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How to Store an Antique Quilt

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Wedding Ring Quilt

Properly storing an antique quilt helps to extend its life

- Pamela Y. Wiggins

Properly storing your antique quilts helps add life to these heirloom textiles.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 10 minutes in most cases

Here's How:

  1. The best way to store an antique quilt is by spreading it on an unused bed and placing an everyday coverlet over it. Quilts can also be layered on a bed. This storage method keeps quilts safe from dust and light, while reducing stress on the vintage fibers that can result from folding.
  2. If you do need to fold a quilt, spread it face down between two well-worn white cotton sheets and fold in a pleated accordion fashion. While storing flat is best, folding in this manner helps to reduce stress on old fabrics and reduce the likelihood of tearing.
  3. Limited space may dictate storing a quilt under a bed safely sealed in a Rubbermaid-type container. Just be sure to fold the quilt in the accordion manner recommended above and making sure it is completely void of moisture before placing it in the container.
  4. If you are going to store a quilt by displaying it on a wall, a good method is sewing a four-inch wide tube or sleeve of fabric along the top back edge and stitching every inch or so through all layers of the quilt. You can then attach it to a wall or other display area easily with a sturdy rod.

Tips:

  1. Materials used in manufacturing plastic bags, cardboard boxes, and wooden trunks and chests can all react with quilting fabrics. These should be avoided when storing quilts. If reactions occur with plastic bags, cardboard or wood, they can cause quilts to become fragile, prone to tearing or even stain them.
  2. When using a Rubbermaid or similar container for storage, make sure the textile is completely dry to avoid mildew from moisture trapped in the container.
  3. If you're hanging the quilt on the wall for the summer season, be sure distribute the weight evenly over the entire width to avoid stressing the fabric. Don't plan to store a quilt on a wall for more than six months.
  4. No matter how or where you store your quilts, avoid sunlight. All light damage to textiles is irreversible.

What You Need:

  • Everyday coverlet
  • Clean cotton sheets
  • Rubbermaid-type storage bins
  • Fabric sleeve
  • Sturdy rod and brackets
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