What to Do with an Old Quilt?

A couple in a room with too much house clutter, illustration

An old quilt can hold a lot of sentimental value and memories, making it difficult to part with. However, there may come a time when it is no longer being used or displayed, and it’s time to consider what to do with it. Fortunately, there are several options available that allow you to preserve the quilt’s sentimental value while also giving it a new purpose.

One option is to repurpose the quilt into a new item. Depending on the condition of the quilt, it could be turned into a pillow, a tote bag, or even a piece of clothing. This not only gives the quilt a new life, but it also allows you to continue to enjoy it in a different form.

Another option is to donate the quilt to a museum or historical society. Quilts can be valuable artifacts that provide insight into the history and culture of a particular time and place. By donating the quilt, you can ensure that it is properly cared for and preserved for future generations to appreciate.

Preserving and Caring for Old Quilts

Old quilts can be valuable family heirlooms or beautiful pieces of history. Preserving and caring for them is essential to ensure their longevity and keep them in good condition. Here are some tips on how to preserve and care for old quilts.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Cleaning and maintaining old quilts is crucial to prevent damage and extend their lifespan. It’s recommended to vacuum clean old quilts regularly to remove dust and dirt. If washing is necessary, use a mild detergent and wash on a gentle cycle. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals that can damage the fabric.

Storing and Displaying

Storing and displaying old quilts properly is important to prevent damage from humidity, direct sunlight, and wear and tear. Store quilts in a dry place away from direct sunlight and in a temperature-controlled environment. Use a quilt hanger, quilt rack, or frame to display the quilt, but avoid hanging it in direct sunlight or in a humid room.

Donating and Selling

If you are considering donating or selling an old quilt, it’s important to assess its condition and value. Donating to a charity or museum can be a great option, but make sure the organization is reputable and has experience handling antique quilts. Selling at a garage sale or online can also be an option, but be aware of the rarity and value of the quilt before setting a price.

Assessing Condition

Assessing the condition of an old quilt is crucial to determine its value and potential for restoration. Look for signs of wear and tear, stains, holes, tears, frayed edges, discoloration, and fading. If the quilt is damaged, consult a professional restorer to determine if it can be repaired.

Appreciating Value

Old quilts can have sentimental or historical value, as well as monetary value. Understanding the rarity, design, pattern, quilter, and textiles used can help determine the value of the quilt. It’s important to appreciate the value of the quilt and handle it with care.

Understanding Significance

Old quilts can hold memories and sentimental value for families and communities. Understanding the significance of the quilt can help preserve its history and meaning. Knowing the quilter, occasion, and purpose of the quilt can provide insight into its cultural and historical significance.

In summary, preserving and caring for old quilts is essential to ensure their longevity and value. By following these tips on cleaning and maintenance, storing and displaying, assessing condition and value, appreciating value, and understanding significance, you can help preserve the beauty and history of old quilts for generations to come.

Repurposing Old Quilts

If you have an old quilt that is no longer in use, don’t throw it away! There are plenty of creative ways to repurpose it and give it a new life. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Home Decor

Old quilts can make great decorative pieces for your home. You can use them as wall hangings, table runners, or even as covers for chairs and sofas. If you have a large quilt, you can frame it and turn it into a piece of art for your wall. You can also cut smaller pieces of the quilt and use them to cover decorative pillows.

Fashion and Accessories

Quilts can also be repurposed into fashionable items and accessories. You can turn a quilt into a bag or tote, or even use it to make a jacket. If you have smaller pieces of the quilt, you can use them to make buttons or patchwork designs on clothing. A quilted tote bag or jacket can be a unique and stylish addition to your wardrobe.

Pet Items

If you have pets, you can repurpose your old quilt to make them a cozy bed. Cut the quilt to the size of your pet’s bed and sew it together. You can also use smaller pieces of the quilt to make stuffed animals or stockings for your pets.

DIY Craft Ideas

There are endless DIY craft ideas that you can create with old quilts. You can use the fabric pieces to make patchwork designs on other items, or even create a quilted wall hanging. If you have a sewing machine, you can use the quilt to make covers for notebooks or journals.

Upcycling Old Quilts

Upcycling old quilts is a great way to give them a new life. You can use the quilt to make a variety of items, from home decor to fashion accessories. By repurposing your old quilt, you are also reducing waste and contributing to a more sustainable future.

Using Quilts in Everyday Life

Quilts are not just for keeping warm at night. They can be used in a variety of ways to add color, texture, and warmth to your home decor. Here are some ideas for using quilts in your everyday life:

Bed and Couch Throws

A quilt is the perfect addition to a bed or couch. It can be used as a throw to add warmth and comfort to your space. A quilt can also be folded and placed at the foot of the bed for a decorative touch.

Table Runners and Placemats

Quilts can be used as table runners and placemats to add a pop of color and texture to your dining table. They also help protect your table from scratches and spills.

Tote Bags and Accessories

Quilts can be repurposed into tote bags and accessories such as pouches, cosmetic bags, and even jackets. These statement pieces are perfect for adding a unique touch to your fashion.

Statement Pieces

Quilts can be hung on walls as statement pieces. They add color and texture to a room and can be used to create a focal point.

Gifts and Keepsakes

Quilts make great gifts for family and friends. They can also be passed down as family heirlooms, carrying memories and stories from generation to generation.

Coasters and Small Decor

Quilts can be cut into smaller pieces and used as coasters or small decor items. They add a touch of color and texture to any space.

Quilt Guild Activities

Joining a quilt guild is a great way to meet like-minded individuals and share your passion for quilting. Guild activities include workshops, retreats, and exhibitions.

In conclusion, quilts are versatile and can be used in a variety of ways to add warmth, color, and texture to your everyday life.

When to Let Go of Old Quilts

Old quilts can hold sentimental value and memories, but sometimes it’s necessary to let them go. Here are some situations where it might be time to part ways with an old quilt:

Wear and Tear

Quilts that have been used for many years may start to show signs of wear and tear. This can include frayed edges, faded colors, and loose threads. While some wear and tear can add character to a quilt, if it becomes too damaged, it may be time to retire it.


Stains can be difficult to remove from quilts, especially if they have set in over time. If a quilt has a large or noticeable stain that cannot be removed, it may be time to let it go.

Holes and Tears

Holes and tears can be caused by a variety of factors, including moths, pets, or general wear and tear. While small holes and tears can be repaired, larger ones may be too difficult or costly to fix.


If a quilt is extremely tattered and falling apart, it may be time to say goodbye. While it can be difficult to part with a beloved quilt, keeping it in this condition can be dangerous, as loose threads and fabric can pose a choking hazard.

Donating or Selling

If a quilt is still in good condition but is no longer needed or wanted, it can be donated to a charity or sold. Many organizations accept donations of quilts, especially those that can be used to help people in need. Selling a quilt can also be a good option, especially if it has historical or sentimental value.

Overall, it’s important to evaluate the condition and usefulness of an old quilt before deciding whether to keep it or let it go. While it can be difficult to part with a beloved item, sometimes it’s necessary to make space for new memories and experiences.

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