Exactly a month ago, my eldest child left for college about 400 miles away. We’ve heard very little from him over the past month, other than a quick call after visits to the health center, where they are treating him for mononucleosis that showed up on his third day at school. (I feel that this is cosmic payback for the last 25 years, during which my husband calls his mother twice a year and leaves the communication to me!)
As with most quilters, I wanted to make my son a Tshirt quilt for college. I wanted it to reflect both his past and his future, so I purchased three new Tshirts for the quilt. Since my son is into the Asian culture, I used a sashing/border fabric that pictured good luck Chinese lanterns. I used a soft flannel backing and a high-loft polyester batting.
Why polyester batting? My friends with college-aged kids had warned me that there is a lot of partying going on and quilts need to be easily washable. From the limited comments we’ve heard from our son, I now believe this to be good advice.
I always felt that the reason to make a Tshirt quilt was to comfort your child with a quilt showing their past. But my son pointed out a much better reason to make your child a Tshirt quilt — it is a fabulous conversation starter in the dorm. New friends would drop by his room and ask questions about the quilt, or comment about TV shows or destinations that they had in common.
College dorm beds are extra-long and narrow. This quilt is 84″ long and about 48″ wide. It didn’t fit on my design walls, so the photographs were taken with it on the floor.
View from top of quilt
View from bottom of the quilt
There is something magical about this quilt! What little girl wouldn’t love Disney Princess on her bed? Plus it’s every girl’s favorite colors — pink and purple with some added sparkles!
This was a quilt that required a little planning. Most of the Tshirts are different sizes, so I used the purple sashing to square up each block. It’s quilted in an allover, freestyle pattern using purple variegated thread.
It’s a (much-needed) rainy morning on Long Island. So I’m starting the day with a combo of everyone’s two favorite passions — chocolate and quilting.
This Tshirt quilt measures 78″ x 64″ so it is pretty darn big. I loved having the M&M fabric to compliment the Tshirts. For fun, I appliqued individual M & M’s on star blocks, which I think really set off the larger Tshirts.
It always amazes me when I hear people complain about making Tshirt quilts. Although they do require some additional steps (I always wash the Tshirt and stabilize the fabric), the result is soft and fun. I think this is a great way to attract young people to quilting (or perhaps dachshunds!).
(If you can’t see the photos, please check out my blog at quiltnotes.wordpress.com.)
Here’s a cute quilt to remember a trip to NYC. It’s made from children’s souvenir T-shirts and using the NY Subway fabric from City Quilter. (This fabric also comes in white.) I love the way that the background recedes when you look at the quilt, yet is very interesting when you look at it closely. The fabric itself is a fabulous reminder of a trip to NYC.
The quilting is done with white thread. I more-or-less traced the subway lines in the background. There is freestyle quilting on each block.
(If you can’t see the photo, please visit my blog at quiltnotes.wordpress.com.)
Children's NYC T-shirt Quilt
Gotta love that New York attitude!
These T-shirts were purchased at the Disney Store. I knew they’d make a cute quilt for any child who is obsessed with Toy Story. The star fabric background was perfect for the space theme. For contrast, I used a lime green flannel backing and a lime green binding. I also used lime green for the quilting.
I’d partially pieced this quilt top and then set it aside. Last week I pulled it out, sewed the pieces together, and proceeded to quilt it. In my burst of efficiency, I’d forgotten that I was going to trim the squares and piece then at 45 degree angles. Shoot! Maybe I should make notes on my UFO’s so I don’t forget my plans!
As a result, there is too much space in between the T-shirts. Even if I didn’t show the T-shirts at an angle, I should have trimmed the inner sashing.
It’s still a cute quilt. Unfortunately — as I said — the design could have been better! However quilting is a learning process and I’m sure I won’t make this mistake again.
(If you can’t see the photos, please check my blog at quiltnotes.wordpress.com.)
Toy Story T-shirt Quilt
"Buzz Lightyear" T-shirt
Here’s a quilt to commemorate a fabulous weekend in New York City.
I was originally going to quilt this using invisible thread. As I said yesterday, this thread can be fickle. Despite using it in a previous T-shirt quilt earlier that day, I could not get the tension adjusted perfectly. That left me with the challenge of choosing a thread color. I decided to use purple — it blended in with the background and provided a nice contrast to 5 of the 6 T-shirt panels. My other option was to use a color that contrasted all of the T-shirts, such as lime green or bright pink.
I quilted the blocks using simple meandering and did loops in the sashing.
The fabric is called “Times Square” and is available at City Quilter in New York City.
(If you cannot see the photographs, please check out my blog at quiltnotes.wordpress.com.)
"I Love New York" T-shirt quilt
"I Love New York" quilt block
I doubt there’s a middle school student in the United States who doesn’t recognize the Wimpy Kid series of books. These books describe a sixth grader’s adventures as he grows up.
