May 24, 2023

Rayon String Quilt

This small quilt that came to me for repair is a family heirloom with a touching story.  

Here's the story as told by the owner:
Thanks so much for restoring this quilt.  It was made for my grandfather around 1962-63 after he suffered three consecutive heart attacks.  Two women who worked in his accounting practice made the quilt, so it is precious to me.

What made the repair fun for me were the fabrics.

The fabric with the most disintegration was probably silk, given the nature of the damage.  But the rest are probably rayons.  (I didn't do any fiber testing because there weren't any really loose threads to remove and test.)  The feel of the quilt is wonderfully soft and light, a real pleasure to handle while sewing.

Here's the damaged silk (the best preserved of the 4 places it was used).  

I decided to patch with rayon.  I had nothing in either silk or rayon that echoed the colors and styles. 

I ordered a modern floral rayon (on the left) to try out in person, with a very similar blue but a much denser print.  There also was a better match (on the right), though the green was a bit garish compared to the other greens in the quilt.  More importantly, it was a good-sized piece of vintage fabric and appropriately highly priced.

A fun moment with this quilt while looking over the photos the customer had sent for me to see prior to sending the quilt to me.  I wondered why she hadn't counted the tan fabric in the photo above, clearly a badly shattered silk.

Turns out, that's a  **print**, just as sturdy as the day it was made.  I found my self touching it every time I noticed it just to keep reassuring myself that it wasn't the shattered silk it looked like!

There was also a handsome brown stripe that really was splitting. 

I tried out this rayon, not a stripe of course, but with colors that echoed other fabrics in the quilt.  But it was too pale for that spot, kind of blending into its neighboring fabrics.  I also auditioned a vintage floral on green print in my rayons stash, because there were some similar greens on the quilt, and ended up using that one. 


The other issue with the quilt was that lots of the embroidery was either missing or very, very weak.  I replaced those stitches with 2 strands of embroidery floss, as had been done on the original stitching.  I had to learn a new-to-me stitch - the cretan stitch.  I found instructions for it in the little, vintage embroidery book that I have from my mom's sewing supplies, and still use for almost all my embroidery needs.




Here are a couple of shots of some other really great prints in the quilt and the paisley print on the back, which was brought to the front as binding.  


And finally, the finished quilt.  I'm happy with the fabric choices, even though neither totally replicates the originals.


No comments:

Post a Comment