How to Repair Holes and Tears in Quilt Tops

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Hi there, I’m hoping you can help me. I have a newly finished quilt that got a small hole in the top from my cat’s claws. What’s the best way to repair this so that my quilt still looks okay?



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NQC Answer

Not to worry, this should be a fairly easy fix. If the hole is on the quilt top in a place where you can hand stitch it, that would be the best way to repair it and make it less visible.

I have also fixed small holes by cutting a small piece of lightweight fusible interfacing, inserting it into the quilt under the rip with the fusible side facing the wrong side of the quilt top. You can then align the edges of the rip and “fuse” it back together.

Good luck!

Ashley

Related link: Types of Interfacing Fabric and Interfacing Sewing (links to National Sewing Circle website)


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Discussion
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32 Responses to “How to Repair Holes and Tears in Quilt Tops”
  1. Camille

    I like the suggestions Ashley offered and have another that I have implemented. I used a scrap piece of the fabric that matched the pattern where the repair was needed and needle turned a small applique circle over the hole/tear.

    Reply
  2. Tracy

    Hi I have never done quilting so where do I start. I an an experienced sewing for over 35 years so I thought I’d try something new. So quilting here I come.

    Reply
    • Vickie

      I have sewn for many yrs. I’m sure if you love to create beautiful things you will really have lots of fun. Get a couple goid rulers. A cutting mat and a rotary cutter and scissors will get you started. U tube has some talented ladies to show you how. Like Jenny at Missouri Star Quilts. Have fun. Txt me if you need .

      Reply
      • Joyce Owens

        I have found that a quarter inch foot is very valuable. When I first started making quilts I didn’t realize how important exact quarter inch seams were, trust me, I learned a lot on that first quilt.

        Reply
      • Brenda

        Also check your local quilt shop for beginning quilting classes. If there’s a nearby Quilt Guild-those ladies are always happy to help a “new recruit” and you don’t have to join right away. For most, you can attend meetings which often have some great speakers/teachers, for a small fee until you decide whether it’s for you or not.

        Reply
  3. Gayle

    My mother made me a butterfly quilt the year before she pssed away. She was 89 years old. I will cherish it for the rest of my life. The problem is it has no border and I don’t know how to quilt and finish it. Thanks new member

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Gayle. We have many videos that can help you learn how to add borders, quilt and finish the quilt if you decide to do so. Here is a link to an entire category of videos on borders: https://www.nationalquilterscircle.com/videos/borders/
      Quilting borders is a fun and easy way to enhance your pieces. Learn how to create a variety of borders and discover helpful techniques in these videos. And here is a category on quilting: https://www.nationalquilterscircle.com/videos/quilting/
      Learn from experts to efficiently and effectively quilt your masterpiece. Follow along for tutorials on how to quilting lines and designs, like a pro. Hopefully these help provide you some direction.

      Reply
  4. Michele

    For larger holes or frayed/stained pieces, my quilting mentor appliques a new piece of material directly over the entire bad piece – I’m amazed at how good the repairs look!

    Reply
  5. Cheryl Grider

    Does anyone loom knit? 😃 I need to know how many pegs it takes for a 7″ wide single knit with using Red Heart yarn (4ply worsted yarn). What brand of loom are you using? I have Knifty Knitter, Boye, and the loom from Michael’s.

    Reply
  6. Mary Ann

    Unusual problem husband put hot iron on my white on white baby quit lying and plasticmrlted on it I am devastated because I am loosing my vision and can’t make another what can I do I can send a picture. Help

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Mary Ann. If you are unable to remove the melted plastic from the fabric, or even if you have and it has left a permanent mark- you may need to try and patch over the area. I would cut away as much of the “hard” parts of the fabric as possible, meaning anything that feels rough due to being melted. Then, you could place a new piece of white fabric over the area and quilt over it, tying the new quilting into whatever quilting is already on the quilt. This will probably be your easiest option, as trying to take the quilt apart to patch it can be tedious.

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  7. Leanne

    I saw a suggestion somewhere in my quilting searches that suggested putting a scrap of each fabric used in the quilt either in a small baggy with care directions or under the quilt label if it is large enough. The reason for under the quilt label was that when the quilt is laundered, the scraps will fade at the same rate as the quilt. Of course, there might be an issue with that in that if you are quilting with strong colors, they may bleed or you would need to make them color fast prior to finishing and giving the quilt. Most of us keep scraps of fabric and have enough to share them with the quilt recipient. Personally, I plan to print out a care instruction sheet and just put the fabric scraps in a baggy so the recipient can use them if needed for repairs.

    Reply
    • Leanne

      Additionally, I think I will get some Shout Color Catchers to include with the baggy, care instructions and fabric scraps.

      Reply
  8. Diane

    How can I fix a hole that my son’s dog has chewed all the way through on a quilt? The hole is bigger than my hand includes top, batting and backing? I can’t find same pattern material but found some close to the same print.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Diane. I believe the only way to fix a hole of this size is to create a patch. Since you will need to be replacing all layers of the quilt I would recommend stitching the backing in place, then use some temporary spray adhesive to add a small amount of batting to the area. You can then hand stitch the edges of the new batting with the old batting, however the spray adhesive will help hold it in place while you do so. You can then add your patch to the quilt top. I would recommend pressing under the edges of the fabric being added and then hand stitching it in place using a hand applique stitch. Since you can not find the exact fabric it is up to you as to whether you want to try and blend/hide the patch as best you can, or use a contrasting fabric/shape to make the patch stand out as a decorative element.

