How should I store my quilts?
I have a large amount of double-knit fabric. Is there any reason that this fabric cannot be used to make bags to store my quilts in?
We would not recommend using a double-knit fabric to store your quilts in. Double-knit fabric does not breathe and your quilts would not get any air. If the air in the bag is unable to be released, temperature and humidity rise in the bag. This can cause your quilt to become damp, which would cause mold and mildew to form.
We recommend storing them in 100% cotton muslin or 100% cotton pillowcases. Make sure whatever you store them in is washed and well rinsed at least once a year.
You should never store your quilts in regular packing boxes either. They contain acids that can stain and deteriorate the fabric. If you use a box, make sure it is acid-free. You should not use tissue paper to wrap your quilt unless it is acid-free.
Folding your quilt can leave permanent creases. If you must fold to store, avoid sharp creases. You can pad the fold with acid-free tissue paper to soften it.
Ideally, your quilts should be rolled on a tube. You should use an acid-free tube or cover the roll with acid-free paper or cotton muslin (washed and rinsed). Roll the quilt with the right side facing out and then cover with another cloth or sheet.
Quilts should be stored flat in a dark area. Do not store quilts directly on wood. The natural oils in the wood can stain the fabric.
It is best to store your quilt in a room with an even temperature. Attics and basements are not the best place for quilts. When it is very hot the moisture in the air can cause mold to grow and the dyes in the fabric to break down. When it is very cold, the fibers in the fabric tend to get dry and brittle and could break. I can attest to this as I ruined one of my boy’s baby quilts when I stored it in the basement.
By taking a little time to store your quilts properly you can ensure that they are around for future generations to enjoy.
Other Quilt Storage Options
Many of my quilts are loosely folded and hung on very wide racks and alternated monthly. Others that need more care are on an unused bed, layer after layer.
Many others are stored in pillow cases that I bought in flea markets. They are stacked in a large, airy upstairs closet.
I have found wonderful old printed pillow cases from the 40’s and 50’s that are tempting to cut up for piecing. But instead I use them to store my quilts, and the prints help me recognize which quilt is in each different case.
I also use fabric yardages that I really will never use in quilts to line shelves, drawers, and boxes for storage of old tops and blocks. I do buy acid-free tissue paper.
I admit to using cardboard boxes sold for under-the-bed storage. Of course I line them with fabric. I certainly prefer them to the heavy plastic boxes sold everywhere nowadays.
It would certainly be wonderful to have an absolutely perfect solution, considering the condition of the old quilts and tops I have rescued from flea markets and garage sales, my current methods are a big improvement.
You might want to give away all that double-knit to a charity or quilt group that would make tied utility quilts from them. That would free up your shelves for new fabrics!
Shannon has been and avid quilter for over 20 years. Her love of quilts came at an early age from her grandmother. She is a mother of 2 and lives in the US with her loving husband.