I’ve been collecting t-shirts for quite awhile now, both for myself and my son Sean. On a couple of occasions I almost started the process of making the quilts. I even bought a couple of different types of fusible interfacing. But that was as far as I got until a few months ago. I’m not much further ahead but I did cut the shirts, leaving lots of room around the logos as well as a few backs for filler blocks. Taking that first step, cutting the shirts, actually gives you a pretty good idea on how much you have to work with…it also takes up less space in the drawer! I have a mixture of t-shirt weights, sweatshirts and hat logos. I became inspired again to make these quilts when I took on a commission to make a Canuck themed t-shirt quilt.
This is a very large and heavy quilt! It’s queen size and took 12m of fusible interfacing to stablize the t-shirts. I have read where quilters feel that stabilizing isn’t necessary but I beg to differ. If you take a close look at some t-shirts you’ll see that some logos are printed off grain. Often, after shirts are washed, you will notice that the shirt twists, meaning the original shirt was assembled off grain. This is also a knit fabric and it will stretch. Stabilizing keeps the stretching to a minimum and makes it easier to cut logos in the shapes you want. On this quilt I also used logos off the sleeves and special labels that were on the original shirt.
When assembling this quilt I found that using the walking foot on the machine worked best. I also back stitched at the end of each row, as I mentioned the quilt gets heavy and will pull the end seams open. Not all t-shirts are silk screened but have a plastic textured logo. When pressing these you must use a teflon pressing sheet to keep from melting the logos. When choosing your t-shirts take a look at the ones with really thick logos…they are difficult to quilt through and they tend to bunch up when the t-shirt fabric they are adhered to shrinks.
Maple Leaf Quilters will be doing a workshop on t-shirt quilts at the May 10th sewing day. If you have a bag of t-shirts and want help brain storming what to do with them we’ll be more than happy to help.
Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye