It can be heartbreaking to discover a tear in a beloved quilt. Especially if the quilt was handmade by a loved one or if there are special memories associated with the quilt. In addition to sentimentality, quilts can have historical significance as well. Fabric styles and designs change over time with trends and the resources available during a particular time period. Unfortunately, quilts don't last forever but with a careful hand and a little mending, the life of many quilts can be prolonged.
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Examine the top portion of the quilt for tears.
Mend large tears first and work from the center out. Cut out and replace torn sections in the center of the quilt top with new or vintage fabric that matches closely with the original torn fabric. To do this, carefully cut out the section of fabric and trace around it to make a template.
Cut the fabric out using the template and hand sew the new quilt block around the edges in place of the torn fabric.
Create small patches of fabric to cover smaller tears and holes. Again, use fabric that matches the original fabric. Cut the patch to be about a quarter of an inch larger than the hole you are trying to cover. Center the patch over the hole and hand sew around the edges of the patch.
Cut a row of fabric off the quilt top if the tear is near the edge of the quilt. You can either replace the row that was removed with new or vintage fabric to match, or fold up the original binding of the quilt and attach it to the quilt top using the same method of binding that is used in the other 3 sides of the quilt making the quilt slightly shorter.