

Stains and Odors: If the quilt has visible stains or unpleasant odors, washing may be necessary to freshen it up. However, caution should be exercised, and spot cleaning may be a safer alternative.

Washability: Assess whether the materials in the quilt are suitable for washing. Older quilts made with fragile fabrics or non-colorfast dyes may not be safe to wash.

Historical Significance: If the quilt has historical or sentimental value, it’s essential to consult with quilt experts or conservators before attempting any cleaning.

Handwashing: If washing is deemed safe, handwashing using a mild detergent and cold water is the gentlest method. Avoid agitating the quilt to prevent damage.

What are quilts good for?

Quilts are versatile pieces that both provide warmth and serve decorative purposes. They can be used in any number of ways, including as: Bed coverings. Throw blankets.

Quilts are incredibly versatile and serve various practical and aesthetic purposes, making them cherished items in many households. Here are some of the reasons why quilts are so highly valued:

Warmth and Comfort: Quilts are primarily used as bed coverings, providing warmth and comfort during cold nights. The layers of fabric and batting trap heat, keeping sleepers cozy and snug.

Decorative Elements: Quilts add a touch of beauty and personality to any space. They come in various colors, patterns, and designs, allowing them to complement or be a focal point in interior decor.

Family Heirlooms: Quilts often carry sentimental value and are passed down through generations as cherished family heirlooms. They hold memories of loved ones and family stories, making them treasured possessions.

Artistic Expression: Quilting is an art form that showcases the creativity and skill of the maker. Quilts are pieces of functional art that incorporate various techniques, fabrics, and designs.

Commemoration: Quilts can be made to commemorate special occasions, events, or milestones in a person’s life, making them meaningful and symbolic gifts.

What To Do With Old Quilts

How can I determine the value of an old quilt and whether it is worth preserving or selling?

Determining the value of an old quilt and deciding whether to preserve or sell it involves a few essential steps:

Assessing Condition: Examine the quilt for any damage, stains, fading, or wear. The condition plays a significant role in determining its value.

Historical and Cultural Significance: Research the quilt’s history, such as its maker, age, and origin. Quilts with historical or cultural significance may have higher value.

Rarity and Design: Consider the uniqueness of the quilt’s design and whether it is a rare or one-of-a-kind piece.

Material Quality: Evaluate the materials used in the quilt, including the fabric, batting, and stitching. High-quality materials may increase its value.

Expert Appraisal: Seek a professional quilt appraiser’s opinion to determine the quilt’s value accurately. Appraisers have the expertise to assess quilts based on various factors.

Market Demand: Research the market for vintage or antique quilts to understand their current demand and value.

Sentimental Value: If the quilt holds significant sentimental value within your family, consider whether it is worth preserving for future generations.

Once you have a good understanding of the quilt’s value and significance, you can make an informed decision on whether to preserve it for personal enjoyment, as a family heirloom, or consider selling it to collectors, quilt enthusiasts, or at auction.

If you choose to sell, it’s advisable to work with reputable auction houses, antique dealers, or online platforms that specialize in quilts and textiles. Additionally, if the quilt is in need of restoration or preservation, consult with quilt conservation experts to ensure it is handled with care and expertise.

What are some creative ways to repurpose old quilt squares or damaged quilts into functional and decorative items?

Repurposing old quilt squares or damaged quilts can breathe new life into these treasured textiles and create unique functional and decorative items. Here are some creative ideas:

Pillow Covers: Use intact quilt squares to create charming pillow covers. Sew them together or appliqué onto plain fabric to make delightful throw pillows.

Wall Hangings: Frame individual quilt squares or sections of the quilt to create stunning wall art and preserve their intricate designs.

Table Runners: Cut quilt squares into smaller pieces and stitch them together to make vibrant table runners for a pop of color in your dining area.

Tote Bags: Transform quilt squares into stylish tote bags, adding sturdy handles and a lining for functionality.

Pot Holders: Cut smaller quilt squares and add heat-resistant batting to make beautiful and practical pot holders for the kitchen.

Coasters: Use quilt squares to craft fabric coasters that protect surfaces while adding a touch of nostalgia to your home.

Quilted Clothing: Repurpose quilt squares into patches for jeans or denim jackets, creating unique and fashionable quilted clothing.

Quilted Patchwork Blanket: Salvage damaged quilts by cutting them into squares and creating a patchwork blanket, mixing the old quilt blocks with new fabrics.

Memory Quilts: Incorporate cherished quilt squares into a memory quilt that celebrates special moments and events.

