Bates bedspreads have been adorning America’s bedrooms since the first one rolled off the loom over 150 years ago. Decades of continuous production coupled with heirloom quality weaving makes it no surprise that there would be countless vintage ones still in use today.

 As a trusted and well-known retailer of Bates bedspreads and blankets, folks often turn to us with questions regarding their cherished Bates heirloom. One inquiry we commonly receive is “how do I fix a hole or tear”.   In this week’s blog, we will show you how.


Bates blankets and bedspreads are made of woven fabric, so the best way to fix a hole or tear in one is to darn it. And no, we don’t mean to shake your fist and curse at it – darning is a method of essentially recreating the weave.



  • scissors
  • sewing needle
  • thread

You’ll probably want to use thread that matches in color to the original fabric, but for the sake of easy viewing, we’ll be using a contrasting thread. We also recommend using an embroidery hoop to keep the material tight, but this is an optional tool.


The first step is to secure the weave around the hole or tear by stitching a square around the damaged area, at least a ¼” out (the further out you start, the stronger your repair will be). Make sure to leave a long tail of thread at the beginning. 

Depending on the size of your hole, you may choose to include a pre-shrunk cotton patch on the backside of the fabric. This would be the time to stitch the patch on.


Continuing with the same, uncut thread, begin weaving from one end of the square to the other. Do your best to follow the original weave pattern.

It is important to note that you should leave the stitch somewhat loose so that your darning does not pucker after being washed.


When you reach the hole, simply carry the thread over the open space, and continue weaving into the intact fabric on the other side.

If you are using a patch, simply continue to weave into the patch, rather than skipping over the hole.

Once you have reached the opposite end of the square, begin weaving perpendicular to your previous stitches (make sure to alternate over and under). If all goes well, you should end up where you began and you can use the long tail you left in the beginning to tie off your thread.

Viola! The hole has been repaired and now you are free to continue to enjoy your cherished blanket or bedspread for years to come.  

If you prefer to have a more perfect looking repair (or you simply don’t have the time or patience to darn) you should check out the re-weaving experts in Chicago, Without A Trace. We reached out to them and they are more than willing to help out with the repairs.

March 31, 2016 — Katie Cloutier


Lorraine courter said:

I have a Bates George Washington bedspread that is damaged. It has a tear and various sections at the top of the spread that have unraveling. Is there a repair clinic that this can be sent to to be repaired?

Please advise, Thank You

Debra Colgrove said:

I have a Martha Washington candlewick bedspread. Our dog caught his toenail and has pulled the candlewick out in many places; two particularly long pieces. I am heartsick and would like to repair it but I haven’t the slightest idea on how to accomplish that. Could you help me or point me in the right direction? I am thankful for anything you can suggest. Blessings…

Lisa Rodriguez-Presley said:

A small section of fringe on my matelasse bedspread came unraveled (thanks to kids and the vacuum cleaner.) Strings are intact but how can we get that repaired? Can reweavers do that as well?

Bates Mill Store said:

Hi Jacki! Good question! For the purpose of strengthening the fabric and preventing the hole or tear from growing, darning will work on a terry spread. That being said, the fix may be a bit more apparent than it would be in a Matelassé weave. If we come across a better way to repair terry fabrics, we’ll be sure to post a blog about it :)

Jackie Gillenwater said:

Is there a method I can use at home to repair a chenille bedspread? I have a Martha Washington that is about 25 years old.
Thank you in advance for your answer.

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.