Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sweet Summer Sewing...T-shirt Quilt

Sons...You want to sew and make hand-made beautiful things for them, but by the time they get to be about 10 or 12 years old they just aren't into anything sewn by mom.  Except...T-shirt quilts!

For my daughters' high school graduations I made appliqu├ęd floor pillows for each of them, but I thought that might be a bit too girlie for him.
T-shirt floor pillows
My son is a sports nut.  He can recite any sports statistic from hockey to baseball to...even cricket, I think!  He played lacrosse and football all through high school and had the requisite hundreds of t-shirts to go with each sport.  After he graduated, I promised to make him a t-shirt quilt.  Finally!  A hand-made gift that he would love.  And so he picked out 12 or 15 of his favorites that he could bear to have me cut up and put them in a big plastic bag and left for college.  

One year passed, then another... and finally he moved the plastic bag full of t-shirts out of his closet into the guest room closet. 

Did I mention that I have never actually made a quilt before???  When the local quilt shop advertised a t-shirt quilting class, I swallowed my quilting anxiety and jumped with both feet (and dragged brought both my daughters too!)

DD # 2 with one of her t-shirt squares
DD # 1 ironing on interfacing

After some initial confusion starting off, we ended up having a great time, learning a lot and making some progress on planning out our quilts.  The planning is the hardest part, I think!

I decided to go for a simple design with 15 inch t-shirt squares, sashing and some flanges of fabric to set off each square.
Here it is all laid out in the planning stages at the shop.  

The teacher recommended taking pictures of the layout so that we would remember when we got home.  One great benny of the class is having so many people to give you ideas and suggestions!  We have fun helping each other with layouts.

Some of the squares with the flange of accent fabric

Sorry for the fuzzy picture...She texted it to me!  :-)

DD #1 wanted to do one that was a bit more free-form with no sashing.  This was a bit more complicated, but I think that she ended up with a good design for a first try.

I finished up with the quilt top today and bought the batting and the backing fabric.  I just need to piece the back and then I will send it off to a long arm quilter and finish the binding - red, I think.
The corner pieces are from fronts of some t-shirts.

I used a scrap of one t-shirt and hand embroidered his name (last name removed for the picture) and graduation date on the bottom right 
corner piece. 

Finally, a hand-made gift fit for a son!  I can't wait to get the quilting done!


  1. Where did you take the class?? What a great idea!! I can't wait to find out where you send it for the long arm quilting. Let me know will you. I am always looking for good local resources.

  2. I took the class at the Quilt Patch in Fairfax. The shop was a little disorganized at first - didn't have the interfacing that they said they would have and couldn't find a substitute, overly crowded with 2 events going on, etc - but the instructor was good and we learned a lot.
    I have a call in to a woman who does long arm quilting - near you I think. She was recommended by a friend who does a lot of quilting. We'll have to see how much it costs...I'm trembling a bit!