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Thursday, June 30, 2016


A friend of mine from Indiana asked me if I
could make a quilt for her son out his t-shirts.
I told her that I would be happy to.
She wanted to have it for his high school graduation.

So here are the steps that I used in making the quilt.

Tee shirts,  Interfacing (fusible, woven type), woven cotton fabric for sashing and borders, fabric for backing (woven cotton, flannel, or polarfleece) and batting if you choose to use it.
InterfacingThere are many brands of interfacing. Look for a woven type or a non-woven that is not stretchy (don't use a knit interfacing). You are using the interfacing to make the knit tee fabric non-stretchy for ease in sewing.

Cotton FabricsYou'll be using woven cotton (ie. regular quilting cotton) for the sashing and borders of your quilt. You want the stability of a woven cotton, not stretch from a knit. Pick a fabric that will frame your tee blocks nicely.

Batting  A cotton batting or blend is better for a machine quilted project.


Preparation & Techniques

Decide Layout  Assuming you have all your tee shirts out and have done differente layouts so that you'll have an idea of your block sizes.
Washing & Cutting Wash all your tee shirts, if not previously worn you may want to wash them twice.
Fusing cut the fusible interfacing about 2 inches larger than the size of your unsewn blocks.  You may want to use a 1/2 inch seam allowance for your tee shirt blocks rather then the traditional 1/4 inch of quilting to make sturdier seams.  Follow the fusible manufacturer's advice, fuse the interfacing to the tee shirt sections you plan to use.
Cutting the fused tee shirts.  If all your blocks are to be the same size, you will find it convenient to make a template from cardboard, mat board or plastic template material.  If you are a quilter with a rotary cutter, this is definitely the tool to use.  
Cutting the sashing and borders Remember to leave 1/2 inch seam allowance if you choose to have extra.
Arranging blocks If all your blocks are one size, you can go directly to arranging their order.  But, if you are using some smaller units of tee shirt images to make larger blocks, sew these first.  Then clear off a place on your floor, a bed or hang a big flannel sheet or batting on the wall to arrange your blocks.
Sewing Sew blocks in rows, either horizontal or vertical inserting sashing pieces (if desired) as you go.  Then assemble rows and add the borders.
Finishing Layer top with backing and batting and quilt.

Since I knew Nick was joining the Air Force, I found this fabric to make the quilt.

 The stack of t-shirts that I had to cut and put the interface
on each of them to stabilize the t-shirts.

Once they were cut, I had to decide on the layout.
Since none of the designs were the same size,
I had to lay it out in several different ways.
This was the final layout.

 One thing that I had decided is that I wanted all of the
t-shirts to have a 2-inch sashing no matter the size they were.
I did this to make it consistent.

 Here are three with the sashing.

 Now came the fun part.  
I had to measure and decide width and length
of the blue fabric to make everything
lay out perfectly and level.

 For me, laying out the blocks on a bed was very helpful.
Each section had different measurements.
So the old saying of measure twice cut once is true.

 I liked the way the blocks turned out with the red sashing.
They look like they're floating on top of the blue fabric.

 I added a 3-inch border using the Air Force fabric.
The Air Force fabric was also the backing.
I used a basting spray to hold the quilt together
while I quilted it on my sewing machine.
I used a patriotic cotton thread
and meandered all around the blocks.

I used the red, blue, and Air Force fabric to make the binding.

His mom made this photo collage.
I had the honor to present him his quilt.

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