Friday, August 12, 2011

T-Shirt Quilt Completed!


The t-shirt quilt for Six-Foot Chick's too-soon (as in next week!) departure to college is completed.  If you had any breeze blow past you, it's from a big, heavy sigh on my end.  This was quite the project.  SFC decided she would like a going-away quilted throw for college (I made throws for her two older siblings over the years and she wanted one.  Sounds reasonable, right?)  Anyway, she had lots of t-shirts from HS and wanted to use those.  I had seen t-shirt quilts ages ago and thought the idea was intriguing.  Intriguing, yes; effortless, no.


It is very satisfying now that it is completed, but don't examine it too closely.  I caused some of my own problems with my pre-planning.  I didn't think I was being lame.  Honest.


I think my main problem was I had to put this project down and pick it up a few times during the process, so would forget what I had been thinking from one session to the next (you know, for parties, showers, etc.).  If you know you're going to be interrupted, I would suggest making notes to yourself.  Okay, let's get down to specifics:


Supplies:
  • t-shirts, washed without fabric softner
  • fusible backing, light to mid-weight
  • batting
  • Backing fabric(s)
    1. Pull out all of the shirts you think you want to use.  Possibly leaving some out if the color's don't go with the rest, are too beat up, are too different in weight.
    2. Locate the skinniest shirt and use that as a (maximum) template width for all of your squares.  Decide on the dimensions of your quilt.  
    3. Cut off sleeves and collars of t-shirts, then cut up sides and across shoulder seams so you have a flat front and back. 
    4. Using your determined square size, start cutting t-shirts and place them on a flat surface to decide how you want your squares arranged.
    5. To prepare the squares:  Iron on fusible backing, being careful not to iron over any lettering, as it will melt.  (NOTE:  Backing comes in narrow widths~20" or so, you may want to base your square size on that width so you don't have to buy and waste a lot of it or piece it.)
    6. Serge or stitch around the fused edges
    7. Sew your squares into strips
    8. Sew strips together to make quilt top
    9. Piece backing together (if necessary).  Mark centers of each side
    10. Tape backing to floor
    11. Place batting on top of it
    12. Place quilt top on top of everything, matching center edges of quilt to center edges of backing
    13. Pin baste
    14. Quilt as desired
    15. Stitch 1/4" around outside edge.
    16. Apply binding.  * I cut my backing 1 1/2" larger all the way around, then pressed it in 1/2" and folded it over the stitched edge *

    I wish I would have been consistent with square size and not pieced in extra fabric on two of the blocks.  Part of my initial thinking was if one block was narrower, I would make up for it by a block that was wider--I wish I wouldn't have done that.  I also would have paid attention to my fusible backing width, some of my squares have two or three separate pieces fused on them--it's probably not a big deal, but I'd prefer one piece.


    I hand sewed my binding because I had a some spots that needed extra TLC.  I'm sure this will wear just fine, since it's not going to be dragged around like the children's baby quilts were.  Remember, when you complete it, the top will still be old, faded t-shirts with cracking letters...

    We should really consult SFC...What do you think, honey?









    Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special

    68 comments:

    1. I love it!! I have saved all my son's Little League shirts, and my daughters' t-shirts as well, planning on doing this very same project for each of them. It's the cutting of the shirts that scares me!!

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    2. Great job, Kim! Do you know, I've made 2 of these for clients (and I agree their time consuming) but never one for my own kids. One daughter is supposed to be going thru her t-shirts but has put the project on the back burner. I don't even know if my son has enough t-shirts that aren't riddled with holes to make one! SFC's quilt turned out great!

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    3. Typo correction: that would be "they're time consuming" :)

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    4. What a great idea- what a lot of work- what a wonderful Mom you are- what a sad day is coming...and she will use that quilt and think of home- xo Diana

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    5. I love it!!! A t shirt quilt is so on my bucket list to do!

      She will always love it.

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    6. Oh, Kim! It turned out fantastic!! It's gorgeous! Great job and good luck with your daughter going away to college!

