It is important to take good care of precious family heirlooms that have been passed down from generation to generation. It could be art, photos, clothes, curios or knick-knacks, even stuff like quilts, tableware, etc. Methods of preservation and maintenance vary with the kind of objects you want to hold on to; this is also true on antique quilts which may have been bequeathed to you by elders in your family. To learn how to store antique quilts in the proper manner, read through the steps which follow.
Methods of storage. You can safely store your antique and old quilts in a variety of ways which will ensure that they remain preserved and last for a long time. Whatever method of storage you are using, it is important to remember to take a few precautions such as:
- Avoid material such as plastic, paper, cardboard or wood for storing your quilts. This may lead to thinning of the quilt fabric, staining or tears which may not be possible to mend or clean.
- Store quilts in a cool, dark place where they are not exposed to bright lights or direct sunlight, which may cause the colors to fade
- Make sure that the quilts are always dry and free of any kind of moisture or damp, before storing them.
Storing quilts in the open. A simple method of storing antique quilts is to spread them flat over an unused bed or mattress, in a room or space where there is usually less traffic. Place an old sheet or blanket on top of the bed, then spread the quilt over this. If you have more than one quilt, layer them on the surface, one by one and then cover them with another old thick sheet or coverlet. This will prevent dust from accumulating on the quilts, shade them from direct light and keep the quilt material safe from disintegration.
Folding quilts. Never fold quilts as you would any other sheets or fabrics. Always place the quilt between two old bed sheets and use an accordion-like pattern to fold them, so that no creases are formed and the fabric remains intact.
Storing in small spaces. If you find that you have no space sufficient to store the quilts in the methods discussed in the previous steps, try the following instead:
- Fold the quilts in the accordion pattern as in the previous step; place it in a container such as a Rubbermaid pack or cases made specially for storing old quilts.
- Place these cases under the bed or in overhead cabinets that are dry and free of moisture and damp.
Hanging quilts. This is yet another method of storing your antique quilts, provided you take all precautions as listed in step one. Create a sleeve of fabric around 4-5 inches wide, attach it to the top back edge of the quilt and tuck in all layers of the quilt along the entire length with stitches every inch or so. Next, use a strong rod which will take the load of the quit fully without bending or breaking. Push the rod through the fabric sleeve created and hang it on the wall. However, make sure not to leave the quilts hanging on the wall for long periods of time. Ideally, you can hang the quilts in this manner for about half of the year and store them in any of the other methods, for the next 6 months.
Following the correct methods of storing antique quilts will ensure that they are well-preserved in good conditions for a long time. Also important is that, you don't have to spend too much time or money in storing them in the correct manner.