Thursday, July 19, 2012

How to make a t-shirt quilt


Okay Guys, my fingers have healed and the t-shirt remnants have been cleared. Its time to share the good, the bad and the sentimental about t-shirt quilts. My biffle has been wanting to turn her old tshirts into a quilt for some time. After a failed attempt, I suggested it would be a great 24th birthday present for her! I gathered around 30 shirts that she doesn't wear anymore, but would like to keep around...like a stylish hoarder. The first thing to do is to clean the shirts, Its much easier to do at this step and then you won't be worried about any shrinkage (hehe) after you cut 'em up!


I am a planner (shocker) and I wanted to make sure I wasn't cutting too many shirts, or shirts of the wrong size since there were a few larger than the template I made. Here is my cheat sheet diagram...the final fit together better than I thought so I x-neyed the scrap logo blocks and incorporated them onto the shirts- I'll go over this in a bit. I wanted the final piece to be a little smaller than queen size sheets.


Here is the template I made out of cardboard to make cutting as simple as possible. This was 10" by 15", some of the shirts were 'hamburger' style and some were 'hot dog' according to the placement of the logo


 Alllllllll the shirts cut up and ready to get their interface on!


Before I added the interface, I made sure each square was completely flat. I added a light fusible interfacing onto the back. I found that steaming it directly onto the back (going against the directions...i'm such a rebel, was not only faster but produced better results. You don't want the shirts to be stiff, but you want to make sure they won't stretch too much.


Once all the interface is on, I laid out all of the shirts to make sure I knew which colors worked well together. I noted down the flow of the quilt and started sewing. I began by sewing the first 4 horizontal shirts together (the top row). I wanted to make sure each corner matched up perfectly so after I sewed those and the second row of 4, I sewed those together. Did I say the word 'sewed' enough yet? Anyways, then just Rinse and repeat until you are done!  



When sewing them together flip the shirts face to face and sew up the seam. Then unfold them and iron down the seam as shown below.




Some of the shirts had small details that she wanted added to the shirt, but were not large enough (or placed well on the shirt) to get promoted to an entire rectangle. I cut out these details and sewed them onto other shirts- prior to them being added to the quilt


The next step was adding the back, batting, trim and connections to the quilt. For the back fabric I chose a heavy cotton black fabric, I wanted something easy to work with that would be comfortable as well. I laid that out on the floor, topped it with a thin layer of batting and put the shirts on top, all sandwich style.


I bought some trim (at that point, making my own from scraps seemed far too daunting of a task) it was about 2" making for 1" boarder on each side. I folded it over with the iron and pinned it around the quilt to be sewn together.


Once the trim was put on, I needed to make sure the batting wouldn't separate and become uber clumpy. I learned this trick from a blanket my mom made. I took string and a large needle and sewed an 'X' on the corners of the shirts. I threaded it through and tied it in a knot on the back side- adding some color and support to the quilt. Here is the front (tshirt side):




And the back:

And here you have it ladies and, well...ladies, a t-shirt blanket! All in all it probably took me about 20 hours, working all week after work. I am new at this whole sewing thing- so don't be intimidated with this project! Its a great way to save memorable t-shirts while making a useful product. Let me know if you have any questions! Happy Quilting :)










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