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    7. Super great idea for something I'm sure we all have too many of! It turned out great:)

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    8. Fantastic job. This will be a keeper for years to come. I always wanted to know how to make one. Thanks . I will added it to my list. I believe it is
      #1002 .

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    9. Kim, I have heard of these, but I have never seen one! Yours is gorgeous, quit it, you are to hard on yourself, I think it looks perfect, I would never have thought to put fusible backing on the Tshirts. You are so right about me loving the cuffs on the vases, I have some wedding dresses and just knew there was something to do with the cuffs, thank you!

      Carol

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    10. Kim
      She certainly won't be forgetting you while away. She'll remember Mom everytime she snuggles down.
      This turned out so nice. I wish I'd thought of it when I made my son a going away quilt when he left home. That was 10 years ago!

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    11. Your daughter's quilt turned out beautifully! I also made one earlier this summer for a friend's son... a LOT of hard work! Cutting the squares was (I thought) the hardest most time consuming part! I'm glad to have found your blog. Your newest follower,
      Kim from tiarasandbowties.blogspot.com

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    12. It looks great. I've been planning on making one too. Thanks for the tips.

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    13. I so love this - and how timely, as my daughter is cleaning out her drawers and closets for round two of off to college - and this time, she's leaving a big pile of tees!

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    14. Oh thanks so much for writing this post. I have everyone's shirts saved as well. I feel bad I have not done one yet! I love the way yours turned out. Great memories for her to take with her to school!

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    15. What a great idea!! I am a new follower.

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    16. What a lovely project, and great memory bank

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    17. Hi Kim Sweetie...
      I have to tell you this quilt of love is just beautiful. I really like the use of the t-shirts from high school. It gives your sweet girl a few of her memories as she begins her new journey in life. Just a beautiful share, truly it is. I also love the pillows that you made to match with. Such a cute idea, and so personal. Nobody will be able to take this quilt away from her, as she would know it in a second. Nobody could buy something so personal just for sweet Girl. I love it. Thanks for sharing, and can't wait to hear about her first year as time goes by.

      This is the Miracle Weekend makeover. I am one of the hosting sites. For every comment left, Guideposts magazine will pay a dollar, to the next cancer makeover patient. Please stop by and read the story about 9 year old Charlie, and bless me with a comment. Out goal between the 4 or 5 blogs is 5,000. I know we can do it. I would appreciate it, if you pass the word around to as many friends as possible.

      Thank you sweetie for a wonderful post. I love it. Have a glorious weekend. Country hugs from Phoenix, Sherry

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    18. This came out great! What a great way to save some memories for your daughter! I'm not much of a seamstress, but I love your detailed directions.

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    19. The quilt turned out great! Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. I'm your newest follower:)

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    20. I have seen lots of these but I must say that this is just the most awesome colour combo! No wonder she looks so happy! (Love the pillow too)! :)

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    21. Very cool idea! This looks fabulous!

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    22. My mom had one made with all of my high school shirts and I use it everyday! Now I have an abundance of college and church shirts that I want to make a quilt with! Thanks for this!

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    23. I love your quilt. I made one for my son when he went off to college. He still loves it.
      Sheila @ raggedykingdom.blogspot.com

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    24. Hi. First time on your blog. I have been saving T-shirts for a quilt for both my son and my husband and I. I have been stumped as to how to go about the process, but your directions were simple and to the point. Thanks so much! I think I am ready to go now! I love your quilt!

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    25. I've always wanted one of these t-shirt quilts. Thanks for the how-to and for explaining where you wish you would have done things differently. :)

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    26. I love this. I have so many tournament tshirts I would love to make one for my sons room!

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    27. Absolutely downright precious! What a lovely memory keepsake! That pillow is amazing as well!

      Shared this on FJI Facebook during SNS 95. :)

      http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150338726786141&set=a.192514281140.164586.175378011140&type=1&theater

      Donna

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    28. Ah! love this! I just am almost done with my own swimming t-shirt quilt. awesome!

