What To Do With An Ugly Quilt


Every wonder what to do with an ugly quilt to improve it? We cover 6 key ideas you can use to make an ugly quilt look and present better.

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What To Do With An Ugly Quilt

On occasion, we are commissioned to complete a project to specifications that are, well, against our artistic sensibilities. Possibly you have swapped UFOs, and stayed awake a few nights wondering, how on earth will you make this work? Likely you have inherited an unfinished heirloom quilt, and when you attempt to complete it, you find wonky blocks and missing yardage. In other words, is there any way to save an ugly quilt?

Before you stuff that hot mess in the back of a closet for another quilter to discover and despair over in coming generations, try these 6 quick fixes to turn a hopeless quilt into a happy masterpiece:

What To Do With An Ugly Quilt


Up The Art


1) Finish your ugly quilt with an extra large border. Like 10"-12" large.

It's a psychological trick. Whenever we see things "framed," we feel they are art. Make sure there is lots of contrast and little decoration in the large border and it will transform your questionable quilt into a work of art.

2) Randomly spray baste blocks onto a backing.

You can applique them in place, or skip that and just quilt over everything. Now your scary quilt blocks are modern installations! This is especially effective when blocks are truncated running off the edge of the quilt.


Add Visual Interest


3) Make it a Crazy Patch quilt.

Cover every seam with decorative stitches in different thread colors You can even get carried away with buttons and yo-yos. Go for it!

4) 9-Patch the whole quilt top.

You heard me. Cut up the finished top into 9 even squares. Recombine them with sashing and embrace the mystery of what you have salvaged.




5) Create a Set

When things are grouped together, they look like a collection. Instead of making one ugly quilt, turn it into a table runner and place mats. Or a set of pillow shams. How about appliance covers? Now that ugly quilt has a happy place of pride as a curated set.

6) Charm It

As a last resort, cut the thing into 5" squares and make something new. Use the newly minted "random piecing" as the focus fabric in a two color pattern. You’ll still be able to admire the vintage fabrics and (ahem) workmanship, alive and well in something new, beautiful and still useful.


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Attaching individual pieces of fabric to a background to form a design.

Same As: Appliqué

See Also: Freezer Paper Applique, Needleturn Applique, Machine Applique, Reverse Applique, Shadow Applique
The fabric on the back of a Quilt Sandwich (Top, Batting and Backing).

Same As: Lining
A strip of fabric or pieced strip of fabric joined to the edges of the inner quilt and used to frame it.
Crazy Patch
A block made with irregular and/or scrap pieces. The block is made with no pre-determined pattern or design. If the blocks are grouped together they form a crazy quilt. Crazy quilts were popular in Victorian times and often made with silks and velvets and embellished with embroidery.

Same As: Crazy Block

See Also: Crazy Block, Crazy Quilt
The process of assembling quilt blocks from pieces of fabric sewn along their edges to form a whole.

See Also: English Paper Piecing, Assembly Piecing, Machine Piecing, Chain Piecing, Paper Piecing, Hand Piecing
Quilt Top
The top layer of a quilt Sandwich.
Fabric that separates the patterns or blocks, framing them and making the quilt larger.

See Also: Strip
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