Posts Tagged ‘t-shirt quilts’

T-shirts have become such a medium of advertisement, even a part of our identity. So, what can you do with a t-shirt besides holding on to it forever or getting rid of it? What about a quilt? T-shirt quilts are very popular today. It is a way to combine physical memories of significant times and events such as concerts, sports and organizational activities, along with a multitude of other types of t-shirts. One can display sentimental memories in one place making room in drawers and storage boxes 🙂 – I could use the extra room. The truth – I made the mistake of putting one of my hubby’s worn out high school t-shirts (it had holes in it) in the “rag” pile years ago. Ok, I didn’t do it twice. A t-shirt quilt may not be traditional, but that’s ok because it may spark the younger generation to take an interest in quilting. You can find helpful info in books and on the web (including wordpress blogs), but here are a few things you may want to consider…

If you want the quilt to last, think about how fragile the t-shirts are. If it is a quilt that will be washed and used a good bit, you may want to refrain from using older t-shirts that may wear quickly or ones that have become thin. The same goes for the printing. However, if the shirts are pretty tough, then by all means use them in a quilt that will be used regularly, but sometimes people would rather save the memories in the shirts and not really use it as a quilt. That’s fine, too. You can always display the quilt on a wall. Did you know that hung quilts can help absorb sound vibrations?

Just like other types of quilting, you do not have to follow any set pattern-it’s your design, but you need to have a clear idea before you begin cutting. Draw out a design first, and don’t forget seam allowances. Many people add sashing (borders) between blocks. This frames each t-shirt helping it to stand out. The sashing can be complementary material or a themed print or something different. Some use UP-cycled jeans or denim giving the quilt that special look. Most t-shirt quilts use only part of the shirt front where the printing is, but some t-shirts have printing on the back. You’ll want to use this side, too, but you have to decide how much or how little to use of each shirt. Perhaps you have an abundance of shirts and may only want to use insignias or logos or such. You can combine a few of these to make a block. The remaining part of the shirts can be used to add borders or may be added to the back of the quilt-you decide.

Be sure to wash the shirts first-I know common sense, right? And, if using cotton material for any other part of the quilt-including denim, be sure to launder first. You do not want the quilt to shrink or bleed after assembly. It may be a good idea to back each shirt with a lightweight fusible interfacing (some are made for knits), but be CAREFUL! Many t-shirts cannot be ironed over the printing. Check to be sure by testing a very small place and follow instructions closely. Interfacing adds stability and helps with seam curling. Machine piecing rather than hand piecing the shirts is a good idea, too. And, if you do not interface the shirts, make sure NOT to pull the shirts through the machine when piecing (stretchy fabric). Oh, and if you use jeans/denim, be sure to have the right size needle and proper thread. Here is an example of a lovely t-shirt quilt: http://treacleandinketsy.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/keeping-the-memories/

The backing can coordinate with the front sashing or something else. Consider how heavy the backing material is and how much it will add to the quilt. A thick all-denim back may make the quilt too heavy, and consider the finished size of the quilt. Also, consider the washing machine of the receiver of the quilt. You don’t want to make something and then find out it cannot be easily washed. As far as batting goes, use something that will not shrink-a poly batting is good. Many t-shirt quilts are quilted “in the ditch” – along the seams. Just make sure that the seams are NOT pressed open-press seam to one side-and this will help to secure the shirts to the backing adding life to the quilt. Binding-I tend not to bind this type of quilt (oh, horrors, right). You can bind traditionally, or you can sew the backing to the front (right sides together plus batting) leaving a hole large enough to pull it through (before quilting) then stitch the hole closed. Just be sure to trim the excess batting first. It is all up to what one wants.

These are just a few things to think about when starting out. No matter what t-shirts you use, this is a good way to save those memories without throwing them away. We need to try different things once in a while. Maybe we all need our own t-shirt quilt.

Note:  Part 2 of “Helping to Remember” will be posted at a later date.

Happy Gardening and happy memories!



Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: