Hi! It’s finally spring! Believe it or not, you should do a little spring cleaning in your sewing area. In this post, I will give you some tips on things you can do. Also, I have included some quilt storage tips for those quilts that you do not have on display all year round. We need to take care of them when we display them and when we store them! So let’s get on with it.
Spring Cleaning Tips
Tip #1: Go through your fabric stash. If you look closely, there are probably pieces of “what was I thinking when I bought this” fabric. You know you’ll never use it, but throw it away? No way! Gather your sewing friends together and do an exchange. Someone in your group will love what you don’t anymore. Another option is to donate fabric to your guild or church for making community comfort quilts. This way, you will know the fabric goes to a good use.
Tip#2: Notions and threads. Organize your notions and threads so they are easier to get to and you know where everything is. Seems like a simple thing to do, but many times I have ended up with a drawer or two that was a jumble of threads, needle packs and extra scissors and rotary cutters. One thing I like to do is use everyday items for organization. Like this $1.00 mug holder found at a garage sale. Perfect for my scissors and cutters!
Once you have those organized, then it’s on to the rulers.
Tip#3: Use a pegboard to hang rulers next to your cutting table! I found this at my local home improvement store.
If you don’t have a dedicated sewing space, you can use hangers to store your rulers in a closet. Here are two different examples below. In the photo below is a hanger that is designed for ties or scarves. You can loop a jump ring or some kind of hook through the ruler hole and then hang them. On the far right is a skirt or pant hanger. You can clip your rulers to these and hang them.
Cleaning and Storing Quilts
Now onto caring for your quilts. If you are like me, you like to display some quilts around the house. But they will get dirty. Here are some tips I have found and have used with good results. The methods you use to clean your quilts will be a personal choice based on how important the quilt it to you. These tips are NOT for antique or family heirloom quilts. It’s best to consult a textile preservation expert for those quilts that are very old with weaker seams and fibers.
The main thing is to be careful with any type of cleaning.
Tip#1: Light cleaning – For wall quilts that can collect dust or cobwebs, use the soft brush attachment (like pictured below) for your vacuum cleaner and, on the low suction setting, brush across the surface of the quilt.
Do not use any kind of attachment that has moving parts like a pet hair attachment. Those moving parts can possibly catch on the fabric or the seams and cause damage. If the wall quilt has picked up a musty smell or another smell from the room it is in, it can be aired out by placing it outside (in a shady area) on a clean sheet. For cleaning large quilts, lay it out on a flat surface and vacuum with the soft brush attachment. They can also be aired out using the same method as a wall quilt.
Do not shake quilts like you do for rugs since that can weaken seams.
For cat or dog hair, I use the lint rollers made for clothes. Gently rolling these across the surface of the quilt will pick up the stray hairs without damaging seams.
Tip #2: Washing – If you must wash a quilt, be sure to use a gentle soap. Wash on gentle and I throw in a few Shout Color Catcher sheets in case I’m worried about a fabric that might bleed. Be cautious of this if you are not a pre-washer of fabric. If you do not pre-wash and you are unsure of a fabric in the quilt, I would advise against washing.
If you do wash it and need to dry, it’s best to air dry it. You can put it in the dryer for 10 minutes or so on “air fluff” setting to get the dampness out. Then lay the quilt out on a clean sheet on a flat surface to finish. Never hang a quilt on a clothesline which can put stress on the seams. Also, do not wring out a quilt.
Tip #3: Storage – First, it’s a good idea to learn how to fold a quilt in a way that is the least damaging to the seams and fabric fibers. This is for large quilts. To begin, lay the quilt out flat and make a first fold on the bias:
The next 3 photos show the next 3 folds to make to end up with your quilt folded and protected:
Even though the bias option is the best, the other way I fold quilts is in thirds. The following photos will show how that is done. The first two folds:
And here are the remaining folds:
For smaller quilts, I like to hang them from clip hangers in an unused closet.
Some final thoughts on storing quilts
Do not store them in the basement or attic of your home where the temperature and humidity is not at ideal levels.
Do not stack too many folded quilts on top of one another.
Do not store quilts in plastic containers or bags. Plastic can trap moisture which could develop mold that will stain quilts.
Do use clean white sheets to cover a stack of quilts for protection.
Two other ways to store quilts is to roll them or to drape them over extra beds. Rolling large quilts may be difficult for storage since there would need to be a large space to store those rolls. But rolling them is a good way to avoid any creases from folding, so if you have the storage space, consider doing this.
If you drape them over guest beds, be sure they are not in direct sunlight that could fade a quilt. If there is direct sunlight into that room, you can cover the stack of quilts with a clean, white sheet to protect them.
Finally, when I have quilts that have been stored for longer than 6 months, I like to pull them out and refold them or switch them out with ones that are displayed.
I hope these tips have been helpful. I’ve shared these tips throughout the years, but I find it’s a good thing to do some reminder posts on this. We all want our quilts to look as good as the day we made them, don’t we?
Until next time….
The folding quilts on the bias is what I use. It’s a great technique. I’m in the process of cleaning out early childhood “teacher” materials so I will have a much bigger area to store my quilts. The clip hangers will be great for the smaller items. Thanks.
Vickie Quintrell says
Great tips. First time I’ve heard of the bias method of folding quilts. Thank you for the information