Fabric Covered Notebooks: Use quilt squares to cover notebooks or journals, making them one-of-a-kind writing companions.

These repurposing ideas not only showcase the beauty of the original quilt squares but also infuse them with new purpose and meaning. Remember to handle old quilts with care and consider preserving any remaining portions of the quilt for future projects or as keepsakes.

Are there any professional services or organizations that specialize in quilt restoration and preservation for valuable or antique quilts?

Yes, there are professional services and organizations that specialize in quilt restoration and preservation for valuable or antique quilts. These experts have the knowledge and skills to carefully assess, repair, and conserve old quilts to ensure their longevity and historical significance. Here are some options to consider:

Quilt Restoration Specialists: Many professional quilt restoration specialists offer services to repair damaged quilts, stabilize fragile fabrics, and clean quilts without compromising their integrity.

Textile Conservationists: Textile conservationists are experts in preserving antique fabrics and textiles, including quilts. They employ conservation techniques to prevent further deterioration and maintain the quilt’s original appearance.

Museums and Historical Societies: Some museums and historical societies have dedicated textile or quilt conservators on staff. They often offer restoration and preservation services for antique quilts in their collections.

Quilt Guilds: Local quilt guilds may have members with expertise in quilt restoration and preservation. They can provide guidance or refer you to qualified professionals.

Quilt Documentation Projects: Some quilt documentation projects, organized by quilt museums or historical societies, document and preserve information about antique quilts, including their history and provenance.

Quilt Appraisers: Quilt appraisers may not offer restoration services themselves, but they can recommend reputable quilt restoration specialists or conservators.

When seeking professional services for quilt restoration or preservation, it’s essential to choose experienced individuals or organizations with a proven track record in working with valuable or antique quilts. Be sure to inquire about their previous work, expertise, and any certifications or qualifications they may have. Proper preservation and restoration will help maintain the quilt’s historical value and ensure that future generations can appreciate its beauty and significance.

How can I store and display old quilts to ensure their longevity and protect them from damage caused by sunlight, dust, and pests?

Storing and displaying old quilts properly is crucial to ensure their longevity and protect them from damage caused by sunlight, dust, and pests. Here are some tips to help you preserve your cherished quilts:

Clean and Dry: Before storing, make sure the quilts are clean and completely dry. Washing or cleaning them as per appropriate methods will help remove any dirt or stains that may attract pests.

Acid-Free Materials: Use acid-free and archival-quality materials for storage, such as acid-free tissue paper or cotton muslin fabric. Avoid plastic bags, as they can trap moisture and lead to mold growth.

Fold with Care: If folding the quilt, do it carefully to avoid creating permanent creases. Place acid-free tissue paper between the folds to cushion the fabric.

Roll Storage: For long-term storage, consider rolling the quilt on a large acid-free tube, covered with cotton fabric or muslin, to prevent stress on the fabric.

Avoid Sunlight: Keep quilts away from direct sunlight, as it can cause fading and deterioration of the fabric over time. Display quilts in a location that receives minimal sunlight exposure.

Controlled Environment: Maintain a stable environment with moderate temperature and humidity levels. Avoid storing quilts in damp or excessively dry areas.

Proper Ventilation: Ensure adequate ventilation to prevent mold growth. Avoid storing quilts in airtight containers.

What To Do With Old Quilts


Preserving and showcasing old quilts is an essential aspect of honoring the craftsmanship and love poured into their creation. By seeking professional restoration services or implementing proper storage techniques, we can protect these precious pieces of history for future generations to appreciate.

Additionally, embracing the spirit of creativity, repurposing old quilt squares or damaged quilts allows us to transform them into functional and decorative items that blend tradition with innovation. From quilted pillows, wall hangings, and table runners to unique patchwork crafts, the possibilities are limitless.

Furthermore, donating old quilts to charitable organizations or gifting them to loved ones allows us to share the warmth and love imbued within these cherished textiles. Ultimately, the value of old quilts extends far beyond their monetary worth.

These timeless works of art embody the stories, memories, and emotions of the people who created them. By preserving, repurposing, and sharing them, we ensure that the legacy of old quilts lives on, spreading comfort, history, and beauty throughout our lives and the lives of those we touch.


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Sophia is a creative and passionate entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of Bubble Slides, a rapidly growing company that designs and produces innovative and eco-friendly children's water slides. She continues to innovate and improve her products, always keeping in mind the well-being of children and the environment.

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