One of the best feelings ever: Giving someone the gift of a beautiful quilt you’ve made just for them.
One of the worst feelings ever: Finding out later that said beautiful quilt is starting to come apart!
For Christmas 2011, I gave my dad a quilt. Partly because of my haste in sewing it, and partly because it’s been thrown in the washing machine a bunch of times, some seams are starting to give. While I know my mum can easily stitch that quilt up, I want to make sure that any future quilts that I make for gifts are a lot more durable. Here are some tips that I’ll be using from now on.
- Use 100% cotton thread for strong, long lasting stitches.
- Same goes for fabric — 100% cotton fabric! It stands up to wear and doesn’t fray as much as synthetics. Higher quality cottons have a tighter weave and will generally last longer.
- Always prewash your fabric so it doesn’t shrink and bunch up your seams.
- Prior to sewing, inspect your fabric for flaws, pulled threads or holes.
- Second-hand sheets are an excellent source of cheap, high-quality cotton.
- Use cotton batting rather than polyester if you can afford it. It will hold up better to lots of use and washing.
- When quilting your quilt, more is more! The more quilting your quilt has, the less the layers can move around and pull on your seams.
- When piecing your quilt, make sure at you have at least a 1/4″ seam allowance in case the fabric frays. It’s a pain, but restitch if needed — you’ll be glad when you aren’t restitching up a ripped quilt!
- For the keeners out there, backstitch or tie a knot at the end of each seam when piecing. (Note: I will never have the patience to do this)
- When piecing, you can stitch your pieces to a muslin backing so there is less stress on seams. (For example, Jordy did this for her string-pieced quilt.)
- Machine quilting seams will be stronger and more durable than hand quilted seams.
Cleaning Your Quilt
- Don’t wash the quilt unless you have to. Rather, air out your quilt if you just want to freshen it up.
- Wash using mild detergent.
- If drying in your machine, use the gentle cycle.
- If drying in your machine, you can add a dry towel to the mix. It will soak up the moisture and your quilt won’t need to be in there as long.
- Air drying your quilt is best!
A final tip: If your quilt is a gift, include cleaning instructions with it. Your beautiful quilt will last for much longer and you won’t have to worry about it falling apart!
I’m currently making a couple of quilts that I will be giving as wedding gifts this year. I’ll definitely be using these techniques as much as possible so the quilts can be enjoyed for many years to come!
Do you have any tips for making quilts more durable? Share it with us in the comments!