Over the last year, I’ve had several people ask me if I made Tshirt quilts. (I didn’t.) They seemed so intimidating because I knew that you had to stabilize the Tshirt fabric. Unfortunately, I’ve had several bad experiences sewing with knit fabric and had no desire to make anything involving stretchy material.
As the saying goes, “never say never.” I made this quilt top yesterday and it was very easy. Seriously! Here are steps.
1. Use a rotary cutter and ruler to cut out the design. Cut the design larger than you need (I aimed for 15″ x 15″ on men’s large Tshirts). Cut through both the front and the back of the Tshirt.
2. Press the cut Tshirt piece with the design-side down. (This will keep you from melting any rubber designs on the front side.) Cut a piece of light weight, fusible stabilizer the same size as your Tshirt piece and fuse onto the BACK or WRONG side of the Tshirt design.
3.Make your final cut using a square (or rectangular) ruler. I made most of my squares 12.5″ x 12.5″. I used a fresh rotary cutting blade and walked around the cutting table to make sure that the cuts were crisp and even.
4. Lay out your design.
5. Add sashing (if desired) and borders.
Okay … that’s easy enough. Especially if all of your Tshirts turn out to be the same size. Mine were not. This is where the artistry comes in. Do you add more sashing around the (some of the) other blocks to make them a uniform size? Do you take away a couple of Tshirts? Add a couple of other Tshirts? What can you do to fill up the space? Do you give up on sashing and just sew them together like a jigsaw puzzle? I chose to add fabric to my top-middle and bottom-middle blocks. In hindsight, I’m not sure if this was the best choice, but I didn’t have any other Tshirts available.
The other challenging part is choosing a sashing/border fabric. This was hard! I had most of my stash on the floor while I auditioned fabric. (It was pouring rain and I didn’t want to go to the quilt store.) Trying to find a fabric that incorporates the color and spirit of Tshirts is a difficult task. I think I might have had better luck with batiks than with novelty fabrics.
I apologize if these photos are difficult to see on email. Please check out my blog at quiltnotes.wordpress.com for a better view.