August 3, 2014

Embroidery and Prairie Points

Next up in the quilt repair queue:  The stitching on this one, both the embroidery and the quilting, is really expert.  And then it has the prairie points giving a nice sparkle to the edge.  Try imagining the quilt without them; it really would lose a lot of spirit.

Sadly, this lovely embroidered quilt had an unfortunate interaction with the family dog.

Here's the repair step-by-step.

I traced the whole area including the embroidery and quilting that will need to be restitched.  And cut patches of the new off-white fabric.

I secured the ends of the broken embroidery threads.  Sometimes this entailed pulling out some good stitches, backing up enough to have enough thread to knot.  I also took out stitches which would be under the patches. This is perle cotton, so it's thick enough to make it difficult to sew new thread in the exact same place.

I pinned the patch in place, and decided that it looked a tad too bright.

I experimented by laying tiny swatches of several fabrics on the quilt, and then squinted at them to see which one disappeared the best.  I found another, creamier fabric (can you tell which one I chose?), and re-cut the patches.  It's a small difference, well, infinitesimal actually, but I ended up happier.

Matching fabrics and threads for repair work rarely means finding an exact match, of course, given the passage of time.  I find that choosing the one that is a bit too dark is almost always preferable to choosing the one that is a bit too light.

Here's the completed patching.

I've talked about the issue of matching old colors in several previous posts:
faded red and old white
using rust and tan to repair what used to be a red and white schoolhouse quilt
matching red on a Victorian silk crazy quilt
matching old whites on a blazing star quilt

To mark the placement of the embroidery and quilting, I laid the tracing paper over the patch, inserted pins at the embroidery and quilting marks.

Then I lifted the paper back, and drew guidelines for the stitching with a big pin.  This scores the fabric enough to see in good light (actually light that comes in at a bit of a slant, so there is a shadow created). It can be tricky to get it just right to see, but the plus is that there is no marking to remove.  This seems ever so much safer to me.

I found the perfectly matching perle cottons at North Shore Needleworks - tons of glorious colors and tons of types of thread and super helpful staff.  No affiliation / highly recommended.  

And here is the completed repair.

The whole-quilt photo at the top of this post was taken after the repair was complete.  The repaired block is center of the bottom row.

This is one of my most successful repairs, if I do say so myself.  I'm really happy that I stopped and recut the patches.  I always figure that the time is well-spent - an extra half hour now will stave off years of the I-wish-I-had's.  I have to talk myself into it that way every time!


  1. Very impressive skill and patience to find the right shade of fabric to use. It turned out just lovely and wonderful technique to make repairs. Thanks for sharing what you did, and how it looked along the thought process while working on it. Job done with great expertise!