Monday, July 28, 2014

Bunny Crib Quilt - A Success Story

I think I mentioned some time ago that I have decided to stop saying that I was not buying anymore quilts. I understand now that I am helpless in the face of a quilt I really like at really nice price.
So I happily share with you my most recent addition.

The applique is well done and the hand quilting fine. There is embroidered detail on the central rose.

How could I pass this up? Well, it didn't always look this good which is probably why I got it for $38.

OUCH! Some very large and obvious stains on that nice white background. But so CUTE. I had to take a chance.

I was anxious to see what I could do with it. Working on stains is always a multi-step process involving patience and trial and error. It is a risk and the outcome is always unknown . However, I don't believe a dirty or soiled quilt is a good thing and I kind of enjoy the challenge.

Here's what I did:

First I made a paste of water and Restoration and applied just to that area. (It ended up being more watery than pastey  because I wanted the crystals to be dissolved.)
I worked over a large white plastic bowl on the top of my washing machine. I was able to clothespin it to the edge so that it was taut and I could apply the solution to a small area and have the excess drip into the bowl to be used again. I used a small plastic measuring cup with a spout.
I  thought I could see it working right away.

I let it soak that way for awhile. Then, I rubbed a bit of my Aunt Agnes' homemade bar soap into one stain to see what happened. (This is the only thing that got my boys socks clean - you know how they wear them outside without shoes...on blacktop?) Her recipe had  lye in and and who knows what-all but I recall my Mom saving bacon grease for her to make it. She had such a supply that both my sister and I still have some bars and she passed away in 1981!!
So back to my project.
I gingerly rubbed the yellowed bar on the stains and quickly manipulated the fabric by hand to rub it in all the way. Dilute with more water....
I was excited that even while still wet the stains were getting much lighter.
Okay. Here's the scary part. I put a TINY bit of bleach in a cup of water. I mean about 1/4 teaspoon. VERY diluted. I was careful to direct it onto the stains and avoided colored fabrics - AND  I have pure clean water at the ready to pour through it almost immediately.

My supplies
After all of this attention to detail I immersed the whole quilt into the washing machine with a 'friendly' soap I get at Whole Foods with no brighteners, bleaches etc. I let it sit in the suds without agitation for a bit  then set it for 'hand wash'.
I put it in the dryer on low with a couple of dry,white towels to help fill the dryer and cushion the quilt as it cycles around. I opened the dryer at 10 minutes and took it out while still damp.
Voila.... I laid it on a white sheet on the floor to finish drying and manipulated it gently to square it up. When dry, the quilting really showed nicely and I felt I"d improved it greatly.

It reminds me a little bit of another cute appliqued crib quilt in my collection, one I also washed:

This is a little pillow cover - The bottom white piece would tuck in and be whip stitched after inserting the pillow. The maker simplified and reduced the size of the posy.

Have you washed a vintage quilt?


  1. Love the bunny quilt!
    No, I've never washed a vintage quilt, but I have one that needs it!

  2. I think most of your readers wish we had the recipe for Aunt Agnes' wonder-soap! How lucky that you still have some after all this time. I've washed a couple vintage quilts and soaked many other vintage linens. The quilts were also soaked prior to going into the front loading machine on 'hand wash' cycle. Soaking solution is approximately equal parts of Biz powder and blue (original) liquid Dawn dishwashing soap in hot water. Have an antique quilt (1890s-1910 era fabrics) that has surface stains on a portion of the top. I had hoped to hand wash that one but the backing fabric, a wonderful cheater print, bled the instant I touched a damp q-tip to it, so the quilt will need to be top-surface cleaned only with well-wrung out cloth or sponge. Do you have any other suggestions for cleaning one in this condition?

    1. I thought Biz was unavailable now? I'm afraid I have no suggestions for your quilt that bled when tested. Your method of a wrung out cloth or sponge is new to me....have you had success with that? I'm always afraid I'll just make 'mud'! Let me know how it turns out. I have a Double Wedding Ring where the pink bled when I tried to remove some pencil marks for quilting. I decided to leave it alone.

    2. Biz is still available. I buy it at Publix.

    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    4. thanks, Catherine Breaux, for that info. No such stores in MN but I suspect in the south? Maybe on-line, then.

  3. Such wonderful information! What a cute baby quilt, I can see why you couldn't pass it by!

  4. It came out wonderful! I've washed many quilts with only one failure...but I knew that going in to it!

    1. Pretty good record! I know when I decide to give it a try that I will accept whatever happens and maybe learn from it!!

  5. Very helpful blog post. I've so many that need this kind of TLC!


Thanks for adding your comments!