Frame an Antique Quilt Block

FramedAntiqueBlock NancyZieman a

Frame an Antique Quilt Block

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FramedAntiqueBlock NancyZieman a

Long ago, Nancy Zieman’s family acquired a tattered vintage quilt. Admittedly, when Nancy’s mother, Barbara, ran across the quilt stored in a garage, she wasn’t sure where the quilt came from or who made it. It was collected and stored for quite some time. When it was finally rediscovered, the quilt was in the same deteriorated condition as when it was stored away. The vintage piece was beyond repair. It was at that time Nancy had the vision for sharing the quilt for years to come. See the quilt and follow along as we share the steps Nancy used for displaying this beautiful, weathered quilt.

Caution: Quilt Lovers, these next three images are not for the faint of heart.

VintageQuilt NancyZieman 1

VintageQuilt NancyZieman 2

VintageQuilt NancyZieman 3

Once the quilt was adequately aired out and the smells faded, Nancy started her project to create a Framed Antique Quilt Block.


  • Frame (Nancy used a 10″ x 10″ frame.)
  • Project quilt needing new life & love
  • Rotary cutting mat
  • Rotary cutter
  • Square quilter’s ruler (Nancy used a 12″ x 12″ ruler.)

Framed Antique Quilt

  • Identify the usable portions to feature, keeping in mind, you may want to include shabby areas of the quilt to help tell the quilt’s story.
VintageQuilt NancyZieman 4

  • Work on the rotary cutting surface. You cannot see it in the picture, but a table-size cutting mat is under the quilt.
  • Using a square ruler, audition the space around the selected area/block.
  • Use the cardboard backing from the frame to determine exactly where to place the ruler.
VintageQuilt NancyZieman 5
  • Remove the cardboard backing.
  • Double check the ruler alignment.
VintageQuilt NancyZieman 6

  • Rotary cut two sides.
  • Reposition the ruler based on the cardboard backing and cut the remaining two sides.

VintageQuilt NancyZieman 7

  • Secure the edges of the cut piece by basting within 1/4″ of the cut edge.
VintageQuilt NancyZieman 8

  • Keeping the glass in the frame and working from the back, place the quilt block into the frame.
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  • Apply the cardboard backing and fold down the metal tabs which hold everything in place.
Note From Team Nancy
   You can always add a layer or two of acid free paper to serve as a liner between the quilt and cardboard backing.
VintageQuilt NancyZieman 11
  • Ta-dah!
VintageQuilt NancyZieman 12
Nancy’s hope was that this project would offer daily enjoyment of a vintage find, or treasured piece, that would have been stored away for many more decades, and likely tossed out by a future family member. We encourage you to take a couple of moments to label your quilts and sewn projects to tell the story of the piece to future generations.

The rich history and family lineage adds elements far deeper than design and warmth. Nancy had the privilege of interviewing Amy Milne of The Quilt Index on an episode of Nancy’s Corner. Her work with The Quilt Index and Quilt Alliance focuses on preserving the details of each quilt.

NZ SeeSpots

The Quilt Index encourages the following, as suggested on the Labeling Pledge.

Include at minimum:

  • Name
  • Date quilt was completed
  • Location

Other options to include:

  • Recipient or reason for quilt
  • Materials and techniques
  • Pattern name, if applicable
  • Story of the quilt

If the quilt was made by someone else, include any of the following:

  • Where and when the quilt was received
  • The maker
  • Where the maker lived during their life
  • Estimated birth (and death) date of the maker
  • Pattern name, if known

Thank you so much, Amy! We are lucky to live in a time where there are many options for labeling a quilt. From hand stitched wording to computer generated and printed panels, the options are limitless! Here are a few of our favorite tools for labeling projects:

Premade Labels

In the cases of smaller projects, sometimes a premade label is suitable. Simply fill-in the blanks with a permanent pen.

PreMadeLabels Nancy Zieman

Embroidered Labels

Nancy loved machine embroidery. Making labels on her Baby Lock Destiny II embroidery machine was quite easy. Simply use your included designs to personalize a label or grab quilt label embroidery software. The possibilities are limitless. From fonts, to coordinating motifs to sayings and colors, the label will be stitched to reflect your style.


Story Patch Labels

And, for the more computer-savvy quilter, try Story Patch labels. Revolutionize the way you label a quilt. Attach a story with this simple and innovative tag. Make it a keepsake by giving them a photo, audio, or video message they can replay over and over again. You and the project recipient are only four easy steps away from a gift they will treasure for a lifetime.


Learn about the importance of Quilt Documentation on the Quilt Index episode of Nancy’s Corner and watch Sewing With Nancy online.

Quilt Alliance NancyZieman

Nancy Zieman's Giveaway Winner

The randomly selected winner of a copy of Amazing Designs Cute Key Fob Collection from Nancy’s Notions is Merri Lynn Voss.

Her comment is, “I love the puppy dog.”

Cute Key Fobs by Amazing Designs and Nancy Zieman

Happy Sewing,

Team Nancy Zieman

Nancy Zieman Productions, LLC.

Nancy Zieman Productions, LLC

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  • Jane Niday
    January 16, 2018

    I have a quilt that came “from your father’s side of the family”. Dresden plate design-have made several sets of placemats, but making a framed print for each grand-daughter is a wonderful idea. Thank you so much for posting today!

    Sure miss Nancy, but you are letting her legacy be helpful to others.

  • Linda
    January 16, 2018

    Oh thank You !! I love this Idea !!!

  • Florence
    January 16, 2018

    I have a quilt from 1864 that I believe was made by one of my great aunts. I think it is this same pattern. I just may have to dig it out and try this if I can get the nerve to cut it up. But I see Nancy’s point of sharing now because it now just sits boxed in a closet and when I am gone no one will even know what it is. Here’s to getting up the nerve to do it.

  • althea SUTTON
    January 16, 2018


  • Ann Hedington
    January 16, 2018

    While I love the idea of having framing quilt blocks to show off or share, I’m not sure this is the best technique. I would take it to a professional framer (not your local craft store) for archival framer.

  • Lisa LaMie
    January 16, 2018

    I love your idea to frame very old quilts. I have parts of a quilt with little bonnet girls and they have very pretty embr. flowers. I was going to make three small quilts and give to our three children, but with your idea I can give a block picture and share with our grandchildren also!! Thanks!

  • Karen
    January 17, 2018

    This idea is great, when something is stored no one sees it, this way it can be seen each day. I also like that the vintage machine is in the display. I might suggest switching the glass or buying a frame with non glare glass-makes a big difference.

  • Joy Cross
    January 17, 2018

    So clever. I will pass it along to my quilting sisters.

  • Donna Fecteau
    January 18, 2018

    What a wonderful idea for when you can’t save the whole thing, to just save what you can. I found an old quilt in the garage of the first home we bought and it was a mess. Wish I had this information back then I could have saved a block or two from it.

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