Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Simple Quilt Patch Tutorial

I realized today that I have an irrational fear of slipping on wet sidewalks.

I went out to get the mail and I tiptoed the entire way there and back... I even tested the traction on my shoes. Twice.

By the way, the traction was just fine.  I wouldn't have hydroplaned in them even if I tried to on purpose.

Being that it was too rainy to take the dogs for a walk and I didn't have a hubby to entain me during naptimes [National Guard weekend], I took to fixing a quilt of mine that has been out of commission for over four years.

That's right. It's been needing work practically since I got married.

I made this quilt in high school.  I can proudly say that it is my very first quilt ever done [except the actual quilting part.  Ironic?]. It was my bedspread during my two years in college dorms.  Sadly, a couple months after I got married the quilt was viciously torn apart by a wild monster -

affectionately named J.J.

He was my pet while Josh was doing six months of Army training right after we got married. Not my favorite pet, being that he bit my ears, was super boring, smelled, and nibbled himself a hole through my precious quilt.

I spent a lot of time searching for the proper way to fix holes in quilts, but all the tutorials I found either were way to complicated or didn't make any sense.

So the poor thing sat in boxes and moved four times while waiting to be put back together.

At one point I actually mapped out a plan for fixing it that involved re-sewing another block over the original and then trying to free-motion quilt the original pattern over the newly sewn patch.  Reality is, I'm not that good - or that brave.

So I instead came up with this Simple Quilt Patch that, now that I'm finished, I'm actually pretty happy with.  The quilt looks a little bit more on the homemade side, but what's a good family heirloom without some personality?

A Simple Quilt Patch Tutorial

Time: about an hour for each patch

  • Proper sized matching pieces of fabric for front and back [if patching is needed on both sides]
  • scissors
  • iron and ironing board
  • pins
  • needle
  • thread [I used glaced quilting thread - the kind that is typically used for hand quilting]

*the pictures were taken while I patched up the back of the quilt - it is the exact same process for both sides.*

One - Cut your piece of patching fabric large enough to cover your hole, plus at least 1/4 inch extra room on all sides.

Two - Place your fabric wrong side up on the ironing board. Fold each edge 1/4 inch inside and press with your iron, one by one. Then flip the fabric over and press, with edges still folded. This will give your patch clean edges.

Three - Pin your patch over the hole.  Make sure that the quilt fabric along you will be sewing into is still is good condition.  You don't want to have your patch rip off due to unravelling anchor fabric.

Four - Start sewing!  I started at a corner and then just hand stitched my way around.  As you can see from the picture, I did really small stitches [only about 1/8 inch long, at most].  This was to make sure that the patch would be really tightly sewn to the quilt, being that it will be the only barrier between the hole and the mean world.

Five - When you get all the way around, tie off and admire your work!

Six [Optional] - once your get both sides patched up [if needed], you can re-quilt your patched up area to match the rest of the quilt.  I did not feel brave enough to attempt this, because my quilt was originally quilted by a machine using software.  I'm not that good of a free motion quilter; maybe in 20 years if I work at it.

End notes - I was actually shocked how well the blue patch camoflauged its way into the quilt.  I really wasn't expecting that, so bonus!  And even though the underside patch is definitely noticeable, it was a piece of the white fabric that I had used on the front, so it complemented the quilt as a whole.

a quick game of where's waldo the patch?
I honestly don't know if, at this point, the quilt will be able to withstand any serious washing in a washing machine. I am going to have to give it a try soon, though, because I found a few stains that were most likely made by a dog during some midnight sneakings to cuddle on the blanket while it hung out on the floor.

Update 1/31/13: I sent the quilt through the washing machine - it survived!

 What do you think?  Have you come up with any awesome ways to patch up something worn and loved?


  1. Good job. I really cannot see the patch on the front. I'm glad you got it fixed. That quilt has a special place in my heart...your first adventure into sewing after deciding you didn't like the hobby following your first year in 4-H, and my inspiration to take up the hobby after your brother graduated from high school. You've come a long way as a seamstress/quilter/crafter!

  2. Thank you for the simple fix with great photos to illustrate the steps! I agree that mismatched and not-so-perfect patches only add character to your quilt. And simple is better!

  3. Thanks for this. You may hear my sigh of relief. I am not a quilter, and was guessing. This is pretty much what I have been doing to a really old quilt that my mother-in-law made in the 50's.