Posted by Lukas Kowalewski


Antique quilts carry pieces of history and can evoke powerful emotions. They’re often passed down through families as heirlooms, but vintage quilts can also be found at thrift stores, flea markets, and more. 

Over time, vintage quilts can become extremely worn, dirty, or dull, but restoring old quilts can bring them back to their former glory and extend their lives. 

But antique quilt restoration can be intimidating, as working with vintage quilts requires extra care. 

Here’s what you need to know about caring for vintage quilts. 


How to Clean an Antique Quilt 

Many times, vintage quilts will require some gentle cleaning. Antique fabrics cannot be treated the same as new fabrics, they are very delicate. Only wash the quilt with water if the soil is damaging the fabrics. Vintage quilts with a musty smell can be aired out with some fresh air. Hang them up outside (out of direct sunlight) on a nice, breezy day.

Start by vacuuming the quilt to remove dust and debris. Use a brush attachment and the lowest power setting for that. If it really needs a wash, avoid stain removers or other harsh additives. Never dry clean vintage quilts. Wash by hand or on a delicate setting, and allow it it air dry.


Properly Storing Old Quilts

When not displaying vintage quilts, they should be stored correctly to prevent further deterioration. Avoid plastic tubs or containers for old quilts. Instead, roll the quilt in acid-free paper and place it in an acid-free box. Keep the box in a cool, dry spot out of the light. To avoid permanent creases, take the quilt out and refold along different lines every few months. 


Antique Quilt Restoration 

Some vintage quilts require restoration. Restoring old quilts is extremely rewarding, but must be done with caution. True antique quilt restoration involves revitalizing the quilt back to its original condition as closely as possible. Conservation is another technique for vintage quilts that simply involves maintaining the current condition of the quilt. 

Make sure you do not do anything that can’t be undone. Rather than remove old fabrics or seems, it’s best to simply patch and keep the original underneath. Cutting threads can weaken the structure and lead to more damage. Refrain from infusion your own design tastes into the vintage quilts, instead try to simply revitalize the original look. 

Antique quilt restoration does take careful planning and significant time, but it can be extremely rewarding. To get all of your supplies, look to the best fabric stores in Canada. Shop online for everything you need for antique quilt restoration at Runaway Quilting