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Ten Steps To Save A Quilt

  1. Each fall and spring, on a dry, windy day, air your quilts outdoors out of direct sunlight.
  2. Then refold your quilts, if they're to be stored, on different lines than before to minimize dark fold lines.
  3. Let your quilts breathe by storing them in a sheet or pillowcase, never in plastic of any kind.
  4. Place another sheet or similar barrier between the pillowcase and any wood shelf or cedar chest, to protect your quilts from acids in the wood.
  5. Show your quilts off -- but in indirect light. Direct light will fade your quilts and age them just as it will your skin!
  6. Treat your quilts as you like to be treated yourself. Give them a cool, dry climate -- don't store them in a hot attic or damp garage.
  7. Remember that a stitch in time saves nine, and make all repairs promptly before they get worse.
  8. Blot up accidents from babies and pets immediately and wash your (washable) quilts right away to minimize stains. (in general, dry cleaning is not recommended for quilts.)
  9. But before you wash, test all fabric and thread colors to be sure they won't run.
  10. Avoid drying your quilts in a dryer or draping them over a clothesline to dry. They many shrink or develop a knife-edge line. Instead, dry flat on clean mattress pads or towels placed on the grass in the shade.

Our 10 Steps are meant for "ordinary quilts" not "VIP's". As in all things, we recommend that you use your own GOOD JUDGMENT about cleaning a quilt. Austin Area Quilt Guild assumes no responsibility for any damage that may occur, since we can't control conditions or methods. If you have any questions or want more information, research further by reading books about quilt care or consult a quilt conservator in your area.

For information about quilt documentation, click here.

Suggested for Further Reading:

  • Bachmann, Konstanze, editor, "Bulletin No. 12: Textile Conservation." New York: Cooper-Hewitt Museum and the New York State Conservancy Consultancy, 1984
  • ____________. "Bulletin No. 13: Warning Signs - When Textiles Need Conservation." New York: Cooper-Hewitt Museum and the New York State Conservancy Consultancy, 1984.
  • Division of Textiles, Smithsonian Institution. "The Care and Cleaning of Antique Cotton and Linen Quilts." Washington, D.C." The National Museum of History and Technology.
  • Green, Sara Wolf. "A Guide to Home Care of Quilts" in From Our Hands. Austin: Texas Memorial Museum, 1986.
  • Gunn, Virginia. "Guide #3. The Care and Conservation of Quilts." San Francisco: American Quilt Study Group (833 Market Street, Suite 620, San Francisco, CA 94103), 1988.
  • Orlofsky, Patsy. "The Collector's Guide for the Care of Quilts in the Home," Quilt Digest 2, San Francisco: Kiracofe and Kile, (955 Fourteenth Street, San Francisco, CA 94114), 1984.
  • Puentes, Nancy O'Bryant. First Aid for Family Quilts. Wheatridge, Colorado: Moon Over the Mountain Publishing Company (Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, 6700 W. 44th Ave., Wheatridge, Colorado 80033), 1986.

Guild Mailing Address:
Austin Area Quilt Guild
P.O. Box 5757
Austin, Tx 78763
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