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    29. Nice! I made one for my daughter's college graduation...http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_zJj27po3IUM/SJpRAzIShMI/AAAAAAAAA40/omDLeghs0NA/s1600-h/DSC_0052.JPG

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    30. i've been wanting to make this with all my swim shirts so bad! thanks :) xxo

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    31. Looks GREAT! I see you posted this a while back... but if you happen to see this comment, can you please tell me how you quilted your t-shirt quilt? I have my top all made but I am not sure the best way to quilt it! Thanks!

      dlgunselman{at}yahoo{.}com

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    32. I don't know how to sew and am not crafty. Does anyone know where I can get one of these quilts made? I want to do one for my husband with his USNA shirts. Thanks!

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    33. LP and the boys,
      My name is Chris and I do make T-Shirt Quilts. If you would like to contact me E-Mail me at clb147@chartermi.net.

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    34. I have actually been saving shirts to do this someday! I do have to add that the little snow feature you have on your blog right now made me think I was having a seizure or something LOL I was scrolling when I started seeing little dots & then they'd go away! LOL

      Your quilt looks GREAT!

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    35. This is wonderful!!! My mom passed away a couple years ago and my dad saved a lot her shirts that I so remember her wearing and one of these days I would like to make a quilt out of them. I would love to be able to wrap up in it and feel she's with me. I'm just nervous to attempt the quilt because I know I can't replace the shirts if I mess up. Your directions made me feel more comfortable to possibly attempt making one soon! Thanks so much

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    36. This awesome! I have been saving my little guy's pj's to do this very thing! Now it's just a matter of cutting them up! Nice work!

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    37. Love the "How-to"! I've got 25 of my husband's HS T-shirts waiting to be turned into a quilt. Now I think I might actually be able to do it. :)

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    38. Made two quilts, one for each daughter as they went off to college. I know what you mean about putting it away and trying to pick back up where you left off. Mine had fabric in between the squares, then I blanket quilted (embroidery floss and tied knots -- about a dozen per t-shirt square). The second one daughter couldn't eliminate enough t's. Ended up with 60 tshirts, 30 on each side, 5 across and 6 long. One big quilt! Well loved by both kids.
      Your daughter will have wonderful memories wrapped up in a lovingly made quilt.

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    39. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    40. I've done one of these and taught both my now grown nieces also. We did 12 inch finished squares with 1/4 inch seam allowance. They lined up great and we didn't use any fusible backing. We've all had ours for a few years and they are in great shape!

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    41. Love it! I found this on pinterest and being a Newsome grad myself I had to look into it. Your blog is great, definitely enjoyed looking around.

      Thanks for posting!

      - Katie Fleming
      Kate Michelle Designs

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    42. Thank you for the instructions, I have taught myself to quilt, but never knew about taping the bottom layer down, very helpful!! Love your quilt!! especially the binding. I just made a quilt today, took me the ENTIRE day!! and it became much bigger than expected, I too had to piece some of my squares! My quilt is truly a 'refurbish', I used an old sheet for the backing, and an old quilted mattress cover for the inside, I will have to purchase binding since I didn't like the backing for mine.
      Thanks again for the great tutorial!

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    43. I am just starting to do on for my niece....been hesitating for years lol....now that she is out of college lol...was wondering...nieve here...are you ironing on the fusing to the front of the tshirts or the back after you cut out the tshirts...didnt understand this part...susan (cajunteacher2001@yahoo.com)

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    44. love it¡¡¡¡ fantastic¡¡...i think that i can do it...thanks for de inspiration tip¡¡¡¡

      http://maripepaysuscositas.blogspot.mx/

      Mar¡

      PD: sorry...but i don't speak english so good.... :(

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    45. Looks like you used the scraps from the tshirts to make the pillow! Very cool!

      I made sweatshirt blankets for my family members. With a top and bottom layer, there is no need for batting in the middle- you're toasty warm without it!

      I also loved using the hoodies with the "hand warmer" pocket across the front- perfect to use on a blanket, and the "hood" part can be used to tuck in little (or not so little!) piggies if used on the underside of the blanket.

