What to Do with an Ugly Quilt

What to Do with an Ugly Quilt

Posted by Jen Lopez on Mar 22nd 2023


When it comes to quilting, I’m more of a Process Quilter. I’m really good at the mechanics: cutting, piecing, matching points, sewing and the like. The aspect of quilting that I struggle with is color selection. Many times, I’ll “cheat” and simply chose a handful of colors all from the same line. They are pretty much guaranteed to match, but when I strike out on my own, there can be disastrous results. Aside from gifting the quilt to someone you don’t like, what should you do if you’ve inadvertently created a monster? Here are some ideas:

  • Add a Border, A Really BIG One – Presuming you haven’t quilted and bound the beast yet, you can create new interest and even distract from some negative things going on in the quilt by replacing the existing border with a different fabric or adding a new, really big border. I’m thinking 10” or more.
  • Cut It Up – I know, cutting up a quilt may be anathema to some quilting devotees, but you really haven’t had time to bond with this quilt yet and it is truly hideous. You could make piles and piles of potholders by cutting the quilt into 8” squares then binding them. Now you have emergency holiday gifts! If the quilt has some good parts, you could go a little larger and make a table runner and placemats.
  • Repurpose - I was once gifted an enormous, purple Crazy Quilt as a wedding gift. It was considerably ugly, but I did think it was nice that the maker knew I liked purple, and she definitely stuck to that theme. Color aside, it had some other problems: it was too small for our king-sized bed and, on top of that, it was unbelievably heavy. I think the batting was in fact a bunch of old blankets. Whatever was in there, if you tried to use this quilt it felt like lying under the leaded blanket at the dentist. As a result of these numerous issues, it never made it as a bed quilt. We ended up using it as a couch cover for a couple years and then we later moved, we used it as a moving blanket to protect furniture. It’s been over 30 years and I still use the quilt for moving furniture so you could say the quilt ended up having a well-loved life after all.
  • Embrace It – Maybe it will grow on you? You could always just turn it over.
  • Gift It – Someone you know has to love puce, orange and hot pink, right?
  • Use It Ironically – Tell everyone you made it and be really proud of that fact. No one will have the heart to tell you that it's actually ugly.
  • Donate It – It might end up as a dog blanket, but at least you won’t have to look at it anymore.


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