Mounting a Vintage Quilt Top

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A recent job involved mounting an (approximately) 80 year old quilt top, made by the grandmother of my client’s husband. It had somehow made it into an auction, was purchased by a woman who knew the family, and transferred back into family ownership.

The husband remembers his grandmother as always having a quilt top in progress. The family owns several of her completed quilts. This quilt top is clearly made from a scrap basket, but there is a great deal of organization in the arrangement of individual patches and blocks.

Once I laid the top out, I noticed the lines of blocks with the orange fabric running on a left-to-right diagonal. DSC_0032

The fabric is too fragile to bear the stress of quilting, but the owner wanted to be able to give the top to her granddaughter as a quilt that could be laid on a bed or displayed over a rack. The solution was to mount the quilt, a method which creates less stress but gives the quilt a finished appearance and arrests the fraying that can occur as seam allowances rub against each other.

To do this, I used simple muslin as a backing and Quilter’s Dream Request for the batting. I turned the muslin to the front to form a self-binding and border that can be used to handle the quilt. Sewing from the back, I made pick stitches through the seam allowances to attach the top to the batt and backing. This leaves the surface of the top largely undisturbed. The self-binding/border was attached using invisible applique. (see below)

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If you have a vintage top that you’d like to finish for display purposes, you should consider a mount. It’s much faster than quilting and less risky for old textiles.

Update: In response to Diana’s question in the comments, I’ve provided more detail on the stitch I used in making this mount in this post.

2 comments

  1. Okay, I was with you until the part about making pick stitches through the seam allowances. I’m not sure what this means, and I can’t tell from the pictures. Can you explain this process further? I’ve run across some fragile tops and this sounds like a good way to be able to at least display them.

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