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    46. Love this quilt! I have made numerous tee shirt quilts and have learned something new from every one I have made. I usually put my backing on the tee shirs before I cut them into squares. It wastes some, but I think it makes them easier to manage. I LOVE the pillow. Will you share how you made that? I made my sons their quilts when they were small and they still use them!

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    47. great and lovely idea! its really looking cool to wear cool color cheap tees in awesome colors and style!

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    48. I love to read these types article that enhances me to do different things about my clothing.

      t-shirts

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    49. I saw this on pintrest and thought how weird those shirts look familiar and then I realized they were because I have most of them haah.

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    50. I, like you, started out by trial and error.
      My daughter has soooo many activity shirts, twirling, cheer leading, dance team, band, golf, softball, mission trips, vacations, and more. So I separated them all by activity. I have made 3 and think I have it down now.
      I have found that using a quilters 13" cutting square and using a roller blade cutter works best. Makes them all the same size
      Hope this helps someone
      3 down,,,, 15 to go

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    51. Hi Kim, great post! My very first attempt at quilting was thirst quilts for my daughter and her boyfriend. I found that most of the graphics on the tees were no more than 12", so I went with a 14" square. I had seen the acrylic templates that quilters used, but they are so expensive! So I went to Lowes and had them cut me a plexiglas template that was 14" square. I paid about $6 for a whole sheet and had lots left over. Then I just laid out the tshirt face up, put my template on top and cut it with a rotary cutter. Easy peasy!! You can use the back for something else, or just discard it, but this is so much easier and faster, and your squares are all the same size.

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    52. Saw this on Pinterest. I made my son a quilt several years ago from old baseball shirts. I used a 14" sq piece of card board. Used my mat and rotary cutter. Very easy. I also did not use the interfacing and and used warm and natural for my batting. I also did not bind but just sewed around it. I top stitched my squares for a sporty look.

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    53. Awesome!! I have made quite a few t-shirt quilts and just a fore-warning, on the batting there is a suggested area size that you can leave batting unquilted. Some will say 4-5 inches, if you leave it unquilted more than that and they need to wash it a lot (especially if this is used in a dorm, it definitely will!) you may need to quilt closer together as the batting will quickly begin to bunch up in each unquilted area or each square, all the time and hard work you put into it will go down the drain as you will have to redo it eventually. Hard lesson learned but wanted to share. Thank you for sharing, love her shirts, great colors for a memory quilt!!

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    55. Hey guys! I've been making t-shirt quilts for years and while this is great, they can be even easier. I've never used interfacing and rather than batting, I back the quilt with fleece. It's warm, it's all washable, and it's awesome. Hope that helps some of you moving forward!

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    56. Aaww - thanks for this. I've travelled a lot and found t-shirts are cheap souvenirs, so I've a stack I'd hate to throw away, but just don't wear any more. Never thought about a t-shirt quilt.

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    57. Forgot to mention I'm from England and found you on Pinterest! :-)

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    58. I love this quilt, and I am determined to make one for my daughter!! I used your picture on my blog for motivation/inspiration...hope you don't mind! Thanks! and again...it's beautiful!
      LA:)
      www.simplysmilingblog.blogspot.com

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    59. I am going to attempt to make one of these out of my husband's old shirts to have as a memory keepsake. I am not very crafty but will try! I will post my progress... www.thewidownextdoor.com

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    60. The most important thing is you should know kind online tee shirt of links that they need. And you should including it in the comments.

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    61. That looks great. I left a lot of my t shirts in Toronto with family. Maybe I can get some back and ask my friend to make me a quilt.

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    62. Nice post! I used this pattern to make a bathing suit cover-up for my daughter. I did not cut down the middle of the front. Instead of a vest it is a dress. The way it gathers in the back allows for a little flair at the bottom. Super easy and super cute.

      T-Shirts

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    63. I love it. it's cool and must be unique. thanks for sharing.

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    Thank you for taking the time to comment. I do my best to pay a return visit. ~Kim