Sunday, April 15, 2012

The 5 year old quilt project (Tips and Tricks For Making a T-Shirt Quilt)

Today I wanted to share a quilt I finished last month for my bestie Torrie. She saw one I finished about ten years for myself and fell in love with it. I offered to make her one of her very own.We went back and forth for a while about how big it was going to be (she wanted to give me every t-shirt she saved from high to adult years. I reminded her that the fabric does not magically sew itself together, and if she wanted it in this lifetime. she had to cut it down).  It took us a few years to coordinate what it would look like, etc. and about six months to finish it-mostly because I would work on it here and there, then walk away and come back a month later. I finally wrapped it up and delivered it a few weeks ago so I can now reveal the finished blanket and pass on some tricks I learned along the way.

Check it out:

So, I realize this angle is crazy and you can't see the bottom edge, but it was as close as I was going to get. It is BIG (probably enough to more than cover a twin sized bed) and I am SHORT.....so it was hard to get a good photo. 
Around the Interwebs:
Now, obviously I am not the first person in the world to take old t-shirts and sew them into a quilt. I figure why invent the wheel, so here are a few websites I found with great resources on the topic:

-this post on Squidoo is excellent-lots of pictures and background information. It walks you through from start to finish
- this blog post from another crafter who made this type of quilt. Great ideas here! 
-a list of books from Amazon. I used this book when I made my own quilt years ago and I think sometimes nothing beats a paper book you can leave open on the table and reference. 
-This YouTube video took the scary out of mitred corners. They really do make a project look so much more finished.
 

Take It From Me:
A few pieces of advice from my own experience
-I hate measuring, and I am not really that good at being accurate. Therefore to make my life easier I made all my blocks two sizes-one larger and rectangular, one small and square. Before I pieced he top together I layed it out on the floor to make sure I had every piece accounted for and it looked right. Because I also can't count worth a lick I ended up with one extra panel. It had a big stain anyway, so I just put it to the side.

-the small square pieces I ended up cutting into a circle and grouping together on a rectangular panel. I mimicked the same panel at the opposite end. That helped me keep it straight in my head and I liked the way it looked.

- I fused lightweight interfacing to the back of the t shirts before I cut them out. I think it helps tremendously to do it before-that way you know the whole piece is covered and when you cut them out there is less raveling. I just eye balled the size I need.

-For the strips I used old jeans. Ones I bought on the cheap at Goodwill and some from my 'to donate' pile. I love LOVE the way the old denim looks. I mean, you mostly wear t-shirts with jeans anyway. I did buy a yeard of denim for the binding because I wanted that to look consistent all the way around.

-Did you know that they make fusible cotton batting? Oh yeah, that makes the whole'sandwich the layers and quilt them' part a WHOLE lot easier.

-I hate quilting. There I said it. I love to plan the top, piece it together, add embellishments, but the actual process of sewing hte layers together...ugh. More than once I considered paying someone else to do it. ahem.  Then I decided to tie quilt it together using buttons from my stash.  I actually like the detail, but my technique needs work-a few buttons fell victim to the dryer. Never good.

- Over the years I collected a few patches to accent the squares. They were iron on, but I reinforced them with stitching. See above.

So, there you go! Have any questions? Post them in the comments! Have any other tips/tricks/links?? Post them too!


Later,
Michelle
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