Wednesday, February 20, 2008

T-shirt Quilt Revealed!

This story began with a pile of ordinary T-shirts. A very large pile! I was asked to put these together in just one quilt but for a king sized bed. Having never made a T-shirt quilt before I gladly took on the task and went home with 4 large boxes of shirts. I had been told there were about 70 shirts.
The number of shirts turned out to be 88 and of those I was to use the back and front of two of these. I had already done quite a bit of research on the making of a T-shirt quilt so I began with step one, which was to sort and measure each shirt to determine the finished size of each one. You can see the mountain of shirts in the first photo. Next I cut out the design with some extra all around on each shirt and labeled it with the finished size as you can see in the next photo. Now the easy part was done. The next step was to fuse a woven interfacing to the back of each shirt. This had to be done with a pressing cloth as a hot iron would melt the fusible as well as the design on the shirts. This process was long and slow but I pressed on...................literally and finally had that chore done.
So now the next step was to find a space to lay these all out. The best solution was the family room where everyone watches TV. I figured a couple of days and I would be done.................WRONG! This process took all of two weeks. First I had to figure out how to lay these all out so they would actally fit in the space that could be about 120x120 square inches...................and let me tell you that is 10 feet X 10 feet! After much arranging and rearranging, and rearranging I finally got them all laid out. Ok all I had to do was get them sewn together with sashing in between. This process took days. I could not really cut lots of sashing and sew. No I pretty much could cut a few planned pieces at a time. Since the setting was variable each piece of sashing had to fit in an exact space and that ment cutting and sewing pretty much one at a time. I sewed on, and on. I took blocks to the sewing studio and worked in sections. Most of the time things worked out but there were a few times that things went wrong and ths required taking apart and redoing. At last the shirts were all in one huge piece with a nice 3" border around the outside. Let me tell you that was one moment of joy.....................and then I went to bed. I had of course accomplished that on a day when I as determined I would finish so I worked pretty late to get it done.
The quilting actuall went without a hitch. The top took up most of the space on my 14 foot longarm frame but not all of the space. I had it easily off the machine the same day. Now the final step was that binding. I played with some instructions for a machine turned binding which did not look perfect so I resolved myeslf to the handturned binding around that fourhundred and ninety two circumfrence. One stitch at a time and two days later it was DONE!
Now that I have done my first T-shirt quilt I think it will be the hardest and biggest one I will ever do. I have learned alot and am ready to do more. Of course they are all going to be smaller and have fewer shirts. I do love the idea of putting those shirts into a quilt!


Ruthie said...

I LOVE your T-shirt quilt. I have never seen one that wasn't sewn into rows or columns, but yours is just spectacular!!

Deb said...

Looks great! Good job, you should be proud!

Mary said...

I like this too. I've got a bunch of t-shirts from my travels to turn into a quilt one of these days. I made one for my son for his graduation from college.