Thursday, June 16, 2011

T-shirt quilts

A t-shirt quilt lets you preserve, use, and display a bunch of sentimental shirts.  I first saw these (and got hooked on the idea) when a friend of the family made one for my sister out of her college athletic shirts many years ago.  I've made several since.  They can be very neatly made (all in rows and columns, with everything properly square), but they don't have to be.  My favorite was a crazy-quilt I made was for my young daughter out of her parents' old shirts.  The colors follow roughly a rainbow pattern -- very bright and cheerful -- but the sizes and shapes vary a lot.

When I made my daughter's t-shirt quilt, I first got two old sheets.  I sewed the t-shirts onto the sheet that I don't want people to see, and saved the other sheet for the backing.  I got the t-shirts ready by removing the bumpy parts (the sleeves with their seams, and the neck).  But I didn't cut the shirts into squares.  Instead, I spent a bit of time arranging the shirts on the sheet so they were in about the right places.  I folded over the t-shirts to "finish" the edges and get them the right size.  All that extra material makes the quilt thick and heavy enough that I don't need any batting -- yet another reason these are easy and cheap!

Once everything was in the right place, I pinned the shirts to the sheet.  I sewed the shirts down using a zig-zag stitch.  Then I attached the second sheet as backing.

I don't make these quilts very often -- I think I've made three in the past.  But I have two quilts that I'm getting ready to make this summer.  These will probably be more formal than my daughter's; I'll try to take pictures as I go along.

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