Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Damaged Butterflies: A Quilt Repair

In 2016, I used some of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge butterfly blocks to make a baby quilt for a close friend's second child.    I called it Bright Butterflies, and it's young owner is known as Lady Bug.

Bright Butterflies

Early in the summer, I got a call from Lady Bug's mom, Kate. They had just returned from a week-long vacation and it seemed their dog missed his family and did some damage to a few textiles in the house, including Bright Butterflies.

When I finally got to see it in person, it actually wasn't as bad as I expected. The chewed areas were all toward the edges.

Kate was hoping I could just trim away the chewed parts and re-bind it.  And I could have, but it would have looked weird.  I told her a lot depended on how much she cared about *this* quilt, and if it needed to stay intact. We discussed various salvaging options, and ultimately I convinced her that I could turn the six unharmed butterflies into smaller objects and I would happily make a new quilt for Lady Bug. 

I wanted to do a series of doll quilts but Kate didn't think Lady Bug needed more than one doll quilt.  So two butterflies became a doll quilt.

I mentioned in the original Bright Butterflies post that Kate loves scrap quilts and she & I have traded scraps many times over the years.  I used several fabrics that came form her in the scrappy butterflies, including scraps from a quilt her grandmother made without realizing that's where the scraps came from!  It was especially important that the aqua butterfly be saved, since that's where the grandmother's scraps were.  Fortunately, that was not an area that got chewed.  I turned the aqua and dark purple butterflies into a wall hanging with a hanging sleeve, per request.  And the original label was not damaged!  I was able to unpick the stitches and move it to the back of the wall hanging (no photo of that part).

That left two more butterflies, and Kate suggested a small pillow.  She said Lady Bug liked things like that.  Perfect!  Pink butterfly on one side, yellow on the other.

My son loved the pillow and now wants me to make him one.  I don't have any more salvaged butterflies, but I do have a butterfly die for my accuquilt!  It will make a great rainy day project with him some time this fall.

I finished these projects over the 4th of July weekend but only recently got them photographed and returned to Lady Bug.  I completed her replacement quilt yesterday and will work on getting that photographed, written up, and gifted soon.  I'm glad that the damage wasn't extensive and that Lady Bug will still get to use her baby quilt, even if it's now in different forms. 


  1. I love repairing things and making them work when they are so loved! Look forward to seeing her replacement quilt - one lucky girl.

  2. Great solutions, Emily. I love the pillow too!

  3. A great way to "fix" those blocks.