Wednesday, July 18, 2012

T-Shirt Quilt for the Birthday Boy!

Grandson Locke is about to turn 9.  His mother gathered up some old t-shirts for him, last summer or fall.  She had asked me in the summer if I could make him and his sister Lia quilts from old, favorite, and significant t-shirts.  I was delighted to say yes, since I had always wanted to make one of these quilts.

I feared she had forgotten and hadn't sorted through the old shirts, but lo and behold, one time recently when I was out there, I discovered a brown grocery bag in the guest room closet that had the shirts sorted by child's name.  I had seen the bag before, but since some hand-me-down jeans were laid across it, I hadn't realized that it contained the treasured shirts.

I have a great book with clear instructions for how to make these quilts.  After cutting up the sides of the shirts and cutting off the sleeves, you cut out the motifs from front or back.  Then you fuse some Pellon Easy Knit interfacing to the backs of the various-sized pieces you've cut out.  This makes the stretchy cotton knits much easier to handle.

I had three widths of cut-outs--12", 10", and 6".  These I arranged in vertical rows, with 3" wide strips of leftover knit fabric (also backed with the fusible knit interfacing) between each cut-out.  I used contrasting colors between each two; thus, gray between a navy and a white motif, etc.

I decided not to use batting and backing for this quilt, but instead used a mottled grass-green polyester fleece, for its softness and coziness and because Locke's bedroom is green.   I laid the quilt out on the fleece, cutting it over-sized, and then used the flip and sew method of "quilting."  This involved laying one row down on the fleece, face up, and then putting the next row down on top of it and sewing the two down onto the backing.  (The stitching shows on the back but not on the front.)  Then for  combination borders and binding, I brought the fleece back around to the top, bottom, and both sides, and I zig-zagged it down from the front.  The non-raveling nature of fleece is wonderful!

Here's the completed quilt.  To get far enough away from it to take the whole thing, I had to sit up on my cutting table to take the photo.  This caused a bit of distortion, but still, you can get the general effect.