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How to store quilts when not in use

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Storing quilts is one of those things that kind of perplexes a lot of us!

How do we? What is best? To fold or not to fold, roll or stack and pile.

How about storing your quilts in bags, in the closet, on the bed, rolled up on a pool noodle.  Do we need to worry about bugs, creases and damage from bags? There are quite a few things to think about when we have quilts to store. 

We’ll talk about different storage ideas, how to pack your quilts for storage, what not to do – and what works best. Hopefully you’ll get a few ideas and share your tips on storing quilts along with us. 

How to store quilts when not in use

Roll your quilts- folds are notorious for making creases in your batting and then of course in the quilt. Avoid that whenever possible.

Rolling your quilt allows it to not have creases- which is ideal. Start with a form like a pool noodle in the center to give it structure so it doesn’t flatten out in storage. If you are a little leery about the plastic and contact with the quilt, sew up a quick slip cover for it with some muslin fabric.

Layer your quilts– this is really the best if you have a spare bed or room in your home. Laying your quilt flat on the bed and then layered is the best way to store them. They lay flat, no creases and laying on the bed allows them to not be pulled or tugged on like hanging.

Things to Avoid When Storing Quilts:

  • Never store quilts in plastic for long periods of time. Fabric needs to breathe and the gasses produced by plastic can discolor and deteriorate fabric. Plastics to avoid include dry cleaning bags, heavy duty garbage bags, garment bags and Styrofoam.
  • Moisture can ruin a quilt, so just to be sure, use a desiccant to absorb any moisture in the air.
  • Keep quilts in a dark place to avoid fading from sunlight, but do not place them in an attic or basement. These areas are prone to extreme temperature swings which is damaging to fibers.
  • Attics and garages are also ideal hiding places for rodents.
  • Cardboard boxes attract insects, making them not a good option either. Use archival boxes.
  • If you plan to store quilts in a wooden trunk or cabinet, be sure to first lay down sheets of acid-free paper to avoid the quilts coming into direct contact with the wood’s surface. Wood contains acid which can leach into a quilt and cause damage.
  • If you want to roll your quilts on a large cardboard tube, be sure to first wrap the tube with acid-free paper. Ordinary tissue paper contains acid, so it is best to avoid using it as a substitute.
  • Storing folded quilts for long periods of time causes them to develop permanent fold lines, so if possible, re-fold in a different manner occasionally. Or, insert scrunched bundles of acid-free paper in between the layers of the quilt. This helps to lift and reduce fold lines.
how to store quilts not in use

Suggestions on quilt storage ideas from other quilters

  • I roll them up,no folds,right side in
  • I fold mine with the right side in and put them in a pillow case. I have started to make a pillow case out of the same fabric as the quilt, then when they are in my closet I can see the one I want easily. They also tell you to refold them every six months or so.
  • Never store your quilts in air-tight containers or storage bag; cutting off the air accelerates the decomposition of the cotton as does storing them in high temperatures. Avoid folds as they may become permanent creases in your quilts. The best way to store a quilt is flat on a bed with a sheet over it. If that is not possible, roll them on a pool noodle and then a sheet; I slide mine under the bed.
  • You could get a wooden ladder and lean it against the wall at the top and out 12 – 18″ on the floor. Fold the quilt and lay over a step. Ceilings are usually 8′ high. If you had a simple one made with round steps you could have them about 8 – 10″ apart. Each quilt would be visible. Or an old cabinet with a glass front to store them.
  • On a spare bed. Yup they are stacked up 10 or more deep
  • I have them all over my house on beds, quilt racks, chairs and some in cedar chest that are gifts in waiting. You see I never mail my quilts anywhere. The family and friends I have quilts made for know I have them but they have to come see me to get them. I’m not getting any younger either so when I’m gone my children can decide what to do with all my quilts. I use them to the fullest and enjoy seeing my quilts used and loved.
  •  I was taught to roll them up so they don’t get crease lines.
  • In a gift bag and give them away
  • I wrap around those pool noodles, found out the hard way that creases from folding are permanent

The info in this article was taken from a FB group – Quilting 101 question from a reader. See more here

If you are looking at more storage solutions – you can check out our organize your sewing room series here. Where we go over how to organize your fabric, your scraps, rulers and layout your room

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