The challenge in this quilt was finding a background fabric that did not detract from the vibrant red and purple Tshirts. I was thrilled to find this black and white fabric. Somehow it manages to capture the stick figures, but also fades into the background. Best of all, the seams between the sashing and borders become invisible.
This was my first quilt using Aurifil invisible thread. I asked around amongst my machine quilting friends, and it seemed to be the favorite. It is the thinnest of the invisible threads I’ve worked with, stitched well on the quilt, and the result was excellent. However, I started another quilt (same thread, same types of fabric) and didn’t manage to find the correct tension. So I hesitate to recommend it whole-heartedly. I have worked with several other kinds of invisible (monofilament) thread and it’s always challenging with the longarm. Several of my longarmer friends refuse to use monofilament thread and I can’t blame them.
To learn more about the Wimpy Kid series, check out http://www.wimpykid.com/
(If the photos do not come out clearly, please check out my blog directly at quiltnotes.wordpress.com)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid T-shirt quilt
Diary of a Wimpy Kid -- quilt block
I have to say that I really like this quilt. It’s very simple, but everything comes together. The batik sashing and borders looks like water, plus they pick up both the blues and browns of the Tshirts. (Once again I’ll mention that choosing sashing for Tshirt quilts is best done at your local quilt shop. It is a tough process and I haven’t had any success trying to accomplish this online.)
I quilted the sashing/borders in a water-like meander. The quilting barely shows, but it does read more like water. I used a more complicated fill in the Tshirts.
It’s always tough to choose a thread color in a quilt like this. Blue and brown are the obvious choices, but blue thread wouldn’t look great on the brown Tshirts and vice versa. In this case, I recommend changing thread colors. I used blue on the blue Tshirts (and throughout the rest of the quilt) and brown on the brown Tshirts. Most longarmers will charge a nominal fee for thread changes ($5.00 or less). I feel that it’s worth it.
The back of the quilt is a mottled blue flannel, reminiscent of water. The overall effect is soft and soothing. This is a great quilt for a male outdoorsman.
(Please check my blog at quiltnotes.wordpress.com if there’s a problem with the photos.)
Fishing Tshirt Quilt
Close up of quilting
Here is my completed Spiderman quilt. I used four Spiderman T-shirts from the Disney Store and a background that looked like a starry sky.
Here’s the lesson I learned … I saw these T-shirts and knew that I had a great spider web pantograph at home. The idea of Spiderman with spider webs was brilliant, I thought, and would lead to a spectacular quilt.
The first issue was color. Pantographs are an all-over design and you cannot change thread color. I wanted Spiderman’s eyes to remain white, so I had to use a white thread. Using the pantograph, even with white thread, was still going to leave stitching lines through his eyes, which I certainly didn’t want. Also, the white thread really didn’t blend with the project.
Secondly, I realized that the web design on the pantograph would “fight” with the web design on the T-shirts. Clearly, my pantograph plan was not going to work. (I had to sulk about this for awhile.)
I decided to just free style quilt this and follow the lines in the T-shirt. It looks amazing. The quilting gives it depth but does not take away from the design. Clearly this was the right choice.
Back to the lesson … sometimes I have an idea in my mind that I feel I just “have” to use. (This usually happens with pantographs, because I have a large selection and want to get my money’s worth out of them.) Often, this idea becomes a stumbling block as I’m trying to rearrange the entire design to incorporate an element that really doesn’t work. Using a spider web pantograph on Spiderman is a great example.
I’ve learned the same lesson with fabric. Occasionally I’ll have a fabric that I REALLY want to use in a quilt. I assemble the rest of the fabrics and the original fabric looks terrible. That’s because the original fabric was a great inspiration, but should really not end up in the quilt. However it takes a lot of internal strength to abandon the fabric that was the genesis of the quilt.
These issues are hard to deal with. I’m constantly struggling to get my ego out of the process and do what is best for the quilt.
(If the photos did not come out full-size, please visit my blog at quiltnotes.wordpress.com)
Spiderman Tshirt Quilt
Isn’t this adorable? It’s made of four small, girl’s Tshirts. Since I needed some extra squares so that the Tshirt would be larger than a napkin, I made alternate squares from the backs of the Tshirt.
This quilt gave me some grief. First of all, it’s hard to unify colors as diverse as fuschsia, turquoise, orange and brown. I was lucky to find a floral pattern that picked up all of these colors.
Another issue was how to fill the empty squares. I tried making appliqued flowers out of the floral sashing fabric, but it was way too busy and did nothing to enhance the quilt. Finally I decided to make the faux trapunto hearts, and I think it worked out quite nicely.
My final challenge was thread color. I settled on a medium green that contrasted slightly from all of the colors, but managed to recede into the floral background. The back is bright pink flannel.
Overall, I think it’s a very cute girl’s quilt and I’m pleased with the results.
(If the photos didn’t come out properly, please visit my blog at quiltnotes.wordpress.com).
Toddler Girls Tshirt Quilt