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Quilt Conservation and Preservation

Here are some suggestions for care of your heritage quilt

Do store your quilt flat or folded using acid-free tissue and rounded folds, avoiding sharp creases, or store rolled on acid-free cardboard tubes

Do hang on the wall in minimal light so family and friends may enjoy

Silks will become brittle and crack, especially when exposed to light. Repair by purchasing some polyester netting (tulle) and carefully stitching to the damaged areas to keep the fabric intact.

Quilts stored in unlined wooden drawers will darken and become brittle where they touch the wood. Linen and cotton are especially affected.

Brownish stains in cottons are caused by oxidation and aging of the cellulose. This is a natural state of cotton. If cleaned, the fabric will still become discolored.

Never expose your quilt to strong sunlight or artificial light for long periods of time. This causes fading and breaking of fibers.

Never store quilts in damp areas. Mold, mildew and insect damage may result as well as staining of fibers, especially cottons and wools.

Never hang a quilt for a long period of time if the backing is weak and worn. Remember, the heavier the quilting, the stronger the quilt.

Avoid storing at high temperatures. This causes fibers to become brittle.

Since fabrics deteriorate due to dyes, some damage is unavoidable regardless of care in storage. Colors that most often fade are browns and greens.

How to hang a quilt for display

  1. Cut a four-inch strip of pre washed, unbleached cotton muslin to fit the width of the quilt.
  2. To make a sleeve, fold under the long edges of the muslin strip. Using small, careful stitches, sew the muslin strip to the top back of the quilt, leaving the ends open. Be sure to stitch to edges of the quilt.
  3. Cut a metal pole two inches longer than the width of the quilt. Electrical conduit can be used.
  4. Drill a hole in each end of the pole.
  5. Slide the pole into the quilt sleeve.
  6. Attach to the wall using screws, making sure the quilt is level.

Sources

For acid-free materials, check your local art store or contact one of the following:

Light Impressions
PO Box 787
Brea, CA 92822-0787
800/828-6216
Fax: 800/828-5539
www.lightimpressionsdirect.com

University Products, Inc.
517 Main Street
PO Box 101
Holyoke MA 101041-0101
1-800-628-1912
Gaylord Brothers
PO Box 4901
Syracuse NY 13221-4901
1-800-448-6160

Tulle (polyester netting) and unbleached cotton muslin are available at a local fabric store.

Electrical conduit pipe for hanging quilts is available at a local hardware store.

Interested in other quilt references on the World Wide Web? Check out some of these: