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Part 3: Vintage Quilt Blog Series - REUSE

Part 3: Vintage Quilt Blog Series - REUSE

We have arrived to our third and final installment of the Vintage Quilt Blog series! In case you are just now joining us, this is a little series that I'm doing about how to repair, wash, fold, store and reuse older quilts. This all stems from a love of the quilts that my grandmother left behind for me and my family. Thankfully, most of her quilts are in great condition, but I know that there is a wide range of vintage quilt conditions so I wanted to be sure to cover as many perspectives as possible. If you're curious, here are the previous posts:

PART 1: Repair

PART 2: Wash, Fold, Store

PART 3: Reuse

Now I want to preface by saying that this particular post is for older quilts that are beyond repair. I am 100% all about keeping the original integrity of an antique quilt and using it for what it was intended for. However, some quilts either need WAY too much work to repair, or they're too delicate to continue to use as a traditional quilt. I don't think an older quilt should ever be thrown away! There is always the options to simply "retire" the quilt forever, which is certainly something that you could consider if you don't want to cut it up. (If that's the case, check out the PART 2 blog post in this series about washing, folding and storing!) But if you want to use the quilt and maybe position it to where you will see it every day, I have compiled a list of ideas that can breathe new life into those older, more fragile textiles. 

Like I said, most (if not all) of the quilts that my grandmother made are in really good shape. A few quilts have some minor holes here and there, but it's nothing that's beyond repair. When thinking about projects that I would want to re-use an older quilt for, a few ideas came to mind. I also asked my Instagram followers if anyone has experience with re-using older quilt for other projects and I had several people so kindly share what they've done! Let's take a look! And I'll share my ideas at the end. :)

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Emily and Hannah of @heritagehousequilts have an online shop for vintage quilts. They so generously offered to share a few ideas of projects that they've made in the past. You can find their website at www.heritagehousequilts.com.

Emily also told me about business called Anemone (@anemone.vt) who turns quilts into wearable art. Emily commissioned Anemone to create matching quilt coats for her and her daughter... how cute is this? Now for this kind of project, the quilt would likely need to be in pretty decent shape. An alternative would be to use just one or two blocks from the quilt and all new fabric for the rest of the coat. If you’re looking to make a quilt coat yourself, I’ve heard a lot of great things about the All Well Cardigan Coat pattern!

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If you have a quilt that isn't in very good shape, I really love this idea! Create quilted "paper" chains!  Use pinking scissors to cut the quilt into strips, add a zig sag stitch around all of the edges and connect them to create a fun and decorative garland! This would be so cute in a nursery or craft room. I love that it has sort of a scrappy appearance. It's such a fun idea!

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Another idea is to create a stuffed animal out of the usable parts of a quilt. This would require a little bit more skill than the paper chains, but if you have a stuffed animal pattern, I think this is such a sweet project! Similar to the quilt coat, you might have to make some fabric repairs before you get started on this project....or you can cut out pieces of that quilt that are usable and combine it with newer fabric for stability.

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How adorable is this doll bed mattress cover, pillow case and doll quilt?? This idea sounds the easiest to me....I'm all about those 2D projects. haha

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Melody of @the_quilted_melody also reached out and shared the most precious heirloom. She said:

My grandmother had an old quilt that my great grandmother made. It was beyond repair after years of use. My mom took the quilt and other different small pieces of doilies, crochet, and lace that my great grandmother made and framed them. Giving one to all my aunts, uncles, grandmother, and a couple of cousins for Christmas. They were treasured gifts! 

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Lisa of @gramzsews also created bunting  from a quilt that her grandmother, Gladys made. Here's the before photo, followed by the finished bunting. I cannot believe the transformation! Thanks for sharing, Lisa!
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I also wanted to share a simple idea that I had (similar to Melody's framed heirloom, but not nearly as impressive!). I purchased a "cutter quilt" or a quilt that is beyond repair from Stitched and Found a few weeks ago. I cut out my favorite block from the quilt and put it inside a frame. It was super simple and easy, and I love that you can still see all of the original holes and stitching. It feels very preserved, which I love!
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I also wanted to see how parts of the quilt looked inside of a glass Christmas ornament. I cut up parts of the quilt into strips and place them inside of these ornaments from Amazon.
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The thing that I like about both of these projects that it the material is a little bit more protected than it would be if it was just folded up on your bed. Also, if you have a large family or people that equally want part of a quilt, doing something like the frame or the Christmas ornaments is a fair way to evenly split up a quilt so that everyone has a little piece of the quilt to keep for themselves. Refer back to my Part 2 blog post about washing and storage, because the same rules apply when you reuse an older quilt (depending on what you do with it)!
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If you are looking for a place to find older quilts, I highly recommend checking out Stitched and Found and Heritage House Quilts! They both specialize in finding and selling older quilts and I always love scrolling through everything that they find!
Say that you have an older quilt and you want someone to turn it into something like a coat. I highly recommend checking out Anemone VT! Like I said, I just recently learned about her account through Heritage House Quilts and I immediately became obsessed! She also has a few smaller items like fanny packs and bucket hats....I'm hoping to snag one in her next restock!
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A few other ideas include coasters, Christmas stockings, Christmas tree skirts,  lanyards, the list goes on! Have you ever reused an older quilt before? I'd love to know what you made in the comments below!