      Hope this helps!
      Thanks
      Ashley-NQC

      Reply
  9. Ada

    I made a baby blanket 14yrs ago and he is sleeping with it. It has ripped from top to bottom. He doesn’t want it replaced with a new one. what can I do??

    Reply
  10. Darla

    My granddaughter is 4 and has this baby quilt shes had since birth. Well her dog chewed a hole of the front thats about 6 or 8 squares in size. Its an odd color for a baby quilt its red, black and white with different patterns. She wants something with butterflies to fix the hole.
    NEED HELP!! ANY SUGGESTIONS??

    Reply
  11. Betty

    I have a newly finished quilt that got a small hole/prick in the top from my scissors. It is getting larger. Can it be repaired with Liquid Stitch Permanent Adhesive Original? I’m not sure I can tack it without it showing but want to know which is the best.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Betty,

      Yes, the small hole can be repaired with this. Another way to repair it would be to slip a small piece of fusible interfacing inside the quilt (if possible) with the adhesive side against the wrong side of the fabric where the hole is. You can then realign the fabric and press using an iron to adhere it in place. To make sure it is extra secure and won’t get bigger you could then use the Liquid Stitch.

      Hope this helps,

      Becky
      National Quilters Circle Video Membership

      We’d love to have you be a part of our community. We are convinced you will enjoy the benefits of becoming a member and having access to the best instructional how to videos and professional tips. We would like to offer you a special promotion for your first year membership.
      https://go.nationalquilterscircle.com/C13661

      Reply
  12. Susan

    I have an old quilt top (not finished) that I believe my great aunt made. Very large! She was born in the late 1800’s. Two different fabrics are splitting and not very strong. Not too many of it used but enough to try and find a fix. I was wondering if I put some kind of fusible webbing on the back of the two fabrics would it ruin the value of the quilt top? I also would like some advice on whether I should finish the quilt and how I should go about doing that if the answer is “yes”? I know it would all have to be done by hand and I am willing to do whatever I need to fix it properly. However, I do not have a lot of money to have someone do it for me. I have made my own quilts and I know how to do it. I really just need the advice on how to repair and hopefully finish it according to the time period. The material looks to me to be around the civil war so I am unsure if her mother, my great grandmother made it or not? I only wish I knew! There are a lot of browns, golds, rusty reds and creams. It is in a log cabin pattern. Each square half dark and half light. Most of the fabric is in great shape, strong with only a few small unknown stains. Just the two are weak and splitting. One appears to not be all cotton. I don’t know exactly what it is. I hope you can help me? I would appreciate any that you can give me. Thank you. Susan

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Susan,

      Unfortunately I can not speak to whether or not that would change the overall value of the quilt. I would recommend reaching out to someone who can appraise and value and quilt and see what they say.

      Cheers,

      Ashley
      National Quilters Circle Video Membership

      We’d love to have you be a part of our community. We are convinced you will enjoy the benefits of becoming a member and having access to the best instructional how to videos and professional tips. We would like to offer you a special promotion for your first-year membership.
      https://go.nationalquilterscircle.com/C15964

      Reply
  13. Patricia

    I have a very old quilt made by my grandmother before I was born (actually I have two). The one I use all the time was made using squares of rayon from her old dresses and tied as opposed to quilting. A lot of the seams are coming apart and some of the fabric is literally disintegrating, I’m 66 after all and she made them before I was born. I just cannot give up this quilt. It stays by my easy chair all the time.

    To shore them up the seams I am embroidering over every seam with six threads in pretty stitches in order to help stabilize all the seams. I’m stitching clear through the backing that is rotting. In the spots where the fabric is disintegrating I’m going to piece in a bit of rayon from my fabric stash and embroider to pull them together. Once all the repairs are complete I’m going to put on a new backing and since the binding is coming apart also so I will make a self binding from the backing. Then I will tie it all over again.

    Hopefully, when I’ve done all of this it will be sturdy enough to last through the rest of my life. But, if I have to I will repair it again.

    Reply
  14. Win

    When I find a gap, a tear or a stain, I applique a butterfly , by hand. It is my signature, and does not detract.

    Reply
  15. Heather

    When I sew a label to the back of a quilt I put small pieces of the quilt materials in case it should need a repair. It will be washed and used just like the top so it will always match.

    Reply
  16. Deb

    A non quilting friend made a baby quilt for her firstborn, a cherished well loved and worn quilt. she asked if I could mend it for her first grandchild. It was in “classic” 70s calico prints. Some fairly large holes. I cut hearts in coordinating solid colors. I used Eleanor Burns technique of light fusible facing, then turn “sticky side” out. Pressed over holes randomly then hand appliqued onto the quilt. The light facing gave a bit more stability and made the applique easier for non applique quilter. Has survived 2nd grandchild so far.

